It’s time for a change: close the transfer window before the season starts
The close of the summer transfer window is essentially the end of summer. Once all the signings are done, there's nothing left but the actual playing of matches. The movement is done, the rumors go away (OK, not really) and teams can turn their attention away from changing their squads to focus on actually picking up points.
The problem? The season started weeks ago.
The transfer window staying open through the end of August makes it so the month is part start of the season and part offseason. The calendar makes no sense and it's time for it to change.
This is hardly an original suggestion. People have been advocating for the transfer window to close before the start of the new season before, from fans all the way up to managers. But there's been no movement.
The result is a tame first few weeks of the season that can, at times, feel like the preseason. Sure, Arsenal are struggling, but just wait until they make their signings. Chelsea may have some problems in defense, but they'll buy a couple players to sort that out. Bayer Leverkusen look great, but we have to see if they can hold onto their players. Those are all things we say several matches into the season because the open transfer window makes it impossible to know what is going to happen and renders the first month more of a work in progress than the true start of the campaign.
It's unnecessary too. This isn't the January transfer window, where cutting it by three weeks would cut the time for teams to make signings by 75 percent. If the summer transfer window closed before the start of the season, teams would still have more than two months to sign players. That's plenty of time for clubs to do the wheeling and dealing they want.
The later window serves two purposes: to allow teams in the Champions League playoff round to see whether they're getting the group stage money to spend and giving teams the chance to buy replacements for players injured early in the season. But that helps 10 teams and those who don't adequately prepare for a long season anyway. Those are hardly reasons to sway a decision.
When the season starts, teams should be at full-strength. They should have their squads and be ready to go through January. The focus shouldn't be on who they need to buy or who they are being linked to.
Move the transfer window. Take away the gray period. Make teams finish up their buys before the season and let the first match of the season be the true turn of focus to the actual matches.
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