There’s a draft coming from that bloody window!!!


Closing time: The frantic ending to the transfer window

The music has stopped, the bouncers are putting chairs on the tables and there are football managers staggering around and looking for whatever they can get their hands on.

Alright, maybe that is a bit extreme, but the last few hours of the transfer window can often have the feel of a local nightclub with a questionable reputation. Virtually everyone is available if you’ve got the right moves, but you might pick up somebody you’ll regret in the morning.

Ever since the introduction of summer and winter transfer windows, it is the closure of both rather than the opening which always makes big news.

Sky television have turned the bi-annual event into a frantic soap opera all of their own, as men and women in a TV studio shout to reporters stationed in car parks full of expectant youngsters, all of whom are waiting to hear the news that a tireless midfielder from Feyenoord has passed his medical and completed his season-long loan. Cue the cheers.

The quality of these pantomimes have been on a steady decline since 1st September 2008, the day that the city of Manchester welcomed Robinho and Dimitar Berbatov to their two Premier League football clubs amidst the kind of against-the-clock drama that Jack Bauer usually monopolises.

The fact that now, two-and-a-half years after Robinho last kicked a ball for Manchester City, his unwitting co-star Berbatov surely stands on the verge of leaving Manchester United wouldn’t even have been considered back then. Both players, at £30m plus the rest, were going to be superstars for their new clubs, regardless of what anybody thought.

Berbatov’s performances at United can be debated over until all involved are blue in the face, but it would take a really convincing argument to state that he was worth the money that United shelled out on him back then, whilst it might take a hypnotist to convince you that Liverpool were right to spend a similar amount two-and-a-half years later on Andy Carroll, another who could be on the move again this week.

Yet at the time it was all about the thrill of spending. The clubs were operating against the clock and wanted to make their move, Liverpool in particular following their windfall from the Fernando Torres sale to Chelsea.

Were they not operating against the clock the club would not have shelled out the cash that they did on Carroll. The player was a confirmed target, but the Reds were happy to wait until the summer for him to get in their taxi. The offer they got for Torres sped up a manic process.

And that is what the final few hours of the transfer window are. Manic.

Clubs blinded by the thrill of the chase and the money involved make huge moves, and they are often false ones. QPR stayed up by the narrowest of margins last season after spending big in each window, almost creating new teams as they did so and removing the character and team spirit which had got them to the Premier League in the first place.

Staging the end of the window after the first matches of the league season doesn’t exactly help matters either, and can lead to players refusing to play for their clubs in a bid to force through moves as seen in the cases of Luka Modric and Clint Dempsey.

One of those got his transfer, and the other one will eventually. Players know that if they flirt with moves for long enough they’ll get what and who they want.

Maybe ultimately that’s what everyone desires.

The player gets his move, the manager gets to experience the thrill of the chase, the fans get to watch the drama unfold. In the background, the agent counts his money.

All of them were in the dodgy nightclub in the first place, so they must have known that it would end like this.

No-one goes home early and alone on deadline day, after all.

Posted on 31 Aug 2012, in Player Selection and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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