Transfer deadline must be brought forward
Published: 11.09.12 / Written by: David Gold
The transfer deadline day dash two weeks ago was familiar.
Teams rushing around, trying to get a last minute bargain. Winners and losers emerging, and headline transfers such as that of Javi Garcia going through. The big move that collapses - Joao Moutinho this time.
But it all happens, of course, after the season has got underway. This seems odd. As Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has previously pointed out, the window is basically dead anyway until the final week, when it erupts into life. And Arsenal, as Manchester United and Chelsea did, tried to do all their business before the deadline. It makes sense of course, to get your business done before the season begins, to give players as much time to settle in with their new team mates. Tottenham are experiencing that now, as Arsenal did last year, where a host of changes two weeks into the season has a destabilising effect.
So it would seem sensible to bring in a new ruling which means that the window ends, rather than two weeks into the season, two weeks before. The losers are inevitably the smaller clubs playing brinskmanship to get as good a fee as they can for their players. Fulham, having experienced such a good start to the campaign, have had their two best players taken from them. One, Moussa Dembele, may not have left had he not shown such impressive form in Fulham's opening two games.
The drama that the deadline day brings is great television, for that there is no doubt. Fans scurry around on twitter, trying to find out the very latest whilst Jim White's head gets closer to exploding in a frenzy of excitement. But none of that would be diminished by the deadline being two weeks' earlier, rather than later. It would be equally as intriguing for neutrals and fans alike.
It could even make the deadline better, as teams are naturally loathe to let their players leave at the last minute of the deadline when the season is in full flow. Holding the deadline earlier may make sides more receptive to doing deals, which would have a knock on effect and make the pre-season weeks more interesting for everyone. As it is, the summer is when fans are interested mainly in transfer gossip as the football played is at a minimum. It would also discourage teams who have made poor starts to the season from splashing out in a surge of worry and fear that their squad is not competitive enough. Whatever happens, the current situation is a mildly farcical one, which betrays the sport and compromises its integrity. The first three games of the season become something of a write off, and distort fair competition.
Some have even suggested making transfer deadline day a bank holiday. Now that would be interesting.