Now that the latest buying and selling frenzy is behind us it’s time to ask ourselves an important question: should the January transfer window exist at all?

Just one player can be all it takes to turn a struggling team into a decent one- James Calvert

Arsene Wenger thinks it should be abolished or, at the very least, teams should be limited to being able to buy just two players. And to a large extent I think he’s right.

The Arsenal manager’s logic is simple: those teams that use this window to essentially rebuild their entire squads are distorting the overall picture of the league.

Let’s take Queens Park Rangers and Newcastle United as the two prime examples from this window.

At QPR, Harry Redknapp went on a rebuilding mission that will either help him pull off the greatest of all escapes or ensure he ends up with the most expensive second-tier team in the history of football.

Newcastle, meanwhile, also went a bit transfer mad, bringing in half of France as Alan Pardew attempted to turn around their disappointing season. (By the way, Mike Ashley might want to tell his scouts they are allowed to travel further than Paris).

Wenger’s point is that any club who played either of those teams a while back would have faced a very different line-up than a team who is playing them this weekend.

And that can’t be right.

I admit football is, by its very nature, a constantly changing beast. Even outside the transfer windows, teams change and fluctuate through injuries, suspension and form.

But allowing those teams with money the opportunity to buy themselves out of mid-season trouble definitely makes the playing field that much more uneven.

Clubs have an entire summer to structure their squads, move players out, buy new ones and generally prepare for the nine months ahead. If halfway through the season they realise they made a dog’s dinner of their preparations, why give them the opportunity to start afresh just because they have money?

Where I don’t agree with Wenger is that clubs should be allowed limited purchases. Just one player can be all it takes to turn a struggling team into a decent one. If Newcastle had only bought Moussa Sissoko and QPR just Christopher Samba that may well have been enough to change their respective destinies.

Don’t misunderstand me, I am not having a go at those two clubs. Good luck to them. They played by the existing rules and those rules allow you to go out buy yourself a new first eleven if you want. Like Wenger, I just don’t think it’s fair.

Rich clubs already have the advantage of being able to assemble better squads in the close season. Why should they then be allowed to change course halfway through when their plans have gone to pot?

If QPR do survive, for example, it will probably be at the expense of a team like Reading or Wigan who don’t have the resources to go on a mid-season spending spree. Something about that strikes me as fundamentally wrong.

There is a counter-argument to all this, however, which is that smaller clubs need this transfer window to survive. The cash injection they get from selling players at this time of year is, in some cases at least, all that keeps them going.

But I’m sure there are ways round that. Like negotiating in advance for transfers that will take place in the summer. That must already go on all the time and I’m sure deposits are paid to secure deals.

Ultimately, however, we know the January transfer window is going nowhere. The amount of money that changes hands over the course of the month keeps the sport’s commercial wheels turning and plenty of pockets well-lined.

And modern football likes nothing more than a well-lined pocket…

It’s been super, Mario

Say what you like about Mario Balotelli – and most people do – the English Premier league is going to be a poorer place without him.

The Italian striker has given us some truly unforgettable mo­ments in the last two-and-half seasons.

On the pitch he has ranged from genius to borderline psychotic. You never knew which players was going to turn up, the one with the talent and ability to score crucial goals or the one who was just a rush of blood away from another red card.

But it has been off the pitch where Balotelli has really kept us entertained, setting fire to his house, throwing darts at youth team players, following random women home to ask them out and having his car towed more often than people change their underwear.

There was even that bizarre incident at the beginning of his City career where he crashed on the way to training. When the police arrived they wanted to know why he had thousands of pounds in cash on his passenger seat.

“Because I’m rich” was his matter-of-fact reply.

Unfortunately it appears he took his maverick behaviour a bit too far when he tussled with City boss Roberto Mancini on the training pitch a few weeks ago.

The two pretty much came to blows, and although Mancini said he was prepared to give his compatriot a ‘hundred more chances’, it turned out to be his last hurrah in England.

From now on it will be Milan and their fans that get to enjoy the player’s talent on the pitch and slightly disturbed behaviour off it.

Just to emphasise the point that controversy follows Balotelli around, he was involved in his first incident in Milan while the ink was still wet on his contract.

Hundreds of fans gathered outside the restaurant where he was dining with his new chairman on Wednesday night. However, things got a bit boisterous and the crowd had to be dispersed by the police using tear gas.

There must have been thousands of players who swapped clubs over the transfer window, yet only one of them caused a riot.

Mario Balotelli – talented player, trouble magnet.

One Beck of a gesture

Just when you thought there was nothing more David Beckham could do to enhance his global reputation, he pulls a surprise out of the bag.

The former England captain has signed for Paris St-Germain for the remainder of the season, a move that was widely expected.

What wasn’t expected was that he would donate his entire salary to a children’s charity in Paris. That’s going to be 20 weeks at a minimum of £50,000 (€58,000) a week probably. A cool million for a great cause.

Some cynics are suggesting it is nothing more than a publicity stunt aimed at giving Brand Beckham a boost.

Well, I don’t care if there is a bit of PR spin behind the decision. That doesn’t make the gesture any less brilliant or heart-warming.

If more players made gestures like that it would go a long way towards repairing football’s badly tarnished image.

Top work David.

Your say

“I am the first person to admit that Luis Suarez can be very naïve, and I do not agree with his decision to go to the press and admit that he dived against Stoke. However, the reaction to this has been nothing short of ridiculous. Calling him a disgrace to English football, let alone demanding that he leave the country is ludicrously over-the-top.

“Players have done worse than Suarez and haven’t been treated half as badly as him. Brendan Rodgers has come out and said Liverpool Football Club does not, and will not, tolerate diving and the situation would be dealt with internally.

“Shouldn’t that be the end of the story? Isn’t that better than other top managers who have made pathetic excuses, such as sudden episodes of blindness or blaming the referee for their own misbehaving players?

“Suarez has been called on to admit to his wrongdoings, and now that he has, these same people are condemning him. Shouldn’t they be giving him credit for admitting to these accusations?

“A typical case of two weights and two measures.” Michelle Cefai, e-mail.
Twitter: @maltablade

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