Premier League clubs have voted to close next summer’s transfer window before the 2018-19 season starts. There had been complaints from managers that by allowing players to move to a different club once the season is under way, it was causing disruption to their squads and plans for the campaign.
Starting from next season, the transfer window will close at 5pm BST on Thursday 9th August, before the Premier League campaign is due to start. However, the vote was not unanimous and clubs will still be allowed to sell players until the end of the normal window, with the window across Europe running until 31 August.
The vote means that while clubs will still be able to sell until that date, all buying activity must cease on the 9th August, the last Thursday before the 2018-19 season. European leagues will still be allowed to buy and sell until 31 August, while the Football League’s window also remains the same.
Football League chiefs have suggested they could follow the Premier League’s move, but to do so they would require further discussions with stakeholders before making a final decision.
- Fourteen Premier League clubs cast a vote in favour of the change, which was the minimum total needed for the amendment to gain approval.
- Five clubs voted to keep the system as it was
- One club decided to abstain from voting
Although the Premier League’s transfer window will close earlier, it does not mean the window will be shorter as it will start earlier and be 12 weeks long. This is keeping in line with Fifa rules.
However, next summer will be slightly different from normal, as the 2018-19 season will be following the Fifa World Cup in Russia, which is due to finish on the 15th July. Premier League clubs will still be able to conduct business during the tournament, but they will now only have 25 days after the tournament to complete any signings.
Players need “clarity”
Players and managers had been voicing their concerns about the transfer window closing once the season had started. Tottenham forward Harry Kane said in August that closing the window early would allow players to concentrate, and his views were echoed by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who stated players need “clarity” on where they would be playing that season.
Wenger said, “It’s important that we close all that stuff before the championship starts. Players have no clarity. Are they in? Are they out? Will they be tapped up on the afternoon of a game? It’s not the way to work.”
Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, the most successful manager in the English game, also voiced his concerns, saying that the window should be closed early when he was asked about Barcelona’s attempts to lure Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool.
Everton manager, Ronald Koeman, has said that he hopes the rest of the European leagues would follow the move. He said, “If we do it in the Premier League and the rest of Europe don’t do this, still we have a problem. The best is before starting the competitions, stop the transfer window because it’s very silly.”
But current Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, stated that although European clubs would have a wider opportunity to do business, this would not necessarily be a disadvantage for English clubs.
Mourinho said, “The risk is minimal and even those powerful clubs have to know if we can’t buy players we’re not going to sell.”
Will Serie A be the next league to follow suit?
There has been reaction from across Europe to the vote cast by Premier League clubs. Director General of current Italian champions Juventus, Giuseppe Marotta, backed the decision made by EPL clubs and would like Serie A to follow suit. He described it as ‘a decision that I had been waiting for.’
Marotta added, “The Premier League’s decision to end the transfer window early is wise. Now we have to extend the discussion to a European level. 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.”
A.S. Roma sporting director, Monchi, also approved the move, saying it was a ‘right and logical decision’.
We of course now have almost twelve months to wait to see whether the decision has been the right one or not.