Is it time for the transfer window to shut permanently?

Alan Pardew wants it shut before the start of the season. Michael Laudrup and Jose Mourinho consider it to be way too long. Some wanted it scrapped altogether. Fans and broadcasters alike love it.

The question, though, remains. Is it time to revolutionise the transfer window?

Summer as we know it now was very different until 1998, when the chief executives of Europe’s top leagues met in Athens and agreed to introduce a continental-wide plan offering leagues an off-season transfer period lasting a maximum of 12 weeks, while January was chosen as the month in which business should be conducted in winter.

The plan, which received strong support from some English clubs, was formalised in the 2002-03 season, bringing an end to the days when clubs could buy and loan players throughout the season.

However, by the time UEFA introduced the new regulations, the wind had changed among Premier League clubs, who no longer considered a 12-week period a suitable timeframe during which recruit new players.

Former Spurs’ manager Terry Venables, who had first considered the idea of introducing the transfer window back in 1992, claimed UEFA’s decision to limit the transfer period to 12 weeks was “a bit like greengrocers only being open on Mondays”.

UEFA maintained that the introduction of the transfer window would force clubs to plan ahead sensibly, while smaller clubs would be protected against the threat of bigger sides shopping at will and luring their best players away at crucial stages of the season.

However, as Mario Gotze showed last season, clubs continue to do business outside the transfer window, thereby rendering it utterly pointless, while managers often complain about the lack of flexibility the current system enforces.

Sky Sports and Jim White would, presumably, be apoplectic at the thought of being denied the opportunity to waffle on for 24 hours on deadline day, but a lot of Premier League managers would be happy to simply tweak the current system, rather than scraping it completely.

“There is a question about the transfer window being closed before we kick off the Premier League season,” said Alan Pardew in the wake of Newcastle’s 4-0 defeat at Manchester City on Monday night.

“I know the Premier League asked the European leagues to do it and they wouldn’t fall in line,” continued the Newcastle manager who claimed Arsenal’s decision to lodge a bid for Yohan Cabaye before the game, disrupted preparation and distracted the Frenchman.

Pardew might have developed a reputation for complaining with alarming regularity, but it was hard to disagree with the Newcastle manager.

The transfer window shuts on September 2 for Europe’s top four leagues, while Russian Premier League will have four extra days to conclude deals and the deadline for Portuguese clubs is August 31.

Even more bizarrely, despite closing on the same day, the transfer window doesn’t shut at the same time across the big European leagues as it closes at 6pm in Germany, at 11pm in Italy and England and at midnight in Spain.

Clubs and managers spend their summers dealing with greedy agents, players who know they can earn a new contract simply by leaking a story to a couple of newspapers and fans desperate for their club to land big signings.

No matter how carefully managers plan their campaign, they’re fully aware of having to contend with the transfer window even after the season is well underway.

Premier League and La Liga clubs will have played its first three fixtures by the time the transfer window shuts on September 2 and the Bundesliga season will almost be a month old, having kicked off on August 9, while teams in Serie A will be marginally better off, as their season kick off on the weekend.

Theoretically, Wayne Rooney could score a hat-trick against Chelsea on Monday night and lifting the trophy in May side by side with Jose Mourinho, while Swansea could field Michu and Ashley Williams on September 1 at West Brom, but not have them a fortnight later, when they host Liverpool.

“It’s part of the game and as long as the rules are like that we get on with it,” said Michael Laudrup.

“I went to the Premier League managers’ meeting last week and one of the questions asked was why we could not move the transfer deadline, what is the reason to have it close after we have started the season here and in Spain and Germany?

“The answer was that in the other big leagues there was not a lot of interest in moving it. I cannot understand why not.”

Imagine Alastair Cook beginning an innings with three seamers only to decide, after a couple of overs, that another spinner would be handy or Lewis Hamilton having his tyres replaced on the grid, after realising meteorological conditions have changed.

It wouldn’t make any sense, would it? A transfer window extending beyond the season’s opening day doesn’t make any sense either.

Is it time to revolutionise the transfer window or should it be scrapped altogether? Let us know below or get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter

This entry was posted in Bundesliga, January Transfer Window, La Liga, Premier League, Serie A, Transfer Deadline, Transfers. Bookmark the permalink.
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