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3 reasons why the Premier League's decision to move the transfer window in line with Europe is the right one

Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Feature
Modified 08 Feb 2020, 16:12 IST

Christian Eriksen
Christian Eriksen's move to Inter Milan could've been sorted far earlier with a longer transfer window

In one of the more understated news items in recent times, this past week saw the announcement that the Premier League’s clubs have voted to change the dates of the upcoming summer 2020 transfer window to fall back in line with Europe’s other major leagues.

The last two summer transfer windows in the Premier League had instead closed on the eve of the beginning of the season – an idea that was supposed to mean more stability for England’s top flight clubs, but instead led to more issues when the rest of Europe did not follow suit.

Now though, the 2020 window will again close on September 1st – nearly four weeks after the Premier League season commences on August 8th – a much smarter idea for the Premier League’s giants. Here are 3 reasons why moving the transfer window dates to fall back in line with Europe was a good idea.

#1 It will prevent the Premier League’s clubs from being left short

Paul Pogba may have been allowed to leave Manchester United in the summer had they been able to replace him
Paul Pogba may have been allowed to leave Manchester United in the summer had they been able to replace him

Perhaps the biggest problem with the Premier League’s transfer window closing earlier than the window across the rest of Europe was the fact that it left even the biggest clubs of England vulnerable to the giants of Spain, Italy, Germany and France when it came to their star players potentially being lured away.

Take this past summer, for instance; the Premier League’s window closed on August 8th, a day prior to the commencement of the season, but nearly a month prior to the closing of the window in Europe. That meant that players like Paul Pogba of Manchester United and Christian Eriksen of Tottenham – players who were linked with moves abroad all summer – were still available for moves despite the fact that their clubs would’ve been unable to sign replacements.

This meant that neither United nor Spurs were willing to sell either man, and Spurs in particular suffered for that – being stuck with a want-away Eriksen for the first 6 months of the season until his eventual January move to Inter Milan.

The dual threat of Europe’s giants stealing away players, and the Premier League clubs being unable to bring in replacements meant that the early closure of the window was simply a bad idea all around, causing clubs to be stuck in a holding pattern that was no good to anyone. Putting the closure date back in line with Europe once again levels the playing field.

#2 It will allow Premier League managers to assess their squads in live action

Could Mauricio Pochettino have saved his job had he been able to assess his squad in live action?
Could Mauricio Pochettino have saved his job had he been able to assess his squad in live action?
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While it felt like a good idea at the time for the Premier League’s summer transfer window to close prior to the start of the season – to allow managers to begin their campaign with a settled squad rather than wonder about who would be leaving and who could be coming in – there’s an argument to be made that it actually risked bosses being caught short at times.

After all, assessing a squad in pre-season is one thing, but there’s nothing quite like seeing players in live, competitive Premier League action to see exactly what they’re all about. Imagine, for instance, a manager who thinks he has a full-strength squad ready for a tough campaign ahead, only to realise in the opening game of the season that his first-choice centre-back has suddenly lost his pace, as we’ve seen on numerous occasions over the years.

Or what of a manager who feels he doesn’t need an extra striker to add to his squad – only to see his talismanic forward go down during the second game of the season with a serious knee injury? With the transfer window closing prior to the beginning of the season, neither boss would be able to do anything to strengthen their squad.

Sure, allowing bosses to buy new players after the season has begun does allow the bigger clubs a slight advantage, but to be quite frank, in 2020 all of the Premier League’s clubs have a certain level of financial power anyway, with sides like Aston Villa and even Newcastle United splashing the cash last summer.

Essentially, allowing managers a handful of games to assess their squad while still allowing them to potentially strengthen is a much smarter plan for all of the Premier League’s clubs.

#3 It allows players a chance to put themselves in the shop window

With a longer transfer window, Wilfried Zaha could
With a longer transfer window, Wilfried Zaha could've placed himself in the shop window

Thus far the benefits of the transfer window’s later closure that we’ve discussed have all been benefits to the Premier League’s clubs – but what about the players themselves? There’s also an argument to be made that any player looking for a move away from their club would also benefit by being able to start the season with a transfer still a possibility.

How would this work? Take the example of Wilfried Zaha from last summer, for instance. The Ivorian was desperate for a move away from Crystal Palace and even placed a transfer request in, only for the Eagles to turn it down and then slap a huge price tag on him that ended up putting off potential suitors like Arsenal and Tottenham.

But what if the transfer window had been open for the first handful of Premier League games? Zaha could then have either worked even harder to show his potential suitors what they could buy – in essence attempting to force their hand to match his price tag – or, as questionable as it sounds, caused such an issue at Selhurst Park to ensure Palace would’ve simply wanted rid of him.

By giving everyone more options – including the players – a lengthier transfer window would be a positive for everyone involved in the Premier League, meaning this week’s move makes perfect sense.

Published 08 Feb 2020, 16:12 IST
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