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Why Is the Transfer Window Still Open?
I would label the David de Gea situation "borderline ridiculous," but that particular border was crossed miles ago.
Dropped from Manchester United's first team by his own reluctance, per the Guardian's Daniel Taylor, then apparently baffled by his omission, via the Daily Mail's Adam Crafton and Chris Wheeler, the 24-year-old's United future has become muddled post-Real Madrid connections.
Since at least September 2013, as exemplified as exemplified by El Confidencial (h/t the Daily Star's Charles Perrin), De Gea has been linked with the Spanish giants. Nearly 24 months later, the Spanish international has remained, grown and excelled in Manchester, but ties persist.
This saga will probably last until deadline day and could see, arguably, the Premier League's best No. 1 leave Old Trafford for the Santiago Bernabeu.
Honestly, I'm annoyed this deal hasn't been concluded. I'm sick of the story. It's been two years. What's the hold-up?
In a macro context, the late summer deadline gives the principals, both here and across European football, licence to procrastinate.
It has always amazed me how little transfer activity gets done at the window's open (relative to the exponential rates of rumours), then the explosion of deals completed near, at or even past the deadline—almost as if teams are asleep until the last possible moment.
There is no inherent benefit to completing transfers at the death. Having a full pre-season with your new squad is infinitely more advantageous than being thrown in the proverbial deep end at short notice.
Desperation, though, compels managers/boards to splash cash in oft-forlorn attempts to improve. In truth, it creates confusion. Media outlets love to speculate, supporters love reading rumours, so a perfect marriage of intrigue and deceit exists, but, by and large, nothing concrete comes from anything discussed.
How many times has Cristiano Ronaldo been going back to Manchester United?
How many times has Lionel Messi been "set" for a Chelsea or Manchester City move?
It is a game within the game and in-season deadlines do little favours.
Considering the widespread appeal of transfers and the accompanying rumours, even managers who agree with me eventually feel hypocritical.
Arsene Wenger, per the Daily Mail's Rob Draper, voiced his displeasure with extended summer windows. Before his season opener, Wenger told reporters the September deadline "creates uncertainties." Arsenal's long-serving boss added: "I believe at the start of the season, everybody should be committed, not half in, half out."
Finding people in power who think like you is always welcome, so "splendid," I thought while reading those quotes. Predictably, though, the Frenchman let me down after further investigation.
How can Wenger say the late window "creates uncertainties" when he's spent £58.5 million on deadline day over the past two years? Mesut Ozil (£42.5 million) and Danny Welbeck (£16 million) would respectively be in Madrid, Spain, and Manchester, England, were it not for the intrusive transfer period, not cashing cheques earmarked at the Emirates.
Wenger pulled the rug out. It was like discovering the so-called "tooth fairy" was really my father—a man whose magical powers are either so well hidden I've yet to see them or they don't exist.
If clubs want to make transfers during the season, January has been afforded to them. Thirty-one days in midseason to sell, buy and loan players is plenty of time for managers to improve their squads. The extra fortnight in late August, early September is nothing but a distraction from actual football.
Arsenal lost their opening match of 2013/14 to Aston Villa 3-1 and bought the aforementioned Ozil; Manchester United dropped five of their opening six points last season and spent £59.7 million on Angel Di Maria.
Were Chelsea to buy a marquee name after one point from their opening fixtures in 2015/16, attention would shift from a porous beginning to the transfer like clockwork.
Chiefly, the extended window allows teams to appease supporters after sluggish starts. It's become a security blanket, one that football might benefit from removing.
Personally, too much attention is given to transfers. Not many are earth-shattering, most are dull and uninspiring—no matter the timing—leaving me with a sense equal parts apathetic and bewildered. On one hand, I don't care, but on the other I care that supporters care so much.
It's unbelievable how quickly conjecture and speculation flies from the proverbial shelves. The appetite for players moving clubs can only be described as gluttonous. No matter whom, no matter where, link a player with a move and people click and merchandise shifts.
Perhaps it's more a sign of the times?
Everyone has a platform to voice themselves. At the nearest sign of peril or jubilation, one can share their opinion and be heard. Once people find like-minded individuals, their collective voice cannot be summarily dismissed by the powers that be—creating movements of sorts.
Following family and religion, people care about football more than anything, and in many respects football clubs have become both familial and religious entities.
The players themselves have transformed into modern-day gladiators and, in the rarest of cases, demigods.
I suppose, thanks to social media, in our new group-thought society (masked as individualism), people demanding, discussing and developing transfers where they commune and worship isn't too surprising nor shocking.
I'd just rather summer deals be limited from 1 June through 31 July. That way my club's manager could focus strictly on football come August.