The Transfer Trolley Dash

Posted: August 17, 2015 in Football
Tags: , , , ,

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Why is it called a “transfer window?”

It does seem a very strange name for a period of time during which football players may be transferred from one club to another.

A window may be open, closed or broken. The transfer window appears to go through all three states at some time or another.

Usually it is closed. This means that professional football players who are contracted to play for a particular club cannot leave that club for another during this period.

On two occasions per year it is open. This means that professional football players who are contracted to play for a particular club can leave that club for another during this period.

At other times it is broken. It can be broken while open and it can be broken while closed. Some may argue that it doesn’t really matter if a broken window is open or closed and they have a point.

It could also be argued that a window won’t keep a desperate football player either in or out, regardless of whether or not it is broken.

The main problem with the transfer windows is that they do cause arguments, particularly the Summer one, but also the Winter one to a lesser extent.

The Summer transfer window opens on July 1st and closes on August 31st and it is the latter date which causes the arguments. Players are still being transferred from one club to another nearly a fortnight after the season has begun.

The majority of managers will tell you that they want their transfer dealings done early so that players can join up with their new club and get to know the players, the routine, etc., etc. Also if there are pre-season tours it can be helpful to have any new players with you.

The facts are somewhat different, whatever the managers may say. Jose Mourinho, for example, says he does not want his mind on transfers once the season has started. A very fair point so why, as I write this, is Chelsea looking to buy John Stones from Everton? Maybe Mourinho gave a little bit of thought to the transfer window even though Chelsea have already played two games.

Louis van Gaal was another who wanted early business and, to an extent, got what he wanted. Except that United still haven’t recruited for two very important positions so don’t be surprised if they buy somebody in the next fortnight.

For Manchester City read the same as above although Manuel Pellegrini never actually mentioned any time limit on his acquisitions.

The other major clubs seem to have concluded the majority of their business so now it will be interesting to see how much is spent during the last two weeks of the window.

Fortunately for these managerial luminaries, if they get it wrong, or if a player gets injured or falls out with the manager there is another window of opportunity in January.

Generally speaking, transfers in January are usually “emergency” signings, stop gap players until the end of the season or, occasionally, somebody the club couldn’t get in the Summer window. It is still difficult though to ask a player to acclimatise to a new club and players halfway through the season, begging the age-old question, why would you want to open a window in England, in January?

So, coming back to my original question. I haven’t the slightest idea why they decided to call it a “transfer window” as a window is quite fragile, whereas the transfer window stays shut quite solidly.

Maybe it would be better to call it “the transfer trolley dash”, as rival managers try to force their counterparts off the road and into the ditch, while running around madly trying to buy the best players for their team, knowing they only have a short period of time in which to do so. It certainly bears more resemblance to a trolley dash than to a quaintly civilised sounding window opening.

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