By Dr Billy “the Dog” McGraw
It is always rather encouraging when one hears managers of other clubs moaning, whinging and whining. Of course much of the time, the moaning is all made up to cover what is happening, but even so, there seems to be a certain level of uncertainty in one or two clubs.
Take for example Mr Pochettino of Tottenham Hotspur, and Mr J Mourinho of Manchester United.
To give a flavour of current doings, The Guardian has the headline “Pochettino critical of early deadline and unsure over signings” while the Telegraph has “How seeds of Jose Mourinho petulance were sewn 12 months ago over Man Utd’s reluctance to spend extra £5m”.
Now of course, believing what the newspapers say is about the last thing Untold does, but it is worth asking how these two footballing gentlemen became so isolated from the current situation?
The window, it was agreed last September, will shut at on the Thursday before the first game of the season, with the change affecting only purchases. The rest of Europe will be able to buy players until 31 August, give or take a few days, so the PL clubs will be able to keep on selling – something that should help Arsenal as it needs to bring its first team squad aged over 21 down to 25.
The five that voted “No!” were Manchester City, Manchester United, Crystal Palace, Watford and Swansea City.
But here’s a funny thing – it wasn’t Manchester United’s manager who wanted to have the window open until the normal date, because José Mourinho, during the run up to the decision, said he would “prefer the window to close as soon as possible”.
The reason for bringing this idea in, was that in the previous window some players did a fair bit of larking about, saying they were or were not moving, and the clubs felt that they didn’t want the old scenario of a player playing for a club one week and against them the next – if that is how the fixtures panned out. When that happened the selling club would often be forced to drop the player – to their own disadvantage. There was for example, discussion about Oxlade-Chamberlain playing in Arsenal’s 4-0 defeat to Liverpool, and then trotting up north to join Liverpool, before finally getting himself injured for the whole of next season.
In the course of these discussions it was suggested the PL would lead the way and others follow. Now I might have got this wrong but I rather think the rest of Europe and the Football League have all said “to hell with that” and carried on with the old system.
During the discussions Arsène Wenger suggested the January’s window could be scrapped entirely, on the grounds that it unsettled players, but that did not come on the agenda. And actually we did rather well last January, so I am not too sure of that.
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