This could be the most difficult transfer window yet for Premier League clubs.

By Tony Attwood

Liverpool are not just leading the way in this transfer window, in terms of serious business they are completely out on their own.

Of course they have the advantage of what might be called managerial non-movement, and so their arrangements were undoubtedly known and planned well in advance.  But whether doing the transfer business early is a benefit or not is another matter.  I’m not too sure there is much evidence either way from the past, but this year could well be different.  I suspect they have done exactly the right thing.

As I have noted before, the transfer window opened on May 17, that is 18 days ago, and despite a mountain of rumours most clubs have done nothing much.  What we have seen is

Club In Cost Out Income Loaned out
Arsenal Santi Cazorla Takuma Asano
Liverpool Naby Keïta £52.8m Emre Can Nil
Fabinho £40m Yan Dhanda Unknown
Man City Yaya Toure Released
Pablo Maffeo Unknown
Man United Joe Riley Unknown
Tottenham H Keanan Bennetts £2m


So Liverpool are nearly £100m down and Tottenham £2m up.   The unknowns are probably very small amounts.  Figures are from the Guardian’s website.  Sod’s law is that the moment I post this 26 other transfers will go through so I had better say it is up to date up to around 1230 BST on 4 June.

However there is another matter in all this, which is the timing.

The last day for bringing in new players for Premier League clubs is August 9 – so they have just over two months left, although I presume the notional rule at the World Cup will again be “no touting in the tournament”.  Obviously many players are not in the World Cup, and of course players who are in a country kicked out early on will once again be available.

And those who don’t have much on offer will be suggesting that they have and that they are taking the summer at the world cup to think about it.

Another oddity this year is that Premier League Clubs will be able to sell players until August 31.

But pulling the dates together – and remember they are just the dates for Premier League clubs – certain problems arise…

  • 17 May: Window opened
  • 28 June: Group stages of World Cup finish
  • 6/7 July: World Cup quarter finals
  • 10/11 July: World Cup semi-finals
  • 14 July: World Cup final
  • 28 July: Players from countries that did not make it past the group stages start training again.
  • 6/7 August: World cup quarter finalists start training again.
  • 9 August: Final buying date for Premier League clubs
  • 10 August: World Cup semi-finalists start training again
  • 11 August: Premier League first match
  • 14 August: World Cup finalists start training again.
  • 31 August: Final selling date for all clubs.

What is clear is that even players who played in the world cup but for a country knocked out at the first opportunity they will not be fit and ready after their month’s break to play in the first match on 11 August – unless a club really is ready to rush a player through to fitness in just two weeks.  It can be done, but it certainly risks injury or mistakes from a lack of 100% fitness playing against players who are on their month’s holiday now and will have had a fulsome break.

Players who were in the 3rd/4th play off or the final itself will not be back from holiday and ready to start training until the week after the Premier League begins.  Assuming that they need three weeks to get up to speed that means that they will miss three or perhaps four Premier League matches at the start of the season.   Anyone who gets injured of course could miss a lot more.

And this final point brings home the danger of this all.  Players seriously injured at any point from the quarter finals onwards will be virtually impossible to replace, given that the window closes two days after the quarter finals.  The clubs are trusting much of their squad to the biggest bunch of crooked second hand car dealers in the world: international managers.

Did anyone bringing the transfer deadline forward remember that international managers injure more players per match than club managers, because of their tendency to allow players to continue using injured players even when in so doing they are making the injury worse?  After all, why should they care?   The matches for the Euros don’t start until later in the year.

It’s the old adage.  International managers are like car thieves who wreck your vehicle, and then have the nerve to return it and tell you to have it repair for when they want to go racing again.



4 Replies to “This could be the most difficult transfer window yet for Premier League clubs.”

  1. Tony …. I had to re-read that a couple of times … you got confused I think …. there is a month between the Quarters and the close of the window according to your timeline, not two days ….

  2. This is typical of the FA muddlers.

    Knowing that international players will be returning to clubs later than usual, the FA brings the closing window date forward.

    So if a player gets injured after the closing date, it is to late for the his club to buy a replacement player.

  3. @ colario – 05/06/2018 at 7:03 am – Don’t worry too much , as in all probability , Danny , Ospina and Mo El will be back early.

    Ozil may be delayed though , and probably Iwobi too.

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