Thursday, August 17, 2017

Proposed change to Transfer Window for next season

There have been news reports of FA working on reducing the transfer window duration. Such a move will ensure Premier League clubs will finish their transfer business a day before the season begins. Many managers are in support of such a decision. Post the approvals from every club, it will be made official. But is it a foolproof step? Does it have any loophole? Let's see - 

Background - Premier League clubs have two windows in a year to do transfer business. This discussion pertains to the summer transfer Window (July 1st - August 31st). The deadline day changes if 31st August falls on a weekend - in which case it moves to the next business day. League season starts in mid-August, which means there's a fortnight of overlap. Deadline of August end was charted out by FIFA to ensure that the teams are finalized before the start of UEFA Champions League and Europa League. 

Will the Premier League Lion roar and be heard

Arguments in support of this move - Summer Transfer Window officially begins from July, but clubs and managers start the work of rebuilding the squad as soon as the previous season ends. Shortlist is prepared of players who will be considered and who will move out. Negotiations start with the other clubs for prospective players. In some cases, transfer is also announced before the official window. What I am trying to drive here is that the clubs have a lot of time to prepare for next season. If the window ends before the season, it should hardly make a difference. Any manager with a rational take on this topic will agree to have the window reduced as all want to have stably before the season and not last-minute flip flops. 

Arguments against this move - Clubs get few preseason matches under their belt to reassess their squad, strategies and give opportunities to new players to adapt. But what happens when, on the eve of the season, one of the key player gets injured? Or your key player has rejoined late after an international tournament and is in dire need of match fitness to get back to first team? Of course, managers need to have backups. You will have multiple players for a position, but none of the same top quality. The transfer window, in its present state, allows an option to look for a backup. If we agree to the new rules, we will be devoid of such an option. Suffice it to say that the current window can also stabilize an unstable team. 

Possible loophole - Note that this proposal pertains only to the Premier League clubs only. This could mean that foreign leagues from Spain, France, Germany, Italy will still have an option to capture a premier league player! This loophole can completely undo the intention of making the window shorter. Premier League clubs will only be destabilized by this loophole. 

My take - Conceptually, I totally l am in total support of this decision. For those against such a move, I don't buy the arguments put forth. The injury angle is not a legit argument as clubs need to have a squad to provide backup in case of player unavailability due to injury or international commitments. A top player getting injured is unfortunate and he just can't be replaced in any team, let's accept this fact. Now to the possible loophole - I am not sure if FA can make a rule to disallow foreign clubs to poach their player post the new transfer window deadline. If they can't, then there is no point to have a shorter window. I am all for the shortened window under the following two conditions - if all the European association decide to have such a move or else FA charts out a rule to block their player from moving to foreign shores after window closes.

Either ways, we have just started this season but the next season already sounds interesting!

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