Football Vocabulary: The Transfer Window 2010

The winter transfer window is about to close, meaning that clubs have only a few more days to buy, sell, loan and trade players.

The winter transfer window is about to close, meaning that clubs have only a few more days to buy, sell, loan and trade players. Speculation abounds as gossip, whispers and rumours fill newspapers and websites with the language of football transfers.

One area that my football-loving students find difficult to understand is the language used to describe the world of football transfers, particularly when they appear as headlines in newspapers or websites. Let’s take a look at some of the headlines that have recently appeared on the Sky Sports website and see if we can break down their meaning a little.

  • Strachan eyes Nak deal
  • Espanyol confirm Boro interest
  • Stoke to hijack Pompey keeper
  • Norwegian snubs English interest
  • Kaboul seals return to Spurs


Languagecaster has already published two previous posts (here and here) on this topic in which we classified this language into four sections: a) speculation b) contact c) the move and d) money.

In the first example the manager of one club (Strachan) is hoping that he can sign a new player (Nak) though nothing has actually happened yet – and probably won’t either. The verb to eye suggests that the manager is tempted but at the moment is only looking. The second example suggests that things are hotting up as there has been official contact between the clubs which means that a deal could be imminent unless of course another team comes in with a better bid and the player moves elsewhere – this is what the word hijack suggests in the third example. There is another reason for players not moving after this initial contact and that’s when the player refuses to move to a club – he turns them down or snubs them. However, if the two clubs agree a fee and the player is happy to move then a deal can be completed – or sealed. There, it’s actually quite easy!

  • Read the previous post on the language of football transfers here
  • There is another list of transfer vocabulary here.
  • Download a pdf worksheet on the language of transfers here.
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