When the transfer window was brought in to the Premier League (being the last of the major European leagues to take up this format) it was met with a very mixed reception. Although it makes for some interesting television in the final few days, particularly in the January version, I believe that the transfer window has had more negative connotations than good.
Clubs who have had a good start to the season and are somewhat over achieving according to many pundits often find themselves being robbed of their finest assets come January. Wigan are a prime example of being this year’s victims of their own success. They are a relatively small club in comparison to some of the other (often self proclaimed) big clubs in the division and a good first half of the season has led to them having to endure their top performers, in the guise of Palacios and Heskey, getting poached. Granted they received a nice transfer fee for the former and were resigned to losing the latter in the summer anyway, but those players could still prove to be the difference come May, especially if the Latics find themselves in a relegation scrap.
Then there are the clubs who have started badly but expected much more. They bustle in and throw their weight around, paying over the top transfer fees and signing some average players on big contracts and bigger wages in order to galvanise their season. Birmingham in 2005 thought it would be a good idea to pay Brentford half a million pounds for DJ Campbell, a striker who cost them fifty thousand the previous summer and scored a decent number of goals in League One. But then having been handed the task of saving Birmingham from inevitable relegation, he subsequently flopped as The Bees laughed all the way to the bank.
And then there are some completely strange deals that occur. Take for instance the recent re-signing of Pascal Chimbonda by Tottenham. The moody Frenchman is one of four right backs on the club’s books, Hutton, Corluka and Gunter being the others. Who needs four right backs? I get that two of them are versatile but it’s not like Spurs are improving the quality of their squad by signing an irrational full back who throws his dummy out of the pram on a regular basis.
For me, the transfer window sparks nothing more than chaos, panic and pandemonium across the country, especially for Premiership teams. Clubs are trying to accumulate a squad large enough to cope with any eventuality, rather than just doing the business that is needed at the time. I don’t really see what was wrong with just putting a deadline on all dealings for the end of March. Why restrict clubs to buying and selling players to certain times? If anything, it poses a legal question due to the restriction of trade. Perhaps by getting rid of the window, players wouldn’t have as much power by holding their club to ransom and then heaven forbid, contracts might actually mean something once more. It may even restore honour and integrity to the game…no ,no, that’s too farfetched. Smaller clubs however, may at least be able to stand up for themselves and keep hold of prize assets as they won’t have so many clubs throwing crazy money at them for their top players.
Of course that would involve Fifa having to step in and make a decision so in the meantime I will continue to breathe normally rather than holding it in.