It was recently announced that transfer (registration) window will close for all English football league clubs on 9th August at 5.00pm. The window for EFL clubs is now synchronised with the Premier League, who have collectively chosen to close the window two days before the 18/19 season starts. This is well before the window shuts for the rest of Europe.
As the true valuation clubs place on players is often only revealed at the eleventh hour, supporters have become accustomed to seeing a deadline effect. Last minute deals are often cut as bargaining power shifts close to a deadline. A chain reaction usually occurs as one deal begets another; clubs won’t sell without a replacement. I would guess that this behaviour, and all the associated hype, will just be moved backward three weeks.
There might be some subtle and some unforeseen effects however. This could go two ways. Pushing the deadline back may make things more frantic, particularly during years where international competitions take place. In turn, this could increase the frequency of business in the January window. Oppositely, it may stop panic buys which can occur under the current rules. At the moment clubs can overpay after a bad start.
Moving the transfer window backward may alter the ‘deadline day’ activity in other ways too. The buying-selling dynamic of the window will likely change as clubs will still have plenty of time to offload players abroad. Will we see more last minute splurges as clubs still have an extra few weeks to flog unwanted talent on the continent? Perhaps. Equally, it will present a challenge for elite clubs who have players in demand from the European giants – top Premier League clubs may have to work harder to fend off Barcelona, PSG, Real et al. While these situations are rare, clubs won’t be able to reinvest any monies accrued from a sale after the domestic window closes.
While the craziness could be just pushed back three weeks, the negative externality associated with unruly players trying to push through a move will likely end. Managers who crave stability could be the winners. By voting for the new rules clubs seem to be willing to sacrifice a star player who could be useful, albeit for 3-4 matches, for the sake of certainty and having no disruptive forces existing in the dressing room.
Recently, Sanchez, Costa, Coutinho and van Dijk were withdrawn from the first eleven as speculation mounted about their future. A good example prior to this year’s start was the case of Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelander wasn’t in the ‘right frame of mind’ to go on Swansea’s pre-season tour. He moved to Everton on the 16th of August. One of the most famous examples occurred in the 2008/2009. The atmosphere at Tottenham was close to toxic for the first few matches as the benched Dimitar Berbatov (successfully) forced through a move to Manchester United on deadline day. Tottenham scored 1 point out of 9 before the window closed. Juande Ramos was sacked soon after. The Berbatov transfer debacle did him no favours.
Moving things back will allow inevitable transfers to take place earlier and may negate any dressing room spillover effect associated with want-away stars. Also, increased squad certainty may improve parity between clubs. If negative effects caused by one individual spreads across a dressing room, another club may luckily play them in the first few weeks, prior to the windows close. Hopefully an early close will stop teams randomly benefiting from an unsettled opposition. Finally, moving things back may do away with any perverse incentives stories (or conspiracy theories that surface online). For instance, Oxlade-Chamberlain represented Arsenal in Liverpool ‘s 4-0 win. A week later he joined the Merseyside club.
It will be interesting to see the effects of this change. Something in me thinks that without the buy in of other European leagues, the desired impact of the rule change may not be fully reached. If anything, big European leagues could see the Premier League's first move as giving them leverage in the transfer market.