For those who like to start each day with a quick check of the BBC’s Gossip column, the transfer window can’t remain open long enough. But as Eric Dier mentioned during an England press conference last week, it is “unfair on all the managers and players” that it isn’t closed before the season actually starts. He did, however, go on to point out its greatest value to the football following public by saying, “…it’s good entertainment for everyone.”
And that’s precisely the problem. Since its introduction in 2002 we the public have got used to the excitement of deadline day. The idea of that mythological window (a door is clearly too conventional) closing at the same pace as Harry Redknapp’s car equivalent as he provides blue smartie gobbling, yellow-tie wearing Jim White with a meaningless sound bite to over analyse for the next hour in the Sky Sports News studio. Meanwhile, us mugs are sat at home or work with our Twitter feeds at the ready and the entire evening of TV booked out much to the delight of our perplexed better halves.
It’s moments like Deadline Day where we lose a great deal of credit when trying to convince our football dodging partners that it is a beautiful game and not just a bunch of overpaid men kicking a ball around. The figures from this summer’s window certainly don’t help matters.
But like Dier and no doubt many others, I’m not suggesting we remove the Deadline Day. After all, what would qualified journalists do on that day instead of standing on a solitary spot outside a Premier League club’s training ground or stadium for 15 hours waiting for the latest dildo carrying muppet to appear in their shot? When else would those yellow-ties be acceptable in the workplace? And what would happen to the helicopter industry?
Removing this over exaggerated event, which the media have fully exploited simply won’t happen. Agents, sorry overcharging-money-driven Intermediaries, would be lost from September to January and February to June if they didn’t have that magical window. They need it to tell them when to work and when to spend all the riches they’ve conjured up off the back of someone else’s talents.
However, surely it’s logical to suggest that the deadline is brought forwards by a few weeks so the season can start after every club has assembled its squad. That is at least until the window reopens in January due to the stale air of underperforming players or disgruntled supporters. Like intercourse without the blue pill, the excitement and thrill will still take place, just prematurely. Tony Pulis et al can still do their business late in the day while Daniel Levy can continue to frustrate his manager and fans with a late acquisition or departure.
For those who care, I’ve put together a table that shows the net-spend of Premier League clubs this summer and last season, although Jake Cohen’s excellent article proves it’s not the be all or end all.
NOTE: Transfer information gathered from www.transfermarkt.com
|POS||TEAM||IN||OUT||NET SPEND (2016)||NET SPEND (2015/16)|
|12||Middlesbrough||£21.04m *||£4.96m *||£16.08m||£20.99m|
*Adama Traore’s transfer to Middlesbrough and Albert Adomah’s transfer from Middlesbrough remain undisclosed.
This next table, though, should be of more interest with the Premier League transfers that took place after the season had started (13th August) and the games those new signings missed as a result. It’s worth noting only two of the league’s 20 clubs didn’t add to their squads once the season had started (Man Utd and Liverpool).
|30/8/16||Shkodran Mustafi||Valencia||Arsenal||LIV (H) LEI (A)|
|30/8/16||Lucas Perez||D. La Coruna||Arsenal||LIV (H) LEI (A)|
|15/8/16||Marc Wilson||Stoke||Bournemouth||MNU (H)|
|31/8/16||Jack Wilshere||Arsenal||Bournemouth||MNU (H) WHU (A) CRY (A)|
|16/8/16||Steven Defour||Anderlecht||Burnley||SWA (H)|
|30/8/16||Patrick Bamford||Chelsea||Burnley||SWA (H)|
|31/8/16||Jeff Hendrick||Derby||Burnley||SWA (H) CHE (A)|
|20/8/16||Christian Benteke||Liverpool||Crystal Palace||WBA (H) TOT (A)|
|30/8/16||Loic Remy||Chelsea||Crystal Palace||WBA (H) TOT (A) BOU (H)|
|15/8/16||Yannick Bolasie||Crystal Palace||Everton||TOT (H)|
|31/8/16||Enner Valencia||West Ham||Everton||TOT (H)|
|30/8/16||Will Keane||Man Utd||Hull||MNU (H)|
|30/8/16||Ryan Mason||Tottenham||Hull||MNU (H)|
|30/8/16||David Marshall||Cardiff||Hull||MNU (H)|
|31/8/16||Markus Henriksen||AZ Alkmaar||Hull||MNU (H)|
|31/8/16||Dieumerci Mbokani||Dynamo Kiev||Hull||MNU (H)|
|31/8/16||Islam Slimani||Sporting||Leicester||HUL (A) ARS (H)|
|30/8/16||Calum Chambers||Arsenal||Middlesbrough||STK (H) WBA (A)|
|31/8/16||Adama Traore||Aston Villa||Middlesbrough||STK (H) WBA (A)|
|29/8/16||Sofiane Boufal||Lille||Southampton||WAT (H) MNU (A) SUN (H)|
|31/8/16||Wilfried Bony||Man City||Stoke||MID (A) MNC (H) EVE (A)|
|31/8/16||Bruno Martins Indi||Porto||Stoke||MID (A) MNC (H) EVE (A)|
|19/8/16||Steven Pienaar||Unattached||Sunderland||MNC (A)|
|25/8/16||Javier Manquillo||At. Madrid||Sunderland||MNC (A) MID (H)|
|31/8/16||Didier Ndong||Lorient||Sunderland||MNC (A) MID (H) SOU (A)|
|31/8/16||Jason Denayer||Man City||Sunderland||MID (H) SOU (A)|
|30/8/16||Alfie Mawson||Barnsley||Swansea||HUL (H) LEI (A)|
|31/8/16||Moussa Sissoko||Newcastle||Tottenham||EVE (A) LIV (H)|
|31/8/16||G-K Nkoudou||Marseille||Tottenham||EVE (A) LIV (H)|
|19/8/16||Younes Kaboul||Sunderland||Watford||SOU (A) CHE (H)|
|19/8/16||Roberto Pereyra||Juventus||Watford||SOU (A) CHE (H)|
|24/8/16||Daryl Janmaat||Newcastle||Watford||SOU (A) CHE (H)|
|29/8/16||Stefano Okaka||Anderlecht||Watford||SOU (A) CHE (H) ARS (H)|
|30/8/16||Kenedy||Chelsea||Watford||SOU (A) ARS (H)|
|30/8/16||Adrian Mariappa||Unattached||Watford||SOU (A) CHE (H) ARS (H)|
|29/8/16||Nacer Chadli||Tottenham||West Brom||EVE (H) MID (H)|
|31/8/16||Hal-Robson Kanu||Unattached||West Brom||EVE (H) MID (H)|
|31/8/16||Allan Nyom||Unattached||West Brom||EVE (H) MID (H)|
|16/8/16||Jonathan Calleri||D.Maldonado||West Ham||CHE (A)|
|31/8/16||Alavaro Arbeloa||Unattached||West Ham||CHE (A) MNC (A)|
All of the above transfers are players who missed games that their new clubs failed to win. Those in bold and italic are the players who are most likely to have had a positive impact on the original result.
Next are the transfers to clubs that have won all of their games so far:
|25/8/16||Claudio Bravo||Barcelona||Man City||SUN (H) STK (A) WHU (H)|
|31/8/16||David Luiz||PSG||Chelsea||WHU (H) WAT (A) BUR (H)|
|31/8/16||Marcos Alonso||Fiorentina||Chelsea||WHU (H) WAT (A) BUR (H)|
And finally, the players below have left the Premier League but featured at some point this season beforehand:
|31/8/16||Philipp Wollscheid||Stoke||Wolfsburg||Featured at some point this season prior to leaving.|
|31/8/16||Albert Adomah||Middlesbrough||Aston Villa|
|31/8/16||Samir Nasri||Man City||Sevilla|
Wollscheid played the entirety of the first match away to Middlesbrough, which they drew. The German also started and finished the home loss to Man City. Both results could have been different had Martins Indi been there instead.
Adomah also played the full 90 minutes of the 1-1 draw against Stoke. He was a 60th minute substitute during the narrow 2-1 win at Sunderland as well. His replacement appears to be Traore with both players swapping clubs on deadline day.
Valencia had started all three games for the Hammers, being replaced around the hour mark in both the win at home to Bournemouth and loss at Man City. That defeat also saw Nasri feature for the last 15 minutes, during which, Raheem Sterling sealed the home side’s victory with a goal in injury-time.
Here’s a quick look at some teams who may have benefitted from belated arrivals:
Liverpool took on both Arsenal and Tottenham away from home where they’ve claimed all four of their points so far. Whilst the Reds were the better side in both fixtures, the additions to Arsenal (Mustafi and Perez) and Tottenham (Sissoko and Nkoudou) would likely have strengthened their opponents and possibly changed the outcome of the matches.
Reigning champions Leicester might have struggled to claim a point at home to Arsenal following their late arrivals. But their club record signing of Slimani might have swayed the results against both Arsenal and Hull in favour of the Foxes.
All three of Man Utd’s opponents have strengthened since the season started. The opening weekend saw Bournemouth have a lot of the ball but lack the necessary creativity to break down Jose Mourinho’s side, something Wilshere may have been able to provide. Southampton’s club-record signing of Boufal and Hull’s acquisitions of Mason and Marshall could also have affected the final results.
Watford could have been a more difficult challenge for Southampton and Chelsea had Pereya and Janmaat arrived sooner. The Hornets solitary point from those two games could have been greater, particularly when you consider they were leading Chelsea as the game entered its final ten minutes.
Tottenham may not still be unbeaten had they faced an Everton side that contained Bolasie and his former club Crystal Palace with a strike partnership of Benteke and Remy.
Sunderland may have been defensively stronger with Denayer in their side for the defeat at Middlesbrough and draw at St. Mary’s, which saw a late equaliser by Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez.
West Brom may have provided a greater attacking threat during their narrow loss at home to Everton or stalemate against Middlesbrough thanks to the signings of Chadli and Robson-Kanu.
So as you can see, the above examples suggest games took place in a way that wasn’t as fair as it could easily have been. By no means am I guaranteeing that every result during the first three rounds of matches this season would have been different because of these transfers, but the fact the conversation can even take place should be enough for a rethink. Playing an Arsenal team with Mustafi instead of Chambers, a Crystal Palace side with Benteke instead of Conor Wickham or even Stoke City with Bony instead of Mame Biram Diouf should at least on paper be more difficult. Simply bringing the deadline forwards to the 10th August instead of the 31st saves this entire conversation and subsequently my article as well as your time reading it. Just don’t blame me for this mess.