When does the January transfer window 2020 open? Start dates and deadline for the Premier League and Championship - and the rules explained
Both Sheffield sides will look for a boost this January as the transfer window opens.
But to remain in the ascendancy, they’ll be looking to strengthen their teams in the upcoming transfer window.
Blades boss Chris Wilder has already confirmed that his side will look for reinforcements come January, explaining that “two or three positions are a little bit light and we need to make sure performances and results aren't affected."
Meanwhile, Wednesday have been linked with a move for Crawley Town forward Bez Lubala in a bid to add to their firepower.
Half the season has whizzed by and every team now has a clearer idea of where their weaknesses lie and which areas need re-enforced this January.
Here’s a quick guide to how they can go about doing so during the January transfer window.
When does it open?
For English Premier League, Championship and Football League clubs, the January transfer window opens for business as soon as the New Year begins, on Wednesday 1 January.
This means that both Sheffield United and Wednesday will be able to start wheeling and dealing as soon as the new year begins, should they choose to.
The same is true for teams across the border in Scotland, as well as for those in France, Germany and China.
Clubs in Spain and Italy delay their window by a day, with the deals beginning on Thursday 2 January instead.
For teams based in Portugal, the transfer period doesn’t begin until 3 January, while those in Russia will be waiting all the way to 22 January.
What are the rules?
First of all, players who are signed on 1 or 2 January will not be eligible to play in that week’s games.
However, after that teams are free to alter their registered squads throughout the January transfer period, meaning any other arrivals can take to the field as soon as they turn up.
Secondly, deals in England which are still being hammered out when the window snaps shut can still be completed. Between 9pm and 11pm, clubs can submit the details of any ongoing negotiations using a Deal Sheet, giving them until midnight that day to get the deal finished.
After the window closes, no more transfers can be made between clubs. Previously, the Emergency Loan rule allowed sides to make loan deals outwith the transfer period to cover unexpected gaps (like serious injuries) but this was scrapped in 2016.
Free agents – players that are not contracted to any club – can still sign for a team at any point in the season.
When does it close?
For English sides, the January transfer window slams shut at 11pm on 31 January. However, as previously mentioned, they can take until midnight to wrap up any deals that have already gotten underway.
Once February begins, though, the Sheffield sides will have to make do with what they have.
The same holds true for teams in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. This means that the five elite divisions of European football will all call a halt to trading at the same time.
Scottish clubs have an extra hour to burn in their quest to get their man, with their window closing at midnight on the same day.
Portuguese clubs have until the end of 1 February to get their deals over the line, while the Russian window runs on until 22 February, and the Chinese one remains open until 27 February.
This is why rumours of lucrative moves to China often persist long after the European transfer season has ended.