Why we should shut the transfer window now
So, who’s going to win the Premier League? Who’s going down? That’s the question being asked in pubs, offices and TV pundits’ studios. It is, however, an unfair interrogation. Until the transfer window closes we will not know who’s playing for whom. If Arsenal suddenly sign a top-class goalkeeper and top quality centre-half their title chances improve dramatically. If West Brom finally receive an offer they cannot refuse for Graham Dorrans their prospects decline sharply. The playing season begins this weekend, but the purchasing season continues merrily on until the end of the month. Teams could be significantly changed by then.
It is not just the tipsters who could do with closing the window. Managers are starting the season with their sides unfinished. New signings may disrupt a team that is already finding its groove while departures are destabilising. Two seasons ago James Milner played in Newcastle United’s first two matches, a draw at Old Trafford, a win against Bolton. Then he was sold to Aston Villa, Kevin Keegan quit within the week and the Magpies were relegated. Last year the drawn-out Jolean Lescott saga undercut David Moyes’ preparation for the season and contributed to Everton’s poor start, which ultimately cost them a place in Europe. To judge from his form at Manchester City it did Lescott no favours either.
Closing the window also protects managers. Chairmen are less likely to react hastily to a couple of bad opening results when they know a new manager has no scope to bring in his own players until January.
The solution is simple. Close the transfer window, in and out, on the day the season starts. That La Liga and Serie A do not begin for a fortnight, and the French league began last weekend (the Bundesliga opened tonight) complicates matters, but not impossibly so. If a Spanish club wanted to buy from England, they would have had to do it by this weekend (as Real Madrid have with Ricardo Carvalho).
Mind you, the shrewd managers completed their transfer dealings long ago, for last minute buying is fraught with risk. Two seasons ago the Manchester clubs, Tottenham, Liverpool and Hull spent a cumulative £90m on Robinho, Dimitar Berbatov, Roman Pavyluchencko, Albert Riera and Daniel Cousin. Could any of them be said to have been remotely value for money? Shop in haste, repent at leisure.
(Photo: Getty Images)Tagged in: football, Premier League, transfer window
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