Yesterday, the Premier League, all pleased with itself and with its smartest suit on, stood on a big wooden crate, puffed out its chest, cleared its throat and made a special announcement. From next summer, the transfer window is to close two days before the start of the season.
Stupid, stupid, stupid old Premier League.
The reason given for this batshit bit of calendar tweaking is that managers feel that their plans for the season are disrupted when the window stays open for the first two or three weeks of the season.
Much disruption is caused to their finely-honed preparations, or so they say. This is feasible if you choose to believe the lie that football management is some kind of science, as opposed to a permanent state of panic, as bosses wheel, deal, plot and scheme on the hoof, forever in fear of the swinging axe.
(Of course, you don’t hear them complaining about the January transfer window, which happens mid-season – that’s because their ‘plans’ then usually involve desperately trying to bring in players that will keep them in a job.)
And since when did we decide that a bit of disruption was a bad thing? We should be encouraging anything that brings a bit of chaos into the staid, regimented world of football.
I have many, many chaos-related football ideas that I am prepared to share with the Premier League in exchange for some money.
Some of them involve livestock and drugs. Call me, Richard Scudamore.
Football is about drama, which is why we love it – something that the knuckleheads at the Premier League will never understand. Look, we’re only a month into the new Premier League campaign and we’re all on the edge of our seats, wondering whether it’ll be Slaven Bilic, Frank de Boer or Rafa Benitez who’ll be first to head out of the exit door of their respective clubs.
Drama. Lovely, lovely drama.
Also, in recent times, the closure of the transfer window has coincided with the first international break of the new season, also known as THE MOST IRRRITATING WEEK IMAGINABLE. The pre-deadline day comings and goings provide us with some of that aforementioned, and much-needed drama, while we twiddle our thumbs in anticipation of Cyprus v Wales on the Saturday evening.
Sure, last month’s window mainly featured bluff, counter-bluff and a little bit of brinkmanship, with the likes of Coutinho, Sanchez, Costa and Van Dijk stamping their feet and throwing tantrums in the hope that they’d get to break the incredibly lucrative contracts that, let’s not forget, THEY’D GLADLY AND WILLINGLY SIGNED.
In the end, none of them went anywhere and the fallout from it all continues to be hilarious.
It almost makes you want to see the transfer deadline shifted back to the end of September instead so we can get another few weeks of it all.
There’s also a couple of serious points to be made about the new deadline day. It won’t apply anywhere other than here – which means that any foreign clubs who fancy snaffling up Premier League talent will still have until the end of August to lure away the top talent to their sun-drenched shores.
If the new deadline had kicked in this year, the Costa and Coutinho sagas would still have rumbled on well into the season, leaving Chelsea and Liverpool unable to replace the players if they’d gone.
It smacks of a toy shop owner closing his doors at 5pm on the 23rd December, passing up on the chance of raking in loads of money on Christmas Eve because he’s worried that opening his shop might get in the way of people’s gift-wrapping plans.
Jim White when he hears the news that deadline day will finish at 5pm next season. pic.twitter.com/O57Jb3lRWW
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) September 7, 2017
If the Premier League really want to do something radical and positive, they need to look at the massive sub-squads that the big clubs are building up while the transfer window is open. Chelsea’s hoovering up of young talent and subsequent mass loaning, while they decide if their new recruits are any cop or not needs to be addressed.
Because right now, the game’s brightest young players are being restricted as to where and when they’re allowed to develop, a worrying state of affairs.
But no – the Premier League reckon it’s better to have clubs operate with one arm tied behind their back while their European counterparts wallow in all the money and fun.
Brexit has got a lot to answer for…