Premier League

Premier League Clubs Right To Make Transfer Window Shut Early

 • by Simon Collings
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After years of madness in the transfer window, finally it looks as though sanity is about to be brought to the English market.

In a recent era that has been dominated by transfer sagas, panic buys and deadline day signings, Premier League clubs have decided enough is enough.

They have, according to reports, agreed to approve the idea of closing the transfer window a week before the season starts at a shareholders’ meeting in September.

Such a decision would prevent Premier League clubs from buying players once the season has kicked off, although they could still sell to sides from around Europe.

It would be a groundbreaking change to the transfer market and it is one that is long overdue.

For years the fact the summer window closes three weeks into the new season has caused chaos for clubs up and down the country.

We have seen it again this time around with the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Liverpool transfer target Virgil van Dijk being absent from the opening round of fixtures as uncertainty surrounded their futures.

The list doesn’t stop there, though. You can throw in Alexis Sánchez, Barcelona transfer target Philippe Coutinho and Ross Barkley for good measure – while Chelsea are still dealing with the ongoing problems surrounding Diego Costa.

And all this is taking place while the season has begun.

It is clearly detrimental to managers trying to do their jobs, but furthermore, it is unfair for the fans.

Consider those who have forked out on a long journey to see their team kick off the campaign, only to find out their star man is not in the right frame of mind to play.

Indeed, it is more than possible a supporter could watch their side in August and come September the make-up of the squad is completely different.

This, in turn, highlights another key point as to why the transfer window should be moved to before the start of the season.

Let’s, for example, say, Sánchez is fit for Arsenal’s clash with Liverpool just days before the window shuts.

He plays, scores, and the Gunners claim three points. Yet, a week later he signs for Manchester City.

How is that fair?

Liverpool have essentially played against a stronger Arsenal side, simply because there were one of the unfortunate three teams to play them before the transfer window shut.

To make matters worse the Reds would also end up playing against Sánchez three times – assuming he turned out for Manchester City on both occasions they faced them.

Move the window to the start of the season, when everyone knows who is in their squads, and this issue is eradicated.

Unsurprisingly, the call for change is being backed strongly by managers. Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal boss, is certainly one who backs the idea after spending years grappling with the current situation.

“Yeah I support it of course,” he says. “For the regularity of the season, it’s better because you can have a player who you could play against three times if the transfer window is not closed when you start the season.

“That doesn’t look normal. Also, for the psychological comfort and focus of the manager.

“It’s difficult to start the season with a team and have some players in the squad who are not completely on board.

“You can understand that, once everyone’s on the train, they stay on the train.”

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The one fear that such a decision brings with it is the fact that other European leagues would still have their transfer windows open.

That means, in theory, they could buy a player from a Premier League club – and the selling side would be unable to bring in a replacement.

On the face of it, the scenario seems like a fatal floor in an otherwise promising plan. However, Wenger is not worried but such a situation.

“Do you give some foreign clubs an advantage? No, not really because you have enough time,” he says.

“I spent my whole summer in the transfer market, so I think six or eight weeks… we basically had ten weeks. What people will do is adapt.

“What makes them decide is that there are only three or four days to go and suddenly everybody comes out of the bushes to say, ‘Yes, we are alive, we are here and we want to buy’. If the timing is shorter, they will adapt to that as well.”

Crucially too, when it comes to this matter, the Premier League are the leaders in the transfer market. As the biggest spenders, they dominate the landscape.

It is quite possible their shift could bring other leagues into line, as they will be wary of alienating themselves from one of their best clients when it comes to selling players.

Either way, the Premier League will benefit from having a definitive early deadline as it will allow them to say to clubs: ‘No, the time has passed. You knew the situation; he had to go before our season started. Our window is closed.’

Foreign clubs may argue and moan, but as Wenger points out, they would have already had plenty of time by then to sort out any deal they wished.

The Premier League holds all these chips at the poker table and, as such, they should be the ones dominating the proceedings.