This summer, the transfer window will close for English Football League clubs on the 9th of August, the day before the first game of the 2018/19 Premier League season. Some will see this as great news, as players will not be linked with other Premier League clubs once the season has started, and clubs can focus solely on preparing for matches rather than trying to secure new players. However, the transfer deadline for Italian clubs is the 17th of August, whilst for Spanish, German and French clubs it is the 31st of August. This means that while Premier League teams will not be able to sign any players after the beginning of the season, clubs from Europe’s other top leagues will, and could potentially sign players from the Prem and leave their teams unable to bring in replacements until January.
Last season, fans, pundits and managers alike all complained about the transfer deadline being after the season had begun. The window being open was particularly damaging for smaller teams as their star players were linked with moves to bigger PL clubs. For example, Swansea’s best player Gylfi Sigurdsson moved to Everton a few days after the first game of the season, which meant that the Welsh club had to frantically search for a replacement and plan for upcoming games without the Icelandic midfielder. The window could also be damaging even if potential transfers never materialised, as Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez was strongly linked with Arsenal and Roma in the early weeks of the season which prevented him from staying focused on performing for his current club, and led to him often starting on the bench. This issue will mostly be remedied by the window closing before the season starts, as smaller clubs will no longer have to worry about losing their players to bigger clubs in the same league.
However, foreign clubs could still swoop for players from the Premier League, and the league’s big clubs are most at risk. Europe’s elite often target the Premier League’s top players, and one of the most infamous transfer sagas of recent years was David De Gea’s proposed move to Real Madrid. On deadline day of August 2015, the Spaniard came agonisingly close to joining Los Blancos, in a deal that would have brought Keylor Navas to Manchester United, but the paperwork for the deal was not completed in time. Should a similar transfer materialise this summer on the Spanish deadline day, then the British club would be unable to sign a replacement, and even if a player was included as part of the deal, like Navas was, the British club would not be able to register him until January.
Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard and Willian continue to be linked with moves away, whilst Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba’s Manchester United futures are also uncertain. Moreover, the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen all impressed at the World Cup and furthered their reputation, whilst Mohamed Salah’s is still sky-high off the back of his incredible form last season. Real Madrid and PSG are yet to make any high profile signings, which means that any of these players could be targeted after the English transfer deadline. Likewise, Barcelona are yet to replace Andres Iniesta and Paulinho in the centre of the park, whilst Bayern haven’t yet signed long term replacements for wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.
Therefore, whilst the new transfer deadline undoubtedly has its benefits, for smaller teams especially, it may well significantly damage some of the league’s top clubs if they fail to convince their players to stay put.