Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Written By Brad Smith
For those of you who are not familiar, clubs can sign players from the end of the regular season up until August 31st, and from January 1st until the 31st. Despite this, it seems most teams go into hibernation up until 2 days before, and cue a furore of activity, and chairmen on 4 different phones at once trying to sell a squad player for 4 times his realistic value.
Prior to the 2002-2003 football season, a great rule was in place, whereby, if a club needed a certain player, due to injury, or someone was simply playing terrible, they could send their scouts to scour the world for a replacement, and then promptly sign him up.
Im sure this makes sense to each and every one of us, however, the big-wigs at FIFA decided that transfer windows would be made compulsory as of that season. Since then, we have had chairmen holding onto their prize assets for any amount of money, strangely re-enacting childhood monopoly scenes of family members offering me better birthday presents and all of their money for that orange property i've been holding onto for half the game.
Panic buying is also common practice in this window. Knowing you only have 30 days to improve your squad, looking at possibilities and trying to predict whether the team might get struck by the Black Death and wondering if you have enough cover at Left Back should that happen.
Sven-Goran Eriksson commented that "It was easier when it was open all the time and perhaps fairer for the players. I am sure much of the business being done on the last day is a little bit desperate and that is not right"
Recently, you have Daniel Levy at Tottenham holding onto a seemingly unhappy Luka Modric, rejected bids rumoured to be touching £50m, at a risk of losing him for free in a years time. We also had the Carlos Tevez story where he had been sitting at home with his feet up, having his paltry £200,000 a week chalked off while he waited for the January window to open, and clubs to bid for him, only to turn around and come back, probably realising he had it a tiny bit better than he thought. It does make you wonder how long it is before a Hollywood blockbuster is made regarding the ridiculous activity that goes on.
Only £65m was spent during this window, £35m of that which was spent on the last day. Every Premier League club did some sort of business, whether it be buying, selling, or releasing players. Compare that to the staggering £225m which was spent last January, £85m of that on two of the most unprolific strikers to have graced the league.
Transfer fees like those of Torres, Carroll, etc, do make you think whether teams would've splashed that out had they been able to take a bit more time over negotiations, or perhaps whether they had been signed at all.
On top of this, you have players rotting in the reserves that could be doing jobs at other clubs, enjoying their football, but simply have to wait 2 or 3 months until they are allowed to be transferred, but due to their lack of action, they may not even have a chance to leave at all.
The main benefiters of this window are undoubtedly the media, who get to send men to every corner of the country, peering into cars looking for a sign of any player who may be arriving at said ground, and of course the numerous hilarious rumours that fly around, with Carlos Tevez supposedly being seen at Sunderland at 4pm, and Norwich by 5 past 4. Add that to a big ticking clock in the corner of your screen, a few die hard fans dancing around a presenter, and a couple of "swoosh" noises every hour, and I guess you have an entertaining day of TV.
It is hard to find many other positives with the current transfer system, other than teams do have a chance to keep their star players away from prying teams for a longer period of time, but even then, do they have full focus on their team, or elsewhere?
The phrase, if it isnt broken, don't fix it should have been used by FIFA at the time, but from a personal view, I think reverting to the old system would only benefit clubs, players and fans, unless you just enjoy the fun of the deadline day antics.