Five questions on the January transfer window
My brother works at Heathrow . . .
Why different end times?
In England today, the transfer window finishes at 11.00pm. In Scotland it ends at midnight. Are we to assume that in the depths of the Highlands of Scotland people may struggle to complete administration in the cold climate? Or that Scottish clubs simply can’t be trusted to tie things up on time? Or is it simply that players and club officials in England are a delicate bunch, and therefore need to be tucked up with a Horlicks by half eleven?
Why do clubs leave things so late?
Everything about it is illogical. The later you leave your approach, the more obvious your desperation is, and therefore the more you are able to be held to ransom. The less likely you are to be able to agree details and complete the necessary rigmarole before the window shuts, and the less playing time you get out of the new signing.
It makes for an exciting last day, but what’s wrong with 1st – 30th January?
How much are players worth?
And I am talking about the players used as makeweights in transfer deals. If Chelsea pay £40million and Anelka, who decides that Anelka is worth £1million or £100million? It may seem unimportant or pedantic, but possibly becomes more crucial with UEFA’s incoming financial regulations. Say Manchester City fall foul, could they not say “Well we included youngster X in one of our deals and he was worth £10million to us, so that counts?
And don’t get me started on undisclosed transfer fees!
Why can’t owners see the problems?
Why is it that as soon as a transfer window comes around, fans can see the issues that need rectifying over the owners and chairmen of the club. Nottingham Forest have needed a left-back for two years, and nothing .(Updated: All is forgiven. We have just signed a left back who is under 30, played 16 PL games this season, has played for England against Argentina and moved for £4million five months ago).
West Ham are dreadful all over the pitch. And yet in this window they have signed Demba Ba and Robbie Keane. This adds to Carlton Cole, Benni McCarthy, Freddie Sears, Frank Nouble, Zavon Hines, Freddie Piquionne and Victor Obinna. Nine strikers plus Scotty Parker stick?
Should the window even exist?
It causes panicked transfer activity and over-excessive short-termism. It inflates transfer fees beyond their true value due to the time constraints, and it invites overspending in the ambition of chasing the dream or aiming for survival.
It does not create any stability within the Football League, and provides owners of rich football clubs to use the window as an excuse for sacking managers.
The above opinions are not simply my own, but also those of LMA Chief Executive Richard Bevan.