The summer transfer window is often seen by many football fans as the most exciting, turbulent, and dramatic times in the sporting calendar, with every year’s “Deadline Day” bringing some of the most exciting deals to fruition.
Over the last few years, players such as Robinho, David Luiz, Falcao, among others, have arrived into the English Premier League on deadline day while 2015 saw David de Gea’s long-awaited move to Real Madrid from Manchester United collapse at the last minute.
These examples prove just how dramatic and exciting any year’s deadline day can be. At the same time, questions regarding the closure of the window have grown louder year after year.
A major argument in favour of the closure of the summer transfer window before the commencement of the new season has been that any given team can be disrupted internally by the move of one player to another team after a season has started.
An example of such disruption can be seen in the case of Dimitar Berbatov and his last minute move from Tottenham Hotspur to Manchester United in 2008.
The Bulgarian forward had been linked with Manchester United for over a year, with the constant speculation, and the player’s desire to move to Old Trafford, leading to reports of dressing room unrest at Tottenham Hotspur as Berbatov consistently tried to push through a move to United.
The most recent incident of this is the failed move of De Gea to Madrid in 2015.
The anticipated switch, which would have seen De Gea move to the Bernabeu and current Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas move the other way, fell through following comical miscommunication between the two clubs.
However, up to the day that the deal fell through, De Gea failed to play any of Manchester United’s games at the start of that Premier League season as Louis van Gaal prepared for the departure of one of his star performers.
All of these instances demonstrate just how dangerous the transfer window can be for squads and the relationships between players, thus showing why the summer transfer window should be closed before the start of a new season.
Unfortunately, going through with this process is not as easy as it sounds. The first problem is which domestic season’s opening would be complied with.
If you look at the top 4 leagues in Europe (La Liga, Bundesliga, Premier League and Serie A), for example, none of those leagues start at the same time.
This season, La Liga began on the 19th of August, the Bundesliga began the 26th of August, the Premier League began the 13th of August, and the Serie A began on the 20th of August.
That is not taking into account the annual curtain raiser competitions for each nation. The Spanish Super Cup was played on the 14th of August (first leg) and the 17th of August (second leg).
The German Super Cup, on the other hand, was played on the 14th of August while the English equivalent, the Community Shield, was played on the 7th August and the Italian Super Cup will not be played this year until the 23rd of December.
Put simply, it is quite difficult to choose when to close the summer transfer window to satisfy each and every league which the closure would effect (i.e. every league in the world). The risk of appearing to show preference to one country over others may be far too large.
This is not taking into account the effect that the European Championships, or any other international competition, would have. It was evident throughout the European Championships this past summer that players were hesitant to leave/stay at their clubs until after the tournament came to a close.
This may not be a problem every year (although the Copa America takes place every summer) but, when tournaments such as the World Cup and European Championships take place, the early closure of the transfer window may make it incredibly difficult for teams to secure their primary targets in time.
A more viable option would be the complete cancellation of the winter transfer window which runs through the month of January. While not as much money is spent during this window than the summer months, the winter window has caused many problems for various teams.
A prime instance of this is the case of Yohann Cabaye. The French midfielder signed for PSG from Newcastle United on the 29th of January 2014.
While PSG signed their man, Newcastle’s season suffered massively from that point onwards. Up until the departure of Cabaye, Newcastle had collected 37 points from 69 on offer.
However, following the departure of Cabaye, from 45 points on offer, Newcastle picked up only 15 points, resulting in a 10th placed finish.
The arguments for the closure of the summer transfer window before the commencement of domestic league campaigns are good ones. Unfortunately, it may not be a viable option moving forward. Not only is the transfer window far too valuable (over £1bn was spent in the Premier League this summer alone) but the early closure of the window and any corresponding international competitions preventing players from sorting out their futures in time for the new season means that simply choosing when to close the window may be far more difficult than many people would like to admit.