Arsene Wenger has long called for it, and names ranging from Sam Allardyce to Michel Platini have too. The January transfer window should be abolished they say, and weighing up the reasons behind such a thing, it’s hard to disagree.
This past window saw primarily two teams in Chelsea and Manchester City, who also happen to be the most financially indulged, splash big money on players whose exits left a sour taste in the mouth. Fiorentina, a modest outfit from Serie A who won’t partake in any title race, saw their best player in Juan Cuadrado taken away from them. They do remain in the Europa League however; a competition that is a pretty big deal to them, and when they face Tottenham they player that was chief in helping them get there, won’t be present.
Chelsea meanwhile, add another name to their growing squad as they aim to be the transfer window winners. That’s not even including those players farmed out on loan to all corners of the globe – though the majority are pitching up in Arnhem – seemingly a new addition to the Kensington Borough…in Holland. Cuadrado was apparently a desperately needed signing by Jose Mourinho, but even if it doesn’t work out, what is €30m to Chelsea? This is the club that after all, wrote off signings to the tune of €100m in Fernando Torres and Andrei Shevchenko. Would it be so unthinkable for Mourinho to call upon one of his many young players at Chelsea? A talented bunch they are too, after a 2014 FA Youth Cup win.
City meanwhile, who absolutely DID need striking cover to their credit, landed Wilfried Bony from Swansea City. The Welsh side, who have encountered a successful season under Garry Monk, a manager still earning his stripes, will have to make do without their best player and one of the most prolific scorers in the land. As Allardyce said, it adds needless pressure to managers in an ever heated environment. The system is brutally flawed, and takes no prisoners in terms of those involved within the game.
Swans fans who bought season tickets, and saw Bony dismantle City in November, were left wondering who would replace their main man. However, all they could do was count the money, because there was little time for a club like Swansea to negotiate such a deal. It is wrong that a player can play for two clubs in any competition, scoring a goal for one team one week and then scoring against them a few weeks later. Swansea’s season now becomes null in a sense, and a case of what could’ve been. A shock European place when relegation was suggested at the start of the season? Dream on.
The window indulges the big clubs, and depletes the small. It has created an unhealthy divide and one which with each passing year, is increasing. How can a story like Swansea’s exist in the current climate? It simply cannot. The fact that clubs must hope and pray no one targets their best players in the period, makes for a toxic atmosphere in football. Your planning at the start of the season, and subsequent aspirations, are thrown out of the window. It reduces the sense of competition, and the general feeling of football. It’s less relatable for the fan, less enjoyable.
Silk purses and sow’s ears
That anyone could take joy from Deadline Day, a term now coined in some sort of Americanised dramatic fashion, with all the lights, music and pantomime of a stage production, leaves a sour taste. Nothing really happens, yet you are expected to believe anything can. As the clock strikes midnight to close the window, you are fed the notion it has been an exciting period of time. Figures that have no relation to the game, tell you this is football.
It isn’t, and until it’s abolished completely, those who have no relationship with the game will continue to profit from it.