Last week, the Premier League took the unprecedented step of voting to close the summer transfer window before the first game of next season, meaning all inward dealings will have to be wrapped up by the Thursday prior to 2018/19’s opening kick-off.
While most have embraced the decision after the first three weeks of 2017/18 were dogged by the uncertain futures and consequential absences of some of the biggest talents in the Premier League, simply because rival clubs had declared an interest in their services, there are some inevitable drawbacks.
Most notably, the rest of Europe is yet to follow suit, meaning they can still sign players, including from the Premier League, until the end of August – something which could have a massive impact in a World Cup year.
But which clubs will be affected most by the rule change? FootballFanCast takes a look….
Two of the five clubs to vote against changing the transfer window, despite making all their signings no later than the end of July this summer, with understandable reason. In comparison to Europe’s other super-spending institutions – the likes of PSG, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Barcelona – closing the window early leaves City and United at a significant disadvantage. For starters, Premier League clubs will have three weeks less than their equally interested continental rivals to snap up Europe’s best talent, meaning they’ll have to put more money on the table earlier in the window and can still effectively be timed-out of moves, the selling clubs knowing they have the best part of a month to continue touting their top players to Europe’s elite
Similarly, most clubs refuse to sell nowadays without replacements lined up first, which is why we often see a chain of moves during the last few days of the transfer window. The Premier League will be completely ruled out of that part of the process, meaning they quite simply won’t be able to sign certain players. Take Mesut Ozil’s move to Arsenal, for example, which happened in the wake of Gareth Bale’s move to Real Madrid on the 1st of September, or Angel Di Maria’s late switch to Manchester United following Los Blancos’ swoop for James Rodriguez. If those moves were to take place in 2018, the Premier League would miss out on both players. While that situation affects every Premier League club, it could particularly impact the top end of the division, which would significantly decrease the overall quality of the English top flight.
Yes, there will still be a Deadline Day even with the transfer window closing early, but Daniel Levy’s usual trick of using the impending cut-off to rush a few shrewd deals over the line won’t quite have the same effect if the rest of the European market is still open. Would PSG have sold Serge Aurier for just £23million back at the start of August, when they still had three weeks left to try and negotiate a higher fee elsewhere? In fact, that logic is applicable to most of the seven signings Tottenham have made in the final 16 days of August during the three summers prior to 2017. Clearly, Levy will have to drastically re-think his summer strategy to maintain the same kind of value-for-money his deals have become notorious for during his north London tutelage. Although that will please some Spurs fans who find themselves annually infuriated over the lack of signings until the final days of August, it’s not necessarily good for business – especially considering the impact the move to a new stadium could have on Tottenham’s spending power in the coming years.
Spare a thought for whichever club is promoted through the playoffs next season. Playoff winners already face the disadvantage of earning their Premier League status at least 20 days later than the two clubs automatically promoted – a period that could be much longer depending on how far apart the top two are from the rest of the league – not to mention all the Premier League teams who know they’ll remain in the top flight for another season and can start preparing much earlier. Next summer, however, the playoff winners will have just 73 days of being able to legitimately offer top flight status to get Premier League-standard signings through the door. That may seem like a long enough time to get business done, even with a few weeks post-Wembley set aside exclusively for celebrations. But take Brighton for example; they secured promotion midway through April, yet could only bring in six players – only four of which have started in the Premier League this season – before the end of July.