Martin O'Neill has criticised the transfer window and fears that it creates an awkward environment in which clubs panic and overpay for inappropriate players.
The Aston Villa manager, whose team have not won in five weeks, is likely to make a number of signings during January but playing the system does not mean he agrees with it.
Far from it, actually. He would much prefer a return to the times when there was a transfer deadline in March, allowing clubs to deliberate over deals and not be rushed into possible mistakes.
Inevitably, given Villa's newfound wealth, O'Neill is at the centre of speculation. Wisely, he drops few hints as to the identity of his transfer targets, but it is clear that he needs two defenders and one striker.
At the beginning of the season, O'Neill suggested that he would conduct most of his business in the summer of 2007, but the changing face of the Premiership table has forced him to be more active in January than he would like.
"Do I like the transfer window? Not particularly," he said. "I think it points everyone into this supposed opportunity and sometimes you are panicked into things. After January 31, you are not able to do anything until the end of the season. Before, the system was OK. I am not a fan of this and I am not so sure many people are but, whilst it is there, you can't do anything about it."
The arrival of Randy Lerner as chairman — he is worth #1.2 billion — has made Villa an even larger target for agents and would-be Premiership players. O'Neill accepts the realities but has found that sifting through the mud to find diamonds can be time-consuming and dirty.
"I get loads of DVDs from agents and if you sat down and covered every one of them, you wouldn't get out of the house," he said.
"There will be players you are well aware of because it's become more global in the last few years. If someone mentions players to you from abroad, I would say you would have a fairly good chance of knowing who they are talking about."
Ideally, O'Neill would like an end to a system that appears to favour the larger clubs. Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal have a greater margin for error. Villa can less afford to take risks. "You are not going to change the transfer window this season," O'Neill said.
"I am sure people will be lobbying to do something about it and hopefully that will be successful in the not-too-distant future. But in this particular year, whilst the window is there, you just get on with it."
And so, with the transfer window opening in 13 days' time, there comes the inevitable speculation — some credible, some ridiculous.
O’Neill is understood to have identified two defenders — Curtis Davies of West Bromwich Albion and Phil Bardsley of Manchester United — as potential targets next month.
Villa have been tracking Davies this season and Ian Storey-Moore, who is O'Neill's chief scout, watched the 21-year-old centre back when Albion played away to Barnsley nine days ago.
Albion paid Luton Town #3 million for Davies in the summer of 2005 but his value is likely to have doubled since. Tottenham Hotspur and Portsmouth are believed to be interested but a move to Villa will mean that Davies can remain in the West Midlands.
Bardsley is a right back and a loan move could be in the offing. Villa lack strength in depth in both full-back areas. Olof Mellberg has been playing at right back but he is less comfortable there than in central defence.
Bardsley, aged 21, is on loan with Rangers but appears surplus to requirements, with Alan Hutton now reinstated in the team.
Aaron Hughes was originally Villa's first-choice right back but his season has been tarnished by injury. Ditto, Mark Delaney who, because of knee injuries, has not been a regular in the first team for more than three years.
O’Neill also ran the rule over David Nugent, the Preston North End striker, during a match against Blues at St Andrew's but the player has made it clear he wants to stay and try to help his club gain promotion.
O'Neill might also make a bid for Robbie Keane, the Tottenham Hotspur striker, who has been a scourge to Villa over the years.
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