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Neville: Top six clubs couldn't afford to strengthen in January

Gary Neville

Teams in England's top flight spent £140 million in the winter market this year, compared to £465 million in 2018, while only seven of the 20 teams in the division spent any money at all.

The former Manchester United and England defender doesn’t believe the drop-off in spending is down to a lack of necessity for new players, but rather the exaggerated fees clubs are demanding to let their players go midway through the campaign.

Neville told Sky Sports: “Are we surprised that Arsenal didn't bring in a defender? Are we surprised Tottenham didn't bring in a replacement for [Harry] Kane, or anybody?

"But the problem is, they can't get the players available. They cannot get them. Honestly, it's a real issue.

"Clubs aren't letting go for normal prices, and clubs are now thinking: 'Do I go and pay over the odds in January? Am I going to get the player I want?'

"I genuinely believed Arsenal would have strengthened more than they have done if they believed something was available.

"Would Manchester United have brought in Raphael Varane, or Harry Maguire for example, if they believed they were available for decent prices in this transfer window? One hundred per cent they would. Would Manchester City have brought in a left-back, the one they wanted? Of course they would.

"But they're not there, they can't get them. They would have tried, asked the question, made the noises underneath with the agents and the scouting departments, but they're just not there.

"It's a real problem; the market is stuck in some ways."