The final day of January transfer window has arrived and the panic has set in around the Premier League.
Last-minute deals are being rushed through, desperate bids are being placed and mobile phones of agents, players and managers are almost permanently attached to their ears as the clock perilously draws closer to that 11pm deadline.
But in the world of Football Manager 2023, the hour of reckoning has already passed as the 20 Premier League clubs react to a hectic final 24 hours in the virtual world. Yes, we fired up the world’s most popular managerial simulation to see how they see the final day of the window playing out - and there were some very interesting moves!
It was a quiet deadline for Arsenal, who sit in third place in the Premier League in this virtual world. However, there was one new addition as promising midfielder Alberto Moleiro made the move to the Emirates Stadium after a £5.25m deal was agreed between Las Palmas and the Gunners. The 19-year-old Spaniard was immediately listed for loan and has interest from several Championship clubs.
Outgoings were limited to three Under-21 players departing on loan and young left-back Lino Sousa heading to Leicester City in a deal that could net the Gunners up to £11m.
They may be enduring something of an inconsistent season in the Premier League - but the virtual Villa are riding high in sixth place and they have tried to boost their hopes of securing European football with a deadline day double deal.
Braga’s highly-rated striker Vitinha completed a £26m move to Villa Park in the early hours of deadline day and he was joined by RB Leipzig’s Yussuf Poulsen after he beat the clock to tie up a £7.5m move.
There were no outgoings on the final day of the window, or during the previous 30 days either!
The Cherries are right in the midst of a battle against relegation and they have been active on the final day of the window with three deals completed. First up was a move for Swansea City midfielder Matt Grimes as he was captured in a £6.75m deal and Greg Taylor followed just hours later in a £1.6m move from Scottish champions Celtic. A last-ditch move for Tunisian winger Mortadha Ben Ouannes was completed in the final hour of the window as he sealed a £6m switch from Turkish club Kasimpasa.
Brentford shut up shop long before deadline day with their £3.3m move for Getafe’s Turkish star Enes Unal representing their only incoming business of the entire window. And it was a quiet month overall with Saman Ghoddos’ loan switch to Middlesbrough meaning he was the only outgoing deal completed.
Brighton and Hove Albion
It’s all been a bit boring so far hasn’t it? Well, in the words of one well-known journalist, ‘Here we go’. The Seagulls swooped (sorry!) to secure Newcastle United star Miguel Almiron in a £27m move on the final day of the window, as the Paraguayan star joined former Magpies team-mate Ayoze Perez, Peterborough United defender Ronnie Edwards, Sporting Lisbon winger Rochinha and Croatian winger Marko Livaja at the Amex Stadium.
Seven Seagulls youngsters headed out on loan but their first-team squad remained largely untouched throughout the window.
Football Manager is always lauded for its realism isn’t it? Well, there’s a massive fail here because real-life mega-spenders Chelsea haven’t signed anyone during the January transfer window! In fact, there only deal was an outgoing move as Christian Pulisic joined Paris Saint-Germain on loan with a permanent £45m move to follow in the summer.
The email system, phone lines and fax machines (do clubs still use fax machines?) must be down at Selhurst Park and the Eagles training ground because there were no deals completed on deadline day or during the January transfer window!
Copy and paste from Palace in this one because the 19th-placed Toffees seem hell bent on sleepwalking into relegation under new manager Sean Dy…I mean Kjetil Knutsen!
One incoming deal for the Cottagers but it’s far from high-profile as French centre-back Amadou Mbengue joins on a free transfer after he was released by Championship club Reading. There was one notable - and very strange - outgoing as midfielder Tom Cairney departs in a loan deal with Mexican club Club Azul!
A deal that seems to happen on every single Football Manager 2023 game has come to pass once again as Croatian international left-back Borna Sosa moves to Elland Road in a £5m move.
There were two outgoings as Sam Greenwood and Joe Gelhardt both joined Blackburn Rovers on loan until the end of the season.
The Foxes are anchored in mid-table and have tried to kickstart their season with a three new signings on deadline day. As already mentioned, Arsenal youngster Lino Sousa moved to the King Power Stadium and he was followed through the door by AC Milan centre-back Matteo Gabbia and Uruguay goalkeeper Santiago Mele at a combined cost of £3.6m
Ayoze Perez has already been named as a departure after he moved to Brighton and a £6.75m deal took Jannik Vestergaard to Real Sociedad.
There were two eye-catching deadline day deals completed by Jurgen Klopp as the Reds boss added Lazio right-back Manuel Lazzari and Zenit midfielder Wendel to his squad at a combined cost of £47m.
There were no permanent outgoings but Calvin Ramsey and Fabio Carvalho were allowed to go out on loan with respective moves to Preston North End and Ajax.
Pep’s side may be running away with the virtual Premier League title but that hasn’t stopped the City boss being active on deadline day. Former Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino has joined in a £28.5m deal and he was soon joined by Celta Vigo left-back Javi Galan and Zenit winger Malcom, as Pep’s last-ditch business saw £88.5m leave the City coffers.
There were no outgoings from City.
Erik ten Hag’s rebuild continued on the final day of the window with two new faces arriving at Old Trafford. There is new competition for David de Gea after Shakthar’s Anatolli Trubin joined in a £20m deal and another goalkeeper was secured with Chilean veteran Gabriel Arias signing on in a £1.2m move from Racing.
Tom Heaton and Phil Jones both departed on free transfers to join Newcastle and Lens respectively, with Alejandro Garnacho making the same journey as Jones in a loan move.
The big story from St James Park revolved around Miguel Almiron’s £27m move to Brighton - but the Paraguayan international was soon replaced as the Magpies tempted Braga with a £26m deal for Ricardo Horta. Bristol City’s highly-rated midfielder Alex Scott also arrived in a deal that could cost up to £7m and, as mentioned, Tom Heaton was secured on a free transfer.
This isn’t like Forest! No incomings, nothing, nada, zip! The only deadline day deal saw Joe Worrall head to Celtic in a £7m move.
It was one in, one out at St Mary’s on deadline day as Theo Walcott’s second spell as a Saint came to a close with a £100k move to Championship club Swansea City. The incoming deal saw Southampton land highly-rated Swiss midfielder Ardon Jashari in a £9m move from Luzern.
It was a quiet day in north London as the clock ticked down towards the deadline. There was one major incoming deal as Brazilian wing-back Douglas Santos arrived in a £35.5m move from Zenit. Just as I type this, Matt Doherty is heading to Spain on loan in the real world, and that was matched in the virtual one as he joins Celta Vigo, rather than Atletico Madrid.
West Ham United
David Moyes must have lost his phone because there was no serious business at the London Stadium - although Manuel Lanzini was allowed to join Feyenoord on loan with a move that will become permanent with a £15.5m deal at the end of the season.
At last, some action! Good old Wolves! Five, yes five new signings have arrived in the final hours of the window as Julen Lopetegui hits the sales to add Zenit midfielder Daler Kuzyaev, Sporting left-back Matheus Reis, Celta Vigo’s Peruvian star Renato Tapia, Sevilla playmaker Oliver and Feyenoord star Karim Dermaine to his squad at a combined cost of £36.25m.
You’d expect he would look to recoup some of that money, but no, no outgoings at all.