The transfer window continues to be a farce. When the window opens on July 1, what will actually change, and what difference will it make?
Very little is the answer.
12 of the 20 Premier League clubs have already announced signings, and it was known Ricky Van Wolfswinkel was joining Norwich City months ago. The lines surrounding the window are becoming more blurred every season as transfer negotiators get more sophisticated and football administrators more incompetent.
It is obvious that clubs do business outside of the window. When there are no games on, it’s the only other thing which is going on in the world of football bar the wholly meaningless FIFA love in which is the Confederations Cup. Speculation and rumour is often more interesting than the actual product on the field, so why have the charade that clubs are only conducting their business during certain months of the year?
What makes the system even more ludicrous is different countries having different periods as their window. Obviously football seasons in different countries run at different times of the year, so their transfer windows mirror this. This can throw up a situation where a club with one window can buy a player from a club where their window has already shut, and can not sign a replacement.
The signing of Neymar for example has occurred during the Brazilian Mid – Season window, which runs from June 20 – July 20. Fair enough, they are within their rights to sell, but Barcelona’s window is shut, it doesn’t open until July 1. How have they managed to spend the most amount of money on a player so far this window, without the window even being open?
It maybe that Neymar’s contract with Barca starts on July 1, and if so, why not unveil him then? Is he not still a Santos player until his Barca contract takes effect? There are too many grey areas and there is too much disregard for the system as it is. Either scrap the window totally, or reinforce the restrictions so that approaches made to players outside the window are reported and clubs, managers, agents and players fined for breach of contract.
July 1 will undoubtedly be greeted with a media scrum, and the anticipated flurry of activity which will invariably not materialise. Then, as deadline day approaches, the season has already begun and trepidation sets in about how the season may be shaping up, a flurry of panic signings that may, or probably won’t be the answer are concluded.
It’s no way for the game to be run. It threatens the existence of the smaller clubs, and it can blow months of scouting if deals take longer than anticipated to be concluded. Its time FIFA did something positive, and shut the window for good, and allowed freedom of trade and some sense of perspective surrounding the transfer market
Media outlets will surely disagree, and Sky Sports Jim White would be apoplectic, but for football clubs who want to be run as proper businesses, a transparent transfer market is one where there isn’t a window.
image: © jikatu