Premier League shoots itself in the foot with transfer window decision

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The vote by 14 Premier League clubs to close the transfer window before the start of next season is monumentally self-defeating

The quintet of Watford, Swansea, Crystal Palace and the two Manchester clubs (Burnley abstained) made the right decision in voting against the proposal for the Premier League’s transfer window to close before the season starts.

Next summer we’ll have a situation in the Premier League where the transfer window will be open for 12 weeks – closing only 25 days after the World Cup final in Moscow.

Other clubs outside the Premier League will be able to deal for three weeks beyond that. The top teams in England will not.

Why on earth would clubs from this league vote to fritter away the one clear advantage they have over their European rivals – that being their superior firepower in the transfer market?

This is a world where Watford are buying players like Richarlison from Fluminense for £11m. This is a world where Swansea are taking Renato Sanches on loan from Bayern Munich.

Big traditional European clubs in the bracket of Roma, Marseille, Hamburg, Sporting and Ajax are completely subservient to even modest English teams like Burnley and Bournemouth due to their TV cash.

Without the support of other European leagues, it is a monumentally self-defeating decision.

Phil Coutinho Brazil

The news that the transfer window will close next season on August 9 for Premier League clubs – meaning they will not be allowed to buy players but can sell them – will be met with a particularly loud guffaw in La Liga’s offices.

Outside the Premier League teams, Real Madrid and Barcelona are the biggest vultures in the market. Players find it exceedingly difficult to turn down their advances when those two come calling.

We are told that closing the Spanish window early is currently “not a priority” and why should it be? The Clasico clubs can destabilise their English rivals all through the last three weeks of August by threatening to sign their best players.

That means the next episode of Coutinho to Barcelona cannot now be prevented due to the Premier League’s stance. Worse still, if a transfer in that regard does actually go through then a team like Liverpool are absolutely powerless to act in finding a replacement.

Not only that, but if an English team fail to get a signing over the line by the deadline then European teams will be free to swoop in and resurrect the deal for a newly-available player.

This is an era where the Premier League clubs are not just competing against one another; this is a globalised football world where rivals are no longer constrained by borders.

Alexis Sanchez Chile

Thomas Lemar France 2017

Ronald Koeman was dead right earlier this week when he said that voting to close the window for English clubs without reciprocation from other leagues was “silly”.

"If we do it in the Premier League and the rest of Europe don't do this, still we have a problem," the Everton manager said. "The best is before starting the competitions, stop the transfer window because it's very silly."

It’s not going to prevent players agitating for moves. It’s not going to stop teams being short-handed when the season starts. In fact, it could make things a lot worse.

The UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin remarked earlier this week that he would like to see the transfer window close early – for all leagues in his jurisdiction.

“I am aware there are serious discussions around Europe regarding the shortening of the summer transfer window and we are following them closely,” he said.

“In my view, it is not good when footballers play for one club when the league starts and another club when the transfer window closes.

“There is a lot of uncertainty for a long time. Therefore I would say that the window might be too long and I would support it being shorter.”

For that to translate into genuine, meaningful Europe-wide change will take a monumental effort. It is a noble quest that the Premier League is embarking on but one that is totally useless without adherence from everyone.

There appears to be some agreement in Italy where Juventus CEO Beppe Marotta spoke out in favour of the Premier League’s vote.

"The Premier League's decision to end the transfer window early is wise. Now we have to extend the discussion to a European level," said Marotta.

"It's the right choice. Having such a long transfer window creates turmoil, a well-run club succeeds by planning out a transfer campaign.

"The transfer market has to be limited, you can't have players moving when the leagues have already started.”

Ronald Koeman GFX

Kylian Mbappe Neymar Paris Saint-Germain

Plenty of talk but, as yet, no legislation.

In any case this was probably the wrong time for Premier League clubs to take the vote. Clubs, managers and executives still have deadline day well in mind this week and all the twists and turns it brought with it.

For clubs like Arsenal, who lost Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and were unable to replace him, and who came perilously close to losing Alexis Sanchez, then it’s a no-brainer to have the window close earlier.

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Gunners 13/10 for the top four

For City, on the other hand, it suits a club as rich and powerful as they are to keep rival teams on their toes right to the last knockings. But this vote should have been held when passions are lower regarding the transfer window later in the season.

The 14 clubs voting in favour of closing the Premier League transfer window before the start of the season are 14 turkeys voting for Christmas.

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