You’ve made the effort, you’ve changed so far as to be unrecogniseable, but after two years of trying, do you simply give up? Premier League clubs certainly feel that way this week as they have voted to put the summer transfer window back to how it was up to 2017, ending at the very end of August or on the 1st of September.
For years, fans banged the drum for the transfer window not to interrupt the start of the Premier League season. Why should a player be able to transfer, they reasoned, when they’ve played for another team already that season? It made perfect sense. A new future was born, one where clubs would start the season knowing they could make no changes to their squads until January.
So, what changed?
The Premier League may be a trendsetter in many ways as far as football goes, and it clearly has the ear of FIFA, but other European leagues didn’t follow suit. The Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue 1 and Serie A clubs could all still trade until the end of August, meaning that Premier League clubs were forced into the tricky situation that they could close all their incoming business but then lose a player abroad without being able to replace them.
In a statement, the Premier League said:
“In a Shareholders’ Meeting today, Premier League clubs voted to adopt a change to the Summer Transfer Window closing date for season 2020/21. This will move the closing date back to the traditional point at the end of August/early September. The 2020 closing date will therefore be 17:00 BST on 1 September (31 August 2020 being a UK Bank Holiday). Clubs agreed after discussing the topic at length at previous Shareholders’ Meetings.”
Sky Sports won’t be happy, either. They build all their coverage around an all-day, round-the-clock bulletin service, and Jim White’s yellow tie will be askew on its cravat stand at the news that 5:00 pm is the hard cut-off for transfers on Deadline Day itself.
This season saw some big movers on the final day of the transfer window, which took place just a day before the season kicked off. The biggest move was possibly David Luiz switching from Chelsea blue to Arsenal red and white and it provided a great deal of excitement. Had it happened three weeks later, it would have been harder to have been surprised by it. Luiz would have sat out Chelsea games, the speculation would have been refined to knowledge by the 24-hour sports news stations.
There have been some big advocators of the previous move to shunt the window forward, Jurgen Klopp chief amongst them. With Europe unable to follow England’s lead, however, something that will only be more common in a post-Brexit Britain, the writing was on the wall.
It’s back to your star player being ‘rested’ for a ‘slight knock’ for three weeks at the start of the season, then bounding onto the field the second they sign for that club you hate the most. Yeah, that one.
With the change back coming into effect immediately from the start of the 2020/21 season, we won’t have to wait too long to see how it happens, with the next transfer windows closure just over six months away.