Monday, 15 August 2011

Premier League off to false start

One of the many vagaries of the transfer window (of which I am totally against) is the pattern of behaviour that leads to a mad-dash on deadline day.

The 24-hours sports news channels love it, and to an extent so do the fans, but for the clubs it sabotages the opening weeks of the season.

Because after surveying the 18 clubs that took part in the opening round of games it is clear we can't judge how they will fare during the season as they have not yet completed their shopping, making Premier League betting  an unpredictable exercise.

Chairman and managers, desperate to get the best deals for their clubs, will haggle right up until the deadline. One deal could then have a domino effect, cascading through the divisions as managers urgently seek replacements with their new found wealth. But these deals could have been completed several weeks earlier, but the looming transfer window constricts deals into a few frantic weeks, days or even hours.

Therefore the teams we saw on the pitch over the weekend are not perhaps reflective of the ones we will see on September 1st. This phoney start can prove costly, scaring managers into hasty purchases, cost sides precious early points or – in Arsenal's case, with a Champions League qualifier looming and no creative central midfield to speak of – the fruits of last season's hard labour.

The transfer window has given us some memorable moments and intense excitement different to live football. But that doesn't necessarily mean it is a good thing. I would much rather the window be abolished, or pushed back to before the start of the season. Short-term excitement may be lost (Jim White may be out of a job for starters) but in the long-term it can only be good for the game.

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