After two years of experimentation with an earlier-than-usual transfer deadline day, the Premier League is giving up and moving the end of the window again. The Premier League announced today that it is reverting to the old system used prior to 2018 where the summer transfer window is open from June through the end of August. The new deadline day is now September 1, 2020 owing to the bank holiday on August 31.
The league had been under enormous pressure prior to the initial change from clubs who were upset that the window continued several weeks past the start of the Premier League season. The argument was that a late window meant that teams did not have settled squads for the first few matches of every season, especially if transfer business was left late. With an earlier close, clubs could finish their business knowing that they had a settled squad before matches kicked off.
When the Premier League opted to move back the close of the window to just prior to the start of the season in 2018, the hope was that the other major European leagues would follow suit. They didn’t, which left English teams at a severe disadvantage — clubs from Spain, France, and Italy could potentially purchase players from English clubs after the England domestic window had already closed, which weakened the Premier League clubs’ bargaining position. The other major leagues were not incentivized to give up that advantage.
Switching to an earlier close was a good idea but with a bad result. Switching back to the old system will be much better for business, but arguably worse for football. The only way forward now is to come up with a system whereby all major European leagues can agree on a mutually beneficial date. Based on England’s experiment, it doesn’t look as though that kind of change is forthcoming anytime soon.