Football: EPL transfer window might close earlier

Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson is in limbo, having been left out of the Swans' league opener against Southampton, with a mooted move to Everton yet to materialise.
Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson is in limbo, having been left out of the Swans' league opener against Southampton, with a mooted move to Everton yet to materialise.PHOTO: REUTERS

Most clubs in consensus that deadline to sign players should end before the season starts

LONDON • A radical reform to the transfer window in England is to be proposed, and probably approved, by English Premier League (EPL) clubs next month, according to the Daily Telegraph yesterday.

It is believed that majority of the 20 clubs are in agreement for the close-season transfer window to shut a week before the campaign gets under way and not, as is the current case, on Aug 31, a fortnight after it begins.

The new rule would effectively prevent incoming players being signed once the season has kicked off, but would still allow players to be sold, as is required under Fifa's transfer rules.

Southampton and Swansea City have been left in limbo this summer by continuing uncertainty over two leading players.

Virgil van Dijk and Gylfi Sigurdsson have been omitted from their respective squads due to likely moves to other Premier League clubs - namely Liverpool and Everton for the duo.

"There's frustration here and I'm sure Southampton are frustrated, too," Swansea manager Paul Clement said after his side drew 0-0 with Southampton on Saturday.

A DISTRACTION

If the window is shut before the season starts, everything is sorted out and we can get on with the football.

PAUL CLEMENT, Swansea manager, feels the speculation surrounding his star player Gylfi Sigurdsson has affected his planning.

"That's why I think if the window is shut before the season starts, everything is sorted out and we can get on with the football.

"At our managers' meeting at the Premier League last week, we spoke about it.

"The majority of clubs are in favour, but maybe all have to be for it to go through."

Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, has been consistent in his call for deadline day to be brought forward.

"It would have helped us this year (if the window had shut when the season began)," the German said.

"There is a phenomenon and then people go looking for solutions. It makes sense that when the season is starting, planning for the team is over.

"But I also understand that some things take a bit more time. The whole market has changed - the behaviour of people."

The proposals would not affect transfers from Premier League clubs to foreign sides, thus Diego Costa and Philippe Coutinho's desire for moves from English champions Chelsea to Atletico Madrid and Liverpool to Barcelona respectively could still go ahead.

However, influential agent Jonathan Barnett told the Daily Telegraph he does not think the proposals would stop clubs making deadline-day panic buys.

"It makes sense and could make clubs more focused to do their deals early, but there will still be a deadline which creates panic," he said.

Watford are believed to be one of the few to oppose the plan, but a large number are believed to be broadly in favour.

It remains unclear, however, whether the required threshold of 14 would be reached.

The proposals are likely to be debated by Premier League clubs at a meeting in London on Sept 7.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2017, with the headline 'EPL transfer window might close earlier'. Print Edition | Subscribe