In a vote taken earlier today, Premier League clubs have decided to close next summer’s transfer window before the season begins, encouraging clubs to be proactive in their summer dealings and complete their business earlier on.
The vote comes after complaints from managers that transfer activity disrupts their preparation once the season is underway.
Whilst the English window will close prior to the start of the season, the European window will still run until August 31st. This means that whilst Premier League clubs won’t be able to buy, selling is still an option to clubs across Europe.
Hence, sagas like that of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, arguably one of the motivating factors behind such an agreement, can persist.
Have Premier League clubs, therefore, taken the right decision?
Is early business the best business?
The decision to close the window before the season doesn’t shorten the period in which clubs can conduct business, with the window now beginning earlier to ensure clubs still have a 12-week period in line with FIFA rules.
There’s an argument to suggest that it’s the right way to do business, one forwarded by Tottenham striker Harry Kane.
“I think when the season starts it would be good to just everyone is where they are at. You get on with the season,” the 24-year-old said.
The point Kane was alluding to is that ongoing business detracts from preseason preparation and undermines players’ focus, with the minds of key stars elsewhere.
It would encourage clubs to get their business done earlier in the window which not only allows them to concentrate wholeheartedly on the beginning of the season but also embed their new signings throughout the summer rather than them arriving without having had a preseason at their new clubs.
In the long-term, clubs will find this beneficial as they arrive on the opening day a much more cohesive unit. This is something that will directly impact Tottenham considering how late they complete their business.
It’s a marked feature of their transfer policy that Daniel Levy likes to find bargains late in the market, but it will now encourage them to get active earlier, which a majority of fans are already clamouring for. Whilst it may seem harmful at first, it will end up benefitting them.
For players, too, the buzzword is clarity. The likes of Alexis Sanchez and Virgil van Dijk will have a clearer idea of their futures rather than training individually and missing three games of the season amid transfer speculation.
Shooting themselves in the foot
Whilst the agreement offers a significant number of long-term benefits, these are restricted solely to Premier League clubs without affecting the rest of Europe, hence creating a situation in which European super-clubs can benefit.
“If we do it in the Premier League and the rest of Europe don’t do this, still we have a problem,” said Everton boss Ronald Koeman.
The counter-argument to this agreement, therefore, is that is disadvantages the Premier League, particularly those clubs competing in the Champions League and Europa League against those clubs directly benefitting from this.
For instance, the Coutinho saga, despite this new agreement, would persist and if Liverpool were to concede and sell, it leaves them unable to sign a replacement.
However, it encourages clubs to plan to ensure such situations don’t arise, which will only be beneficial in the long-term.
“The risk is minimal and even those powerful clubs have to know if we can’t buy players we’re not going to sell,” said Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.
The issue isn’t as pronounced as it sounds as it’s highly unlikely Premier League clubs would sell their star players without being able to buy a replacement. European clubs will be well aware of this and know prices are likely to skyrocket even further.
What happens to inflation?
This summer has been notable not only for the calibre of player moving around Europe but the insanely high prices they have been attracting, such as Neymar’s £200m move to PSG and Ousmane Dembele’s £97m move to Barcelona.
With prices already spiralling out of control, this decision has the potential to affect this phenomenon further.
Given business must be concluded earlier, there will be an even greater desire to secure top targets prior to the start of the season which gives clubs a chance to add an extra premium onto their prices, knowing there’s no ‘I’ll come back later’ as a negotiating tool.
What happens to the market from here, I dread to think about.
Have Premier League clubs made the right decision? Will they be at a disadvantage next summer? Have your say in the comments section below.
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