Football News

Explained: Why the Premier League summer transfer deadline was changed – and how it can be reversed

By Steve Jennings

Published: 10:59, 28 August 2019

Premier League clubs are set to meet next month to discuss moving next summer’s transfer deadline, according to reports.

The proposed change comes just a year after the deadline was initially brought forward in the summer of 2018. Premier League clubs agreed to close the transfer window before the first game of the season instead of at the end of August like the rest of Europe.

So what were the reasons for, and the circumstances behind, the initial change? And why are they now considering pushing the deadline back again?

Why was the transfer deadline brought forward last year?

According to Richard Scudamore, who was the executive chairman of the Premier League at the time, clubs wanted the deadline brought forward as transfer uncertainty was affecting teams in the opening weeks of the season.

“There was a big concern that the Premier League has been playing two or three match rounds with a degree of uncertainty between themselves,” Scudamore said.

He added: “The clubs just think it’s wrong that, going into the first game of the season, they could be playing against a player that, a few weeks later, could be playing for a different club.”

Essentially, clubs wanted a fully settled squad before the season began, with no chance of losing their players to other Premier League teams two or three games into the new campaign.

Which clubs were in favour of the initial change?

It became common knowledge that 14 Premier League clubs were in favour of moving the transfer window forward last year, while five clubs opposed the change and one abstained from voting, which took place in 2017.

At the time, Scudamore said: “It wasn’t unanimous but nobody was pathologically angry about the situation.

“We did have managers’ meetings before the season started. The managers are very strong on it. Almost all of them were in favour of shutting it earlier.”

According to the Guardian, the five clubs who voted against the change were Manchester City, Manchester United, Crystal Palace, Watford and Swansea City. Burnley were the club that abstained.

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Why do some clubs want to push the deadline back again now?

Speaking about the clubs who opposed the initial change, Scudamore said: “There were some concerns by some clubs that, although they wouldn’t be able to buy any more players, their players could still be picked off by those who haven’t closed their windows. It just meant they couldn’t support it.”

It appears those clubs are still of the belief that European clubs remain a threat when it comes to losing players after the season has started. What’s more, other clubs may also have changed their minds.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp thinks the change “didn’t work out” and should be reviewed. The German said: “I don’t care when it closes, I only think it must close at the same time.

“You want a team not only together but together and focused on the future, but that is not possible as long as there is a door open.

“I don’t understand why this decision is not already reviewed at least. At first it was a good idea but it didn’t work out so let’s change it again.”

Meanwhile, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has seen his squad harmony affected by a transfer saga involving Christian Eriksen this summer, prompting him to voice his desire to push the deadline back.

Pochettino said: “I think he [Spurs chairman Daniel Levy] and a lot of people now realise it was a massive mistake. I hope that we fix the problem for the next season.”

When will a decision be made on the transfer deadline change?

Sky Sports has reported that clubs are set to meet on September 20, although it’s unclear whether the topic will be raised and if a vote on any future changes may be imminent. Indeed, a vote is believed to be more likely to take place in November or the New Year.

It is also unclear how much of a say managers will have. It appears the coaches of at least Liverpool and Tottenham are now in favour of pushing the deadline back, so other clubs may also share a similar frame of mind.

Premier League rules mean that 11 clubs – equating to a majority – are required to change the dates surrounding a summer transfer window.

Many European clubs currently have until September 2 to sign players, having decided not to follow the Premier League’s initial lead, while top-flight teams on these shores must now wait until the January transfer window.