The debate of scrapping or keeping the transfer windows has rumbled on for an extended period of time. Certain club managers are less than happy with aspects of it, while others can see the sensationalism and hype it creates. The money being spent in the winter and summer months is inflated due to the need to “panic buy,” while scrapping the transfer window might work well with Uefa’s approaching Financial Fair Play policy.
That’s not to say that it’s an entirely great idea to completely scrap the transfer windows and leave the market open all year. Yes there are advantages to it: Perhaps clubs will see a decent level of sense and logic in holding onto the majority of a quoted transfer fee. It would definitely bring an end to that deadline day circus that continues to be supported by Sky Sports. However, scrapping the transfer window and allowing clubs to rethink their need to spend heavily may only be beneficial to the bigger clubs who do have that sort of spending power.
The smaller clubs, or even clubs such as Arsenal and Tottenham who have had wealthier clubs trying to lure their stars away, would suffer greatly. That manner of poaching—because lets be honest, that’s exactly what it is—would continue throughout the season and seriously derail any ambitions and targets those clubs have. Where’s the sense in standing firm over Luka Modric’s transfer saga and insisting the player is going nowhere if Chelsea, for example, can indeed continue to court the player all season? The big worry here is that clubs can really start to lose a sense of identity on the field. The focus would be on the shadow cast over the club, rather than the importance of having a good season.
Equally, whose to say that the circus would completely end if the transfer window were scrapped? Those clubs who dig their heels in and demand hugely inflated fees for their most valuable players could continue to do the same throughout the year. Indeed, there would be less need to panic and rush into any sort of deal from the buying club, but would it really decrease the value of a player if the selling club do not want to do business?
At the same time, other clubs, specifically those who have found new seats of power in the football world, will continue to flex their muscle in the transfer market. Leaving the window open throughout the season will only give them an incentive to rubbish Uefa’s FFP and carry on in a manner that could be detrimental in the long term. And where does the madness of an open transfer window end? Does a long term injury to a player suddenly force the club to splash out and replace like-for-like? What happens when the issue of a 25-man squad comes into play?
With an open transfer window, or indeed the notion of scrapping the hysteria rather than the actual necessity to buy, there is very little security for the investments smaller clubs have made. Players with a little bit of mercenary about them will naturally jump ship as soon as the increased wage offer is flashed. And clubs who are fighting relegation may genuinely have no hope if transfers are allowed to take place during the business end of the season.
Scrapping the transfer window is an idea that is only brought forward to help reduce the big spending and the continued circus atmosphere that surrounds football at various points in the year. Even as flicking through a transfer gossip section every now and then might be considered a guilty pleasure to some—and it really can be interesting and greatly entertaining—what happens then to the genuine journalism and interesting stories in football? Does the history and setup of Ajax’s famous youth academy take a back seat to the transfer gossip that is sure to fill the pages all season? If that’s the case then it’s just another reason not to advocate the scrapping of the transfer window.