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Premier League could revert transfer window closing to European date

The sense is that moving the English window to early August has given European leagues a competitive advantage in the market.

Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

After two summers, the Premier League may be returning the close of the transfer window to late August. The Times of London and the BBC are both reporting that the Premier League will vote on a proposal to revert the close of the English transfer window back to the European date in a meeting of league chairmen held on September 12.

When the decision was first made to move the transfer window up to just before the start of league competition, it was done with the best intentions — football managers and chairmen were frustrated that the transfer window was left open until 3-4 weeks into the league season, meaning a lot of clubs were trying to play competitive football with unsettled, and often incomplete, squads.

However, moving the transfer window back to just before the start of week 1 (this year on August 8) opened up a Pandora’s box of new issues. Specifically, while English clubs were no longer able to register new players after the close of their window, there were no restrictions on other European clubs whose windows were still open from purchasing English players.

That left managers like Tottenham Hotspur’s Mauricio Pochettino upset. Poch in particular is on record as saying he’s been dealing with an “unsettled” squad in late August and was wistfully relaying to reporters about the close of the European window so he can actually get to work on team-building.

“I think the Premier League cannot give this advantage to the European clubs. That is another point to talk about, to argue that we are at a disadvantage to European clubs because they have 20 days more to operate. I think that was a big mistake for the Premier League to allow that - we open the door to different clubs in Europe to try to create confusion within your squad.

”I think after two seasons operating in this way, the Premier League realizes that if Europe doesn’t change, we need to go back and start to operate in the same way they operate now.”

Ironically, Spurs were one of the clubs that initially voted in favor of moving the transfer window closure to the earlier date.

The Times also noted that Jurgen Klopp was an ardent opponent of the early window closure, saying “I don’t care when it closes, but it must close at the same time.”

The ideal situation is to keep the early transfer window closure, but somehow convince the rest of Europe that they too should move their windows up. That has proven to be difficult, as European leagues have relished in the extra leverage they have over players at English clubs the past two seasons. What the past two seasons have shown is that any change to the transfer window would need to be done in a fair and equitable way, and have buy-in from the rest of the major European leagues.

It’s not a done deal yet, but according to the BBC the vote could take place at this September meeting, or could be tabled until the next meeting in November.