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Starting next year, the transfer window for the Premier League will close on August 9, two days before the first match of the 2018-19 campaign. The new rule applies only to buying players.

Premier League clubs will still be able to sell players to other leagues whose transfer windows remain open later into August and September.

The transfer window for the English Football League remains unaffected, with clubs able to sell to lower division sides unless the EFL decides to bring its window in line with the top flight.

It comes after a number of Premier League managers and officials complained about the negative impact of transfer uncertainty and speculation on their players.

In my opinion, closing the window before the season starts is a no-brainer. We can now forget the garbage of deadline day, often on the same day that fixtures take place, of managers evading questions when it comes to discussing the future of their players in pre and post-match interviews – and, more importantly, of fans not knowing whether their favourite star player is staying or going.

The Premier League’s chairman, Richard Scudamore, said there was an overwhelming sense that clubs wanted to begin the season with more certainty over their squad. “Most important was the integrity of the competition between each other,” he said.

The recent Premier League transfer window has, as ever, sparked a lot of debate on social media from fans and pundits. Supporters around the world have every right to express their opinions and the differing thoughts of fans undoubtedly contribute to the popularity of the world game. However, I think a lot of fans (through no fault of their own) lack a full understanding of the complex and dynamic process of signing a player in the transfer window. 

I only gained some knowledge around the process from working within professional football and my appreciation of the complexities have only marginally improved!

From the scouting, to the identification, to the approach, to negotiating the contract terms, to the willingness of the player to move, to their family, to other competing offers, to their medical history, to their visa requirements, to the impacts on the existing squad and so on! It’s certainly not as simple as identifying player x and giving him or their agent call and saying hey, why don’t you come and play for us? Furthermore, even when you think a player is ‘locked in’, things often change and twist right until the end. Naturally, meticulous planning and detailed processes help, but even this doesn’t guarantee every target will be secured. These unpredictable twists and turns regularly lead to disappointment amongst fans and staff.

Also, some clubs choose not to publicise their transfer targets and do not comment on media speculation (unless the club believes they have no choice but to do so). Quite often, it’s only a very small group of people inside the club (no more than four) that are aware of the specific priorities at any one time. This approach helps minimise the risk of leaks and allows clubs to close deals professionally and discretely.

However, with this approach, fans are often left to speculate with little knowledge of what did or didn’t happen and why something did or didn’t happen which in turn leads to stories that are quite far from the truth.

Though, with the changes proposed for next year, I believe the majority of fans will be happy as squads will be settled prior to the season commencing; fans will know the score and speculation and uncertainty about their star players will lessen. Or put another way, fans will be able to visit the club shop and be confident that the name they choose for the back of their shirt is a name that will be at the club for the upcoming season. 

Categories: News | Premier League

epl, transfer window

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