Transfer Window Leaves Much To Be Desired
By Andrew Warshaw
Last Friday, just before midnight British time, the door slammed shut on the summer’s transfer activity with many of the big clubs across the Continent putting together their final deals in the usual frenetic last few hours of business.
But is this way football should really be operating? I don’t think so. The transfer window, in my opinion, should close before the start of each country’s new season. Otherwise what on earth is the point of all that pre-season training and those overseas trips when players are supposed to bond and get to know each other?
How can managers possibly do their jobs properly when they don’t know who is staying and who is leaving until even after the season has started? It’s a complete lottery when players don’t know whether they are going to switch sides.
Several managers have expressed their frustration with the system and you can understand why. It’s no wonder that television commentators keep telling us that we can’t judge a team’s performances until a few weeks into the new campaign.
When I put this point to Uefa president Michel Platini in Monaco last week during the Champions League draw, he shrugged his shoulders and virtually said there was nothing he could do about it since it was a Fifa matter.
Yet the case for change appears overwhelming. Why not bring the whole thing forward a month to, say, Aug 1 instead of Aug 31? At least that would give most clubs a fortnight to gel their new squads without having to worry about last-minute panic buys.
The window may be open in theory for several weeks but only really gets going in the final few days, and even more so in the final few hours. Of course fans love the excitement of deadline day but there is surely no reason why this cannot be done a month earlier.
One problem, of course, is getting every major league in Europe to agree. That is, in a way, Platini’s responsibility but he has a fair point when he says it is for Fifa to decide. After all it was Fifa who introduced transfer windows for 2002-3 under pressure from the European Commission. Surely Fifa would be breaking no rules if they just brought it forward for a month in order to stop transfer activity taking place once a season is already other way.