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Opinion: Closing The Transfer Window A Month Into The Season Is Rubbish

A Very Subjective Take On The Subject

Leicester City v Manchester United: Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final
This is a visual metaphor. It is not meant to be subtle.
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

This piece is very much from a Leicester City perspective. Not only are they the club I support and love, but they’re currently a perfect storm of examples of why the current system is bad. Many of the problems are of their own making, and I’ll go into that, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that allowing the domestic transfer window to leak into the season.

By the time the summer transfer window closes on Premier League teams, 5 matches out of 38, will have been played. That means that approximately one-eighth of the entire season is done prior to clubs finalising their rosters. This alone is reason enough to close the window when competitive play begins. Clubs have already had two months to make the moves they need to make to shore up their ranks. Having an additional month while players and managers should be concentrating on the matches is a terrible distraction.

To make matters worse, this gives opponents an opportunity to drive a wedge between players and their clubs. Players are often very publically linked with moves to other clubs in the same league and these links often include hints of enormous wage increases. Sometimes, clubs will even illicitly contact the player or their representatives to work out contract details even though no offer has been accepted (or sometimes even made).

This is an annoyance when it happens before the season starts; it’s a serious problem when it’s allowed to happen when the clubs are on the pitch. How does the manager deal with players who have made it clear they wish to go to another club? Does the gaffer continue to play them because they’re the best player at their position, or do they bench them to avoid the distraction? The manager has to win, and win now, but they also have to build a squad and a tactical system knowing that several key pieces are likely to leave and they have know idea when or if reinforcements will arrive.

If Brendan Rodgers is frustrated, surely whoever is in charge on Filbert Way is equally stymied. I say “whoever is in charge” since our new director of recruitment, Martyn Glover, won’t start until the window closes, which is a whole different sort of frustrating. It turns out that Leicester City have too many players currently under contract and need to offload some of them to clear space and generate funds before bringing anyone in.

Leicester City Unveil Statue In Honour Of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha As They Receive Freedom of the City
Therapist: Brendan, you’ve started both matches with a 5-3-1-1. What have we discussed regarding acting out by selecting strange formations?
Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

Unsurprisingly, other clubs are aware of our situation and are only too keen to take advantage of it. In spite of all of the rumours swirling around regarding players’ exits, the Foxes have thus far only received offers for Wesley Fofana and James Maddison, and neither of those offers could be classified as “serious.”

Sorry mate. You have to at least make an offer first.

The other clubs can play a cagey waiting game. If they wait until the window is about to close, then City are forced to play a full month with unsettled players. They may be able to drive the prices down, and even if they don’t and no deal is made, they’ve upset the apple cart and it will be difficult to build a cohesive squad with disappointed, resentful players. Deals or not, it will be exceeding difficult for Leicester to bring in the players they wanted if there are no sales until the very end of the window.

Mismanagement of the squad and a largely-poor summer of 2021 transfer window have put Leicester City in a precarious position. Let there be no ambiguity about the club being responsible for those problems. But, the fact that the window extends so deep into the season makes them worse, and that’s a problem that’s not unique to the Foxes. Almost any club runs the risk of having one of their top players get off to a good start and wind up linked to a move at the deadline. This is not a good system.

Leicester City v Brentford FC - Premier League
Not you, Patson. You’re the one good thing left from that summer.
Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

So, who benefits from the transfer window closing at 11:59 on 31 August? The big clubs do. They’re the ones with the resources to ensure that theirs aren’t the players being tapped-up by other clubs. “More resources” always means “more ability to apply pressure,” but the ability to do see during the season seems a needless advantage to allow the clubs with the most financial clout.

This is strange, right? This seems strange for a player who would have started for us on Saturday.

There’s another reason the window stays open so long: most European leagues do the same and it would put the Premier League at a disadvantage to close their window sooner. That’s a compelling reason. My personal preference would be to close the window for intra-league transfers (from one Premier League club to another) at the start of the season, but allow the international transfers until 31 August.

That’s my bit. There are absolutely some sour grapes in there. I do not blame other clubs for continuing to apply this sort of pressure to their competitors after the start of the season; I blame the system that allows and encourages it. In my dreams (and, unfortunately, only there), Leicester City will join that illustrious inner circle of clubs, free from mundane financial concerns. I would still believe that extending the ability to unsettle the players of another club in this fashion during the season is bad for the league and should be eliminated.

As a final post-script, as a fan, I really hate the extended transfer window. One of the things I look forward to every year is buying the current shirt. I pick a different player every year, and it’s truly annoying when you don’t know who will actually be with the club until a month into the season. So far, I’ve resisted the urge to buy early and hope my player remains, but why would they do this to supporters?


You made it this far? I’m impressed! I’ve stated my preference regarding the transfer window. What’s yours?


When Should The Transfer Window Close?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    31 August for all transfers. Keep it the way it is.
    (4 votes)
  • 34%
    The start of the season for all transfers. Get yer business done promptly!
    (10 votes)
  • 34%
    The start of the season for domestic transfers, 31 August for international transfers.
    (10 votes)
  • 17%
    Why do we even have these stupid windows? Allow transfers at any time.
    (5 votes)
29 votes total Vote Now