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Should the January transfer window be scrapped?

Posted by john smith on

Honestly, I hate the January transfer window.

Every year it seems to drag on longer as Sky Sports (and other media news outlets) start their coverage earlier. I think this year they started their countdown in November. Up there with your local supermarket selling Easter Eggs in January.

In 2013, Arsene Wenger floated the idea of scrapping the January transfer window.

His theory also included closing the summer window before a ball was kicked in the Premier League.

The idea was that you get your first team squad before the season starts, and that is what you have to work with for the season.

Wenger labelled the January transfer window as "unfair", with mutiple different points coming from this.

The first was the integrity of the league - you play the same teams home and away. But does that integrity eb away slightly when you can play a team who might have gained a couple of players - or lost a couple of players.

You could have teams A and B in a title race (or relegation battle). Team A could have already faced Team C twice before the January transfer window shuts. Whilst Team B have not yet faced Team C.

If Team C dramatically improves their squad in January, Team A have an advantage. Likewise if they dramatically weaken their squad, then Team B have the advantage.

Last year Newcastle United were a good example of this.

The Newcastle game pre-January was a very different team to post-January as they recruited Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Bruno Guimarães, Dan Burn and Matt Targett.

Manchester United played them twice before the January transfer window opened, winning one and drawing the other. They clearly gained an advantage playing both games again Newcastle before they strengthened.

And it can work the other way.

Everton have just sold one of their best players in Anthony Gordon. Arsenal are due to face them for the first time this weekend. The two sides are yet to play each other this season.

An Everton side without Gordon is weaker, so it is advantage Arsenal as they still need to play them twice?

And January can derail a team.

Brighton are 6th in the league and chasing a European spot. They have been brilliant.

They have already lost key forward Leandro Trossard to Arsenal this window, and could also lose Moises Caicedo today.

Even if they keep Caicedo, he will clearly not be 100% mentally with it having been mtold to stay away from the training ground this last couple of games.

The January transfer window has clearly been unfair on Brighton. There brilliant recruitment and team building could be undone in the middle of the season.

January benefits the bigger teams who can add to their squad, poaching players from those chasers who are overperforming.

Say Chelsea signed Caicedo (now looking unlikely) and ended up finishing above Brighton in 6th. You could argue that that was purely because Chelsea were able to sign one of Brighton's best players in January. Where is the fairness in that?

These days it feels like the transfer window exists solely to geenrate revenue for media outlets.

They rely heavily on the ad revenue generated by clickbait articles. And it gives the likes of Sky a months worth of "cheap content". Allowing them to create stories and fill airtime. In turn that increases viewers which increases ad revenue.

The January transfer window has become a bit like when the car industry introduced their second number platers to give a "half year boost" to sales. The media rely on the half year increase in advertising revenue.

One year we should just try Wenger's proposal.

Shut the summer window the day before the first game of the season and scrap January. Then teams will have to recruit better, coach better, and use what they have for the season.

Thoughts?

Kom