Why the Premier League transfer window should still be open
Image: Szilard Szabo
We are now two weeks and three matchdays into the Premier League season. The transfer window closed before it all began. Teams have no excuses. They know the cards they’ve been dealt. There will be no late deals that may disrupt the squad although certain clubs still have more than a week to offload some of their deadwood. I’m looking at you, Ed Woodward. Yet, despite the clarity provided by putting an early lid on the in-box, I find myself wishing the window were still open.
I admit my yearning is entirely selfish. While there are pros and cons to English football keeping a different schedule than UEFA [it’s good practice for Brexit, for instance], there isn’t any distinct disadvantage. Not so long as teams refrain from selling players for whom they don’t have replacements waiting in the wings. Yes, I’m still looking at you, Ed Woodward.
The problem is I’m bored. There just isn’t much to do on weekdays during the early doors. In September, the Champions and Europa Leagues will kick in, filling that space. Until then, the Premier League midweek is too much like the NFL and NCAA football. It’s just injury updates, manufactured controversy and promotional tweets designed to keep you excited but which only ring hollow without balls being kicked in anger.
There is no difference between the Oakland/Los Angeles/Oakland again/soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown refusing to wear the newly mandated NFL helmets and the Twitterverse attempting to make some hash from Paul Pogba’s missed penalty against Wolves. They’re both manufactured dramas intended to generate likes, retweets and clicks until something real happens on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night.
Perhaps the Premier League thinks that fans jonesing for more action should just suck it up. It’s only three weeks in which action is limited to the weekends. But it isn’t. A fortnight of inactivity follows when the season’s first international break forces us to go full Ramadan again.
Maybe there are fans who can ration their football intake, who need time to reach mid-season form. I’m not one. I’m more like the poor sod who’s been marooned on a barren atoll for nearly three months with only coconuts and the odd fish to keep him alive and a slightly deflated Premier League football he calls Leo for company. As soon as I’m rescued, I want to gorge myself at the nearest Cosmo until I’m bursting at the seams. Who wants to nibble knowing that another stretch of belt-tightening is just around the corner?
If the Premier League transfer window stayed open as late as the rest of Europe there wouldn’t be any problem. There would be rumours aplenty about United’s search for a world-class penalty-taker, Watford’s desperate need for scoring help or, until this past Friday, Aston Villa’s decision to keep signing players until they win a match.
Of course, I’d be wondering what the hell they’re on about but that is infinitely better than wishing something, anything would happen. I so don’t want to be the old man staring into his pint every night at the local pub.