Archive

Bundesliga

Blog by: Soccer Souls
Every single coach, player, manager and team has a different philosophy and different strengths to play to. Many will question the title’s integrity as they will say, ‘well if you don’t shoot you don’t score’ and ‘you don’t score from crossing’. To a certain extent this is true but it is all about the players you have around you and being aware of the strengths individually and collectively.

Barcelona's success story

Barcelona is a perfect example of whether it is better to shoot or cross. Barcelona is arguably the best team in football right now (well let’s just asume) and has assembled one of the best sides in the game. They are known for playing football the right way with their pass and move approach and their high work rate to win the ball back higher up the pitch. They are an extremely small team so why would their manager, Gerardo Martino encourage them to cross the ball from out wide when all their attacking players are less than 6’0 tall? Although Martino’s style has drastically changed to that of Pep’s Barcelona, the Catalan club’s swift pass and move style has stuck to them.

In contrast you can look at a team like Stoke City who are known for their aerial ball game because of the amount of physical and tall players they have in their side. In Peter Crouch, you have one of the tallest professional footballers at 6’8. If he is 30 yards from goal would you encourage him to have a long range go at goal or get the ball out to a wide man and dart into the box for the cross? Every team has their own philosophy and it will always be playing to their strengths.

A recent statistic taken from a few of the previous seasons from the English Premier League show that 23% of the goals were scored from crosses, either from set pieces or open play. Football can be quite a mathematical game and can always be measured down by angles. If you’ve got a free kick in a central position 30 yards from goal and you’ve got a clear line of fire then the goalkeeper will find it hard to save if you can hit a corner. However, if you’re in a wide position, the angles are narrowed down and make it a lot easier for the goalkeeper to save if you decide to shoot. This is why crossing from set pieces can be so effective.

It has been calculated that an extra 0.57 goals would be scored per game in the English Premier League game if crossing was reduced and teams took a more direct approach at goal. This is an inaccurate statistic however as it purely looks at the goals to crossing ratio. It doesn’t take into account that the cross was a good one but it was just a poor piece of finishing at the end of it.

A quick look at the 2011/2012 English Premier League season shows us that Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United both scored 18 goals from set pieces. Both have different reasons to why they were successful in scoring so many goals from crosses. Blackburn Rovers are a very big physical team; the chances are that if you put the ball in the box, they are more than likely to come out on top of a 50/50 aerial challenge. Manchester United has the ability in abundance and has world class players to put crosses in the perfect position which will give the strikers every chance of scoring.

Crossing from open play is a much harder task as there will be different factors to consider. From a set piece the defenders have to be at least 10 yards from you before the ball is kicked. In open play, there are no rules or regulations in place and you could be put under enormous pressure trying to get a cross into the box which will sufficiently alter the quality of the cross. Only 1 cross in 4.87 crosses is an accurate one and only 1 cross in 91.47 leads to a goal.

It is a very interesting statistic but you will still see many managers barking orders at their wingers to get past their defender and whip a cross in. The main reason is because if the cross is one of them 4.87 accurate ones, it will result in an opportunity being created. The cross created might not necessarily be scored from directly but unless the defenders have the ability to clear the ball to safety then the danger is never cleared. The defenders could simply clear the cross to the edge of the box for an oncoming midfielder to shoot into the net so this is why crossing from open play is encouraged by some managers.

Is shooting better than crossing? For some teams yes, for others no! Every team plays to their strengths and you can analyze all the data in football but one piece of magic will create a goal, whether it’s from a shot or a cross.

Advertisements

Blog by: Shayne
The summer transfer window closed earlier this month, putting an end to frantic transfer-related activities from clubs. However, there is another transfer window in January and clubs will no doubt look to strengthen in certain areas if they feel the need to.

It’s a common thing nowadays for up-and-coming superstars to be chased by a variety of clubs, and there is most certainly no shortage of young and potentially world-class players that are currently plying their trade in various leagues.

Let’s take a quick look at 5 players that will almost certainly be chased by some of the bigger clubs during January:

1) Jackson Martinez

FBL-POR-LIGA-PORTO-ESTORIL

The Colombian striker has been an absolute revelation for Porto, a club that seems to have a knack for discovering top-level talent from absolutely nowhere (Hulk, Falcao et al).

He was linked to Chelsea and Napoli during the summer transfer window, but a move never materialised. The big striker won’t come cheap although given that strikers like Falcao and Edinson Cavani are no longer on the market, Martinez would be an excellent signing.

He is an instinctive finisher and also a physical presence upfront. He would definitely be on the wishlist of several clubs that would want to bolster their attacking options.

2) Gianelli Imbula

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-TOULOUSE-MARSEILLE

The defensive midfielder is very highly rated in France and some have even compared him to former Arsenal and France midfield general Patrick Viera.

He is an extremely powerful player and is a presence in midfield. Despite that, he is an excellent player technically and has all the qualities of a top-class defensive midfielder.

The 20-year-old is still raw and will not feature in any big clubs’ immediate first-team plans should he sign for a big club (he might be loaned out), but he is definitely one to watch for the future and it wouldn’t be surprising if clubs entered into a bidding war to secure his signature.

3) Julian Draxler

FC Schalke 04 v VfB Stuttgart  - Bundesliga

The young German was linked to a few Premier League clubs during the summer including Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. He chose to stay with Schalke for now, but one wouldn’t be too surprised to see him move in January.

Technically able and extremely pacy, Draxler has an excellent reading of the game and an excellent final ball as well as the ability to shoot from distance. He has already been capped for Germnay, quite an achievement given the talent they possess. The 20-year-old won’t come cheap, but he would most certainly be a quality addition to any side.

4) Iker Muniain

AC Sparta Praha v Athletic Club - UEFA Europa League

The young Spanish winger has been dubbed the “Spanish Messi” due to his creative style of play. Muniain was linked to Manchester United and Arsenal during the summer, but the rumours died down.

Given the sheer talent he possesses he would be a good signing, although Bilbao wouldn’t part with their wonder-kid (who is a graduate of Athletic’s Youth Academy) so easily. The winger’s form was slightly mixed last season but there’s no doubting his talent. Should he express a desire to leave Athletic, many clubs would be interested in securing his signature.

5) Stephan El Sharaawy

AC Milan v Torino FC - Serie A

The Italian forward has already drawn comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. He is extremely quick and likes dribbling around players and possesses a good passing range along with an eye for goal.

Milan wouldn’t necessarily want to sell him but as the old adage goes, everybody has a price. The versatile forward was linked to Manchester City on deadline day this year, but other clubs were also supposedly interested in acquiring him. He is definitely one to watch for the future and any club would be lucky to secure his services.

Blog by: Shreyas
A month into the football season, strategies have been laid down, battles have been fought on the pitch, and a bunch of surprising results have already grabbed the headlines. Some of the new signings such as Mesut Ozil have done fantastically well for their clubs, while others are yet to come to terms with the rigours of a new club. With truckloads of money being shipped around in transfer fees, a signing is no joke, and with that in mind, let’s look at the top five most unnecessary signings of the transfer window and how they have fared.

5. Edinson Cavani – Napoli to PSG

Edinson Cavani

For a hefty transfer fee of around €64 million, Edinson Cavani’s signing was definitely one of the most expensive ones this summer. Having grabbed eyeballs consistently with his performances for the Uruguayan national side and at club level with Napoli, Cavani has been reaching greater heights every passing season. While he has continued to find the back of the net, as one would expect, there are bigger headaches around his positioning on the pitch at PSG.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the established star of the club, and said to be closed to the idea of playing as anything other than the central attacker; a position Cavani also thrives in. A simple switch to 4 – 4 – 2 might seem the easy solution, but the fact that players like Ezequiel Lavezzi will be discomforted also needs to be taken into account. This means that Cavani is currently playing as a wide attacker, a role he doesn’t quite enjoy as much. A welcome, but unnecessary addition to the squad indeed.

4. Fernandinho – Shakhtar Donetsk to Manchester City

Fernandinho (R) of Manchester City

Having played a decent role in Shakhtar’s domestic as well as continental campaign last season, there would always be takers for Fernandinho when rumours spread that he was unhappy in Ukraine. Little would the player himself have expected to be the subject of a whopping £30 million swoop from Manchester City.

The Citizens, who boast the likes of Yaya Toure and Javi Garcia in their holding midfield department, in addition to many others who can be used as a makeshift, were perhaps one of the clubs which least require his services.

To his good fortune however, Fernandinho has been getting regular playing time, unlike poor Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair last season. The fact that he can perform Toure’s holding role means that the Ivory Coast star can push forward more often and bully the opposition. The threat, therefore, is to other attacking midfielders’ place in the line-up, rather than either of these players.

An unnecessary signing who has been cleverly adapted into the set-up by Manuel Pellegrini.

3. Willian – Anzhi Makhachkala to Chelsea

Chelsea’s Willian

The second Brazilian midfielder on this list, Willian had his bags all packed and ready for London club Tottenham Hotspur before seeing his loyalty suddenly purchased by cross-town rivals, Chelsea. For a player who had just moved to Anzhi in the previous transfer window for about €35 million, the Russian club roughly broke even upon sale.

The amusement value of hijacking a Tottenham deal seems to have been deemed worth that amount of money by Roman Abramovich, as Willian has made only a couple of appearances thus far, neither of them in the Premier League. In a rigid line-up where Juan Mata is struggling to find a place, it seems quite unlikely that Willian will shine through and conquer.

One hopes for him that he does, but until then, an extravagant addition to the squad.

2. Thiago Alcantara – Barcelona to Bayern Munich

Thiago Alcantara

For someone who voiced his desire for more time on the pitch to prove his ability, Thiago Alcantara made a perfectly silly decision of moving from the crowded midfield at Barcelona to the Allianz Arena already bursting with world-class midfielders. While he may seem a reasonable expenditure at €25 million, Bayern perhaps knew perfectly well that he would be surplus to requirements even before signing him.

Whether he fooled himself into believing that the presence of Pep Guardiola meant that he would get regular playing time ahead of the likes of Thomas Muller, Mario Götze, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez, Toni Kroos, or even Arjen Robben/Franck Ribery, one cannot tell.

But the fact that he is much less likely to get on the pitch for the reigning European champions than for his former club, or suitors Manchester United, must have now become clear to him.

Two substitute appearances and an outing in the German Super Cup are certainly insufficient to satiate his appetite, aren’t they?

1. Gareth Bale – Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid

Gareth Bale

In the same time as Cristiano Ronaldo has made 7 appearances, scored 9 goals and grabbed 2 assists, Real Madrid’s marquee signing Gareth Bale has made a grand total of 2 appearances (1 as a substitute) and has scored 1 goal; a tap-in inside the penalty area. If those numbers by themselves aren’t sufficient to convince you why Real Madrid never should have made the Welshman the costliest signing in history, let’s take a look at the fallout of the move.

Mesut Özil , one of the best ‘trequartistas’ in the world, simply chose to move to Arsenal, where he feels happier and is contributing majorly to the team’s attacks. Carlo Ancelotti, who reportedly told Florentino Perez that Bale was an unnecessary target, has refused to bow down to pressure, and continues with what he thinks is his best line-up, devoid of Bale.

Bale himself, favoring the same position that Ronaldo does, can now only dream of winning multiple player-of-the-year awards as he did last season with Tottenham Hotspur. Angel Di Maria sees his position under no real threat, thanks to playing on the opposite flank as favoured by the Welshman. Isco has shone through bright on his entry to the big stage, blocking the possibility of Bale playing there either.

Just a brief summary is provided above to describe in brief the ridiculousness of Bale’s move to the Spanish capital. Perhaps intended simply to be Madrid’s reply to Barca’s signing of Neymar, this is a move which has seen only one club emerge as winners – Arsenal.

Blog by: Outside of the boot

Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates after scoring during the   match between Schalke 04 vs Bayern Munich on September 21, 2013. (Getty Images)

Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates after scoring during the match between Schalke 04 vs Bayern Munich on September 21, 2013. (Getty Images)

There is certainly no love lost Schalke and Bayern Munich; just ask Manuel Neuer.

Both sides were heading into the game off the back of comfortable wins in the Champions League group stage. After Borussia Dortmund had dropped points against Nurnberg early in the day, Bayern Munich had the opportunity to cut the three point deficit at the top.

On the other hand, Schalke have endured a disappointing start to the campaign and were hoping to beat their rivals and give their league campaign a much needed boost.

In terms of personnel, Schalke made just one change to the team that beat Steaua Bucaresti in mid-week, with Jermaine Jones replacing Marco Hoger in the heart of midfield. Likewise Bayern made a single change with Bastian Schweinsteiger replacing Thomas Muller in the starting line-up.

This meant that Phillip Lahm continued in his role as a defensive midfielder and Rafinha started against his former club at right-back.

SchBay

Schalke’s zonal-marking

On paper Schalke featured a 4-2-3-1 system with Adam Szalai the focal point of the attack supported by Kevin-Prince Boateng, Jefferson Farfan and Julian Draxler. When not in possession though, they transitioned to two banks of four, leaving two attackers near the half-way line.

This system of zonal marking was designed to make Schalke difficult to break down, and by restricting space nullify Bayern’s considerable attacking threat. The two attacking players, Boateng and Szalai, elected to sit a bit deeper rather than pressing the ball.

The problem with this tactic was that they were facing a team, which boasted adequate inventiveness to play through the zonal system. Of course, the two soft goals that Schalke conceded in the spell of a couple of minutes didn’t really help their cause.

Bayern’s midfield circumventing Schalke’s zonal system

Schalke’s zonal marking system as mentioned above was supposed to limit Bayern’s attack. But unfortunately for them Bayern’s midfield had other ideas. Given Schalke’s lack of attacking threat (more on that later), Lahm could afford to run ahead of his holding role and Schweinsteiger was also given more freedom and space to start attacks.

Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben weren’t shy of swapping positions especially in the first half, and this gave every Bayern midfielder more than one player to pass to and move the ball around the park as freely as they liked. Schalke barely applied any pressure to close down the Bayern players on the ball, which gave them extra time to carefully pick out a proper pass.

Threat from the flanks

Alaba’s action zones via squawka.com

Alaba’s action zones via squawka.com

As Bayern found joy playing down the middle, the two banks of four that Schalke were organised in became narrower to deal with the threat. This in turn compressed the width of the Schalke side, giving Rafinha and David Alaba the opportunity to run down the flanks unhindered.

Bayern had the option of playing down the centre as well as on the flanks to which they made full advantage of. The third goal was an example of how Alaba was allowed to let run in the final third before squaring it to Ribery, whose mishit shot rolled into the net. Similarly, Rafinha provided overlapping runs on the right wing to give Bayern another attacking option from out wide.

Bayern’s threat on the wings wasn’t solely limited to that of the overlapping full backs though.  Both Robben and Ribery were a handful for Schalke’s defence. Not only did they often cut in-field and create space for the overlapping runs of the full backs but were also eager to utilize the space behind Schalke’s defence.

Schalke’s lack of attacking prowess

Schalke getting penned in via squawka.com

Schalke getting penned in via squawka.com

Right from the onset, it was very evident that Schalke’s wing-backs were instructed to stay back and help defend rather than move up the field and provide extra support in attack. This proved quite costly in terms of attack, as it minimized their passing opinions and decreased their width.

Atsuto Uchida and Dennis Aogo both had a primary task of neutralising the Bayern wing play and focused purely on that. This left Farfan and Draxler isolated on the wings and the advantages of playing down the centre were minimal as the Bayern midfield dictated play.

With Bayern having majority of the possession (39% to Schalke), Schalke barely had the ball in any good attacking areas. In the few instances they did, they failed to string together enough passes to make proper attacking play.

Schalke were wasteful with their possession in the final third, primarily due to their urgency to get the ball forward and the lack of passing options did not help in any way. Draxler, Farfan and Boetang failed to be a prominent attacking force.

With Bayern’s attacking style and the fact that Schalke’s zonal system meant that there were no more than not two attacking players in close proximity to each other, there was no scope for them to counter-attack.

Another weapon in Schalke’s armoury which wasn’t utilised as it should have been is the pace of Farfan. Taking nothing away from Bayern’s ruthlessness, Schalke will be disappointed by the fact that they barely troubled their old team-mate Neuer.

From Schalke’s point of view, it had seemed that Schalke had turned a corner after their mid-week win. Unfortunately for them they ran into a high quality Bayern side, who can be unforgiving enemies. With seven points in six games, Schalke have some catching up to do.

Conversely, it was a satisfactory day for Bayern to say the least. They capitalised on Dortmund’s earlier slip up in an emphatic manner and are now level on points with their title rivals. There’s a long way to go yet but early signs are that this season’s Bundesliga race could well be a close one.

Blog by: Anand

Rangers v Celtic

Derby matches bring out the best (or worst) in fans

The lasting allure of a derby is one of the many captivating treasures in the overflowing soul of a football fan. Burdened by expectation and a bout of nerves, it is a captious game for the men on the field. A duel between crosstown rivals, somehow, has a magical aura that often transcends the actual context of the game being contested. It is a word that arouses passion, even if it were just two men squabbling over a little etymological detail.

Depending on your source, it could have come from horse racing or from that chaotic annual tussle between two sides in the village of Ashbourne in Derbyshire. Either ways, the association of it is never more intense than where it is about a much awaited football game. Legends have been built and told around cities, scripted on the heroics of players toiling for one part of a town against the other.

The passion around a derby is brewed on the strength of several powerful ingredients – culture, religion, class, the weight of history and a myriad other narrow considerations that serve to spice up the excitement around a game. Often, the clubs involved might only be fighting out a lower level league game. The fans though live in anticipation of the two games – home and away – as if their universe of aspirations and happiness were to be determined by how their team performs in the derby.

The gravity of a derby is best exemplified by the rivalry between the Celtics and the Rangers. The residents of Glasgow indulge in a bout of caustic jingoism every season, surrounding the acerbic contests between the two Old Firm teams. The rivalry is so intense, a recent paper published by researchers of the University of St. Andrews suggests that there is “compelling evidence” of a “statistically significant” spike in domestic violence following games between the two big rivals.

The team of four researchers studied 21 games between 2008 and 2011 and found evidence that suggested a link between the games and reports of domestic violence. The intensity of the rivalry between the two clubs even inspired a legislation in Scotland – the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act was instituted in March 2012, primarily to address unruly behaviour by football fans. The act empowers the police to take measures to counter sectarian acts fueled by fanatic spectators, who can lose perspective under the mixed influence of alcohol and the heady thrill of watching top flight football.

The sociological differences between fans of Celtics and Rangers – one club supported primarily by Protestant Ulster Scots waving the Union Jack and another by Catholic Irish Scots holding aloft the Irish flag – helps explain the fascination for the derby as an avenue for proxy expression of deep seated dislike.

Manchester City v Manchester United

Fans make the derby, and not otherwise.

However, not all derbies are between teams with as diverse a fan base as is seen in Glasgow. For instance, the two Milan teams – AC Milan and Inter even share the same stadium, a unique fact that does not rob their derby of any intensity.

Most often it is the importance of these games and the weight of their results on the final outcome of the season that draws fans and footballers alike to these iconic encounters. Especially in the case of Celtics and Rangers, the net result of their two games proved to be a defining influence in determining the winners of the Scottish Premier League. It is this element of positive statistical significance and almost theatrical drama that makes a derby such an alluring experience.

The Manchester derby is another example of sport enmeshing itself into the milieu of the city hosting the battle. However, the rivalry between the two teams from the erstwhile industrial town has less to do with sociological overtones and more to do with just footballing heritage.

The Mancunian feud has assumed girth decade after decade thanks to the success of the clubs at the top flight of English football. Unpleasant incidents involving players such as Denis Law, George Best, Roy Keane  and Rio Ferdinand have created animosity and added edge to the games between these two teams.

The one outlier to derbies marked by pronounced animosity is probably the Merseyside derby, involving Liverpool and Everton. The two clubs from Liverpool have a history of fans coming from same families. This fact alone has helped fans to sit together during derbies, happily supporting their team. If there is an air of pleasantness that surrounds a derby, Liverpool is the only city that might offer such a spectacle.

But while fans continue to proliferate their ties, the rivalry between the two teams on the pitch has been anything but friendly. The battle on the ground has intensified so much that it is typically the Merseyside games that result in more red cards than any other game in the Premier League. Most importantly though, the game between Liverpool and Everton has the distinction of the longest running top flight derby, with the two teams contesting in the Premier League in every season since 1962-63.

The musically titled Derby della Madonnina refers to the Milan derby between two clubs that owe their rivalry antecedents to the divisiveness between the rich and the working class. Inter was once believed to symbolise the expansive aspirations of the bourgeoisie while AC Milan represented the spirit of the blue collar worker.

Those distinctions have melted long since but that has done nothing to blunt the edge off their keenly contested games. The rivalry, if anything, has intensified over the years despite both teams sharing the same home.

Irrespective of where the game is played, each encounter brings the best out of the players providing for a thrilling game of football that is only outdone by the reverse leg. The derby is an exhilarating opportunity for the fans to experience thrill a minute footballing spectacle even as they examine the true character of their sporting heroes.

The result is an overwhelming cocktail that excites both connoisseur and the vacuous fan in equal measure. It might just be a game, but the derby shall enthrall each of us to eternity irrespective of its significance to the season or the outcome of the event.

Blog by: Roh

FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-CHELSEA

The matter of affairs in club football transfer windows are starting to look more and more like auctioning proceedings with almost all club managers – especially those belonging to über-affluent ones owned by millionaires and billionaires – waving their cheque-book to sign as many big-names as possible. While in theory, this is a good enough concept to work on, not all of these big-names – having once arrived at a particular club destination – get to justify, their ostentatious wage-rates.

History is peppered with names that went from being such riches to rags story after the shine and sheen of the mega-million bucks’ transfer wore off. And not only did these names lose out on the monetary front, but also went on to lose years’ worth of credibility in a jiffy; transforming into ‘had been’s before settling in some lesser-known, second-tiered clubs.

But as skewed as this rat-race is, one can’t really blame the club managers for wanting to go towards the best players as primary choices or the players themselves – considered to be the best – to desire to go to a better club. One can’t then even blame the club owners for being ever-ready to splurge to get the best goods out there; flaunting their high-handedness and displaying temper tantrums in case their demands aren’t met.

Simply because, while the owners do wish to see their club prospering acquiring silverware from all over the world; fact is that such spending isn’t done without much planning but is rather calculated to receive the best returns from these invested footballers. Which is why, each footballer gets only so much time to display his value for money and to continually establish himself as the best in the market.

Call it competition or call it scouting for talent with money not being an issue, fact remains is each element in the domain of club football is a pawn; motivated by one reason or another. The owners are motivated by the desire to succeed, to top everyone else as they do in their other business ventures. The club managers, they are the ones who are fuelled by the need to please the owners by winning them cups and titles, get the best possible talent for the club yet again motivated by the desire to keep the owners off their backs – the threat of being sacked looming as an ever-present danger – whilst ensuring that their scouted, key players hit the zone time-after-time without any disappointments or attitudinal hindrances.

It’s a never-ending cycle where each person’s role is pre-defined and laid out – least of all, the footballers’. Amidst all these swirling motives, they are the ones who have to ultimately act on satisfying these deep-set desires and needs. And alongside this, there is the aspect of their personal ambitions as well that pushes them further and further into this vortex.

The desire to see themselves as a part of that elitist club which would not only ply them with financial sustenance, but also take their standing amongst their peers to the uppermost echelons is perhaps the biggest factor that propels them forward. For both factors aren’t mutually exclusive but go hand-in-glove, leaving the players with no choice but to push themselves to as far as they can go.

But where these footballers can only control their destiny so much by getting their dream transfer on, whether or not conditions at their club of choice remain fruitful to bring out the best in the player can never be pinpointed with simplistic answers. And these are aspects that present an undesirable underbelly of the sporting realm.

It’s an underbelly that only speaks about wanting the best and relegating the others to the background. It’s about comparison – not just between different players but of the same player with his past. Such being the case, to say that certain nouveau-riche  clubs are focusing more on getting A-listed names would be wrong for exactly that’s what is being expected of them so as to make their presence felt.

Blog by: Abinandan
Gareth Bale Officially Unveiled At Real Madrid

We all have heard of transfer windows.But many fail to understand what it is and how it works. Here’s an illustration of what a transfer window is and how it works.

Transfer window is the criteria through which players are sold and bought. There are two transfer windows in a single season. The first one is for a period of  12 weeks (3 months) which is held in between seasons i.e., after the closure of a season and before the commencement of a fresh season. It usually ends at the end of August.

The second window takes place mid-season i.e., in January.

Now here’s how a transfer window works. It involves three transactions:

1. The two teams involved must agree upon a deal i.e., the amount of money the selling team demands for a player and if the  buying team is ready to shell out the same amount. Both the teams must come to a mutual agreement. Say for example, Real Madrid places a deal of £86 million on the table for Gareth Bale to Tottenham Hotspur. The price iss agreed upon and the deal is completed making Bale the most expensive player on the planet.

2. The team must negotiate a contract with their newly signed player. It can range from any number of years. For example, when Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Real Madrid from Manchester United for a then world record fee of £80 million in July 2009, he negotiated a deal for six years with a pay of $18 million a year.

3. A third transaction occurs when a player leaving a club wishes to get his hands on the money the interested club is willing to play for him. He would have to agree upon a deal with his club on that. Samuel Eto’o, a former Barcelona player rumoured to be leaving for Manchester City wanted half the money the English club would pay for him.

Players are sometimes loaned to lower clubs from the same league or different leagues as they fail to make their cut into the starting eleven due to inexperience. They are usually loaned so that they get the experience they are looking for. For example, Romelu Lukakau, a Chelsea youngster failed to make the cut because Chelsea squad was already swarming with talents. So he was loaned to Everton.