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Slackers and enhancers: Analysing the summer transfer window

Thursday 9 August 2018

WHICH clubs were slackers and which were speculators? As the transfer window slams shut, leaving some fans happy with their clubs business and others disappointed, experts at the University of Salford Business school analyse the window.

Professors Simon Chadwick and Chris Brady have split the clubs into six different groups depending on their business during the summer window, enhancers, fine-tuners, speculators, slackers, non-commiters and consolidators.

Enhancers have added talent which adds quality to their squads: Liverpool, Everton, West Ham, Wolverhampton

Fine-tuners have made few signings but bought talent to add to an already good squad: Manchester City, Burnley

Speculators have bought unproven talent from lower leagues or abroad: Brighton, Cardiff, Fulham, Huddersfield, 

Slackers have acquired talent seemingly without a strategy: Chelsea, Manchester United, Crystal Palace, Leicester, Southampton

Non-commiters have spent little if anything across the window: Newcastle, Tottenham

Consolidators have freely acquired talent in an effort to correct deficiencies: Arsenal, Bournemouth, Watford

Professor Brady said: “We don’t believe that the positioning of the transfer window is the issue. These patterns happen every year, people who work at the last minute and others that get things done earlier.

“Liverpool have done very well because they went early and had a clear plan for specific positions. West Ham will be wait and see as will Wolves and Everton to see how all their new players perform. On the other side Man Utd haven’t done enough to match Liverpool or Manchester City, I don’t think, and Spurs will regret not signing a striker if Harry Kane gets injured.”

Professor Chadwick comments on the fact that Premier League club will not be able to buy players now, three weeks before the window closes in the rest of Europe. He said: “One senses this window that English clubs have needed to engage in scouting, player evaluation and their subsequent acquisition ahead of time. Changes in the decision-making time horizon would appear to have been the most significant consequence of the new transfer window arrangements. This suggests that English clubs will now have to plan ahead (especially of their rivals) if they are to avoid the pitfalls of their self-imposed constraint. There is an argument that clubs have disadvantaged themselves, as their European rivals will be able to continue acquiring talent until the end of August. Hence, these clubs may be stronger than their English counterparts.


“However, there is a counter argument that English clubs have been forced to adopt a more thoughtful, strategic approach to player acquisition, which is enforcing upon them a need to adopt foresight, careful planning, and stronger talent acquisition strategies. In the coming season, it will be interesting to observe the potential ramifications of the English model and the models being used elsewhere in Europe.

“Ultimately, one wonders whether England's or Europe's model ultimately prevails; or perhaps whether England's approach will bring the transfer system to a tipping point after which a completely new approach to transfer windows might be adopted by football authorities. As we head towards the final few days of the English window, the issues may therefore be less about the volume of business that clubs can squeeze in and more about the optimal arrangements for establishing and enforcing new transfer arrangements.”

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Sam Wood

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