When it comes to football's transfer window, it's better to shop around

Picture: Flickr/San Francisco Foghorn

Football managers beware: When it comes to the January transfer window, it can be better to shop around, and in some cases, even wait until a better deal becomes available in the summer.

Here are five charts to back this up:

1. Make sure it's the right fit

Both Graziano Pelle (Southampton), who was a snip at £8m, and Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), who was pricier at £35m, were well thought out moves made early in the transfer window that suited their team's style.

Radamel Falcao, whose loan deal started at £6m but could cost up to £24m, was a panic buy when he suddenly became available - his goals return this season reflects poor value for money.

2. Costa reigns supreme

Diego Costa has given the best return of any player since his summer move to Chelsea. A ratio of nearly a goal a game is unmatched by any of his rivals and despite his hefty fee was probably worth it.

However, there are also bargains to be had as Diafra Sakho, who cost a quarter of Welbeck’s fee and under half of Brown Ideye’s, has produced significantly more goals than either man. In a similar vein to Falcao, Welbeck’s arrival was late in the transfer window, again proving that panic buys are not always productive.

Juan Mata joined Manchester United in the January transfer window in 2014 to try and save David Moyes’ struggling team. The season before, he scored 12 goals and made 12 assists for Chelsea, but then had no goals and just two assists at the start of the 2013/14 season before Chelsea let him leave for £37.1m.

He did enjoy a good start at United, scoring five goals and three assists, but this season has six goals and four assists which suggests he was probably not worth the hefty outlay and represents a poor bit of January business. So much so that United needed to spend £59.7m on Angel Di Maria - who plays in the same position - at the end of the season.

4. Think about what you really need

With a squad packed with players like Edin Dzeko, David Silva and Sergio Aguero, Manchester City are hardly short of attacking talent. The addition of Wilfried Bony for £28m seems a strange one - particularly when compared with Aguero who plays such a similar role to his but with superior stats. With such a big step up in quality from Swansea to City, this one is set up to be another January flop.

5. Late panic never pays

Jermain Defoe returned to the Premier League this month with Sunderland desperate for a striker. Similarly Liverpool spent £16m to sign Mario Balotelli in the summer after the unplanned exit of Luis Suarez. Both can be considered as impulsive buys, and while Balotelli hasn’t performed, Defoe doesn’t have history behind him either.

In the 2013-14 season before Defoe left Spurs, he had just one goal and no assists in 14 matches. The stats suggest Sunderland will be guilty of a poor panic signing, just like Liverpool have been. The chart above doesn't make for good reading.

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