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Summer transfer window: English clubs at a disadvantage?

Monday 6 August 2018

AS THE summer transfer window draws to a close the University of Salford has sports business experts available for comment. Professors Chris Brady and Simon Chadwick are available for interviews in press or broadcast.

Professor Chadwick comments on the fact that Premier League club will not be able to buy players after August 9, three weeks before the window closes in the rest of Europe. He said: “Premier League clubs unilaterally decided to change the timing of the window, even though its major European rivals have not.

“One wonders whether English clubs have made the most expedient decision, especially as this season's closure comes less than four weeks after the World Cup finished.  The World Cup is typically a talent showcase and one would normally expect clubs to acquire players who perform well during the tournament to be acquired throughout August.

“However, 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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