Premier League managers back transfer window change

Arsene Wenger
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BURNLEY, England (Reuters) – Premier League clubs will vote next month on a proposal to ensure the transfer window closes before the season starts, with the plan already winning the backing of several managers.

A vote will take place at the Premier League shareholders meeting on Sept. 7 and clubs from the lower divisions in the English Football League are set to follow suit next month.

Currently, the window closes on the last day of August but the Premier League season began on Aug. 11 with the lower divisions kicking off a week earlier.

This means that matches can be underway before teams are properly set.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche said the current system can seriously disrupt the work of a manager and his team.

“You don’t want to start the season and lose three of your players when you’re three games into the season. That could be really hard to take. And that happens,” he said.

“So I think if you could get that done as well, it means that once the football starts, the managers, coaches and teams can just get on with the football.

“And the fans. They can just get on with what they really want to be looking at, and that is football matches.”

Last week, Burnley sold striker Andre Gray to Watford three days before their opening game.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, Swansea boss Paul Clement and Stoke’s Mark Hughes are among those who have backed a change.

“From a manager’s point of view I would be in favour of the window closing before the season starts because of the disruption it causes,” Hughes said on Friday.

West Ham United’s Croatian manager Slaven Bilic supports the idea but has highlighted one potential pitfall to a change — the risk of a different window deadline from European leagues.

“For me it is has to be across the leagues. Otherwise there is no point,” he said.

“Ironically, it would put the clubs in a worse situation that you would still lose players if clubs abroad want them and you can’t replace them. It would only protect us in that no other Premier League clubs can take your players.

“The (Philippe) Coutinho situation, it would not stop Liverpool losing him but would stop them finding a replacement. It’s a great idea, first one I’m definitely like ‘yes’. Some teams are losing like 30 percent of their teams.”

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho also backed the change and added that the risk of English teams losing players to their European counterparts, whose transfer window remains open till Aug. 31, once the domestic window closes was minimal.

“I would prefer the window to close as soon as possible, so everyone knows the players we will have & business is done earlier,” Mourinho told reporters on Friday.

“At the moment you have a situation where a player could play game number one for one team, and for another in game number two.

“Are we in danger of losing players in last couple of weeks as I have heard? I would say, how many clubs are powerful enough to buy the best players in the Premier League? The risk is minimal. If we cannot buy we are not going to sell.”