Almost every football fan worldwide is currently watching SkySports or their nation’s equivalent to find out who their club will sign before midnight tonight. It appears crazy to me that managers actually wait until the last minute to conduct their summer’s business.
I can fully understand that some sides have lost players and may have started the season poorly which could prompt the manager into reinforcing his squad before the International break but still. Targets should have been identified prior to the window opening and acted upon accordingly. The reigning champions in England, Manchester United carried out their business very early in the summer and have therefore had time to adapt and enable the new players to settle. Just look at the performances of Phil Jones and Ashley Young; both have hit the ground running after settling quickly into the United set up.
On the other side of the coin you have the two north London sides – Arsenal and Tottenham. Both sides are running around like madmen trying to tie up deals to ensure they are ready to compete for Champions League football this season. When you look at Arsenal the issue becomes more farcical considering the Cesc Fabregas saga was always likely to end sooner rather than later and was by no means the best kept secret in football. From speaking to several fans they simply cannot understand why replacements have not been identified and approached before the end of the window.
Meanwhile at Spurs the situation seems incredibly reminiscent of when Dimitar Berbatov left White Hart Lane. The situation with Luka Modric has been on-going for months but it has left the club short on options. I even wonder whether Redknapp even had time to buy any players with all the golfing and SkySports advertising he has had to do this summer. The club have several squad players who are clearly surplus to requirements but the clubs asking price has put potential suitors off. Having enjoyed a successful season in the Champions League last year this season looks like being very uninspiring at the moment.
Elsewhere in Europe there doesn’t appear to be the frenzied activity there is in the Premier League today. Many of the Italian and Spanish sides have bought steadily throughout the summer and their seasons start later than in England anyway. I could appreciate this stance if you picked up genuine bargains at the end of August but normally clubs end up spending well over the odds. The selling clubs must relish days like these when they can charge astronomical fees for players simply not worth the fee.
Whilst the transfer deadline day is exciting for fans, journalists and pundits alike it must be a nightmare for the managers and senior clubs officials. My message to all of these would be to simply follow United’s example and conduct your business early, to the benefit of everyone at the club.