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Sport and Fitness

Opinion: Is the football transfer window a good thing?

Words by EDGAR DAILY

The transfer window has become an increasingly integral part in the world of football. But is it a good thing for the sport?

EDGAR’s Rob Chilton and Nathan Irvine kick-off the debate and share what it means to them.

YES – ROB CHILTON

When the football season ends, you can almost hear the panic in newsrooms around the world: what do we write about now? Journalists who have spent the past 10 months writing carefully-considered and thoughtful stories about football suddenly turn into kids on a sugar rush, bashing away on their keyboards about huge players going to huge clubs for huge money. I love it.

The headlines and the stories underneath use words like ‘swoop’,‘deal’, and ‘big wages.’ I love how football is pretty much the only profession in capitalism that still quotes wages in weekly terms,rather than annual salaries – a charming throwback to the days when players really were paid by the club secretary at the end of every week. From what I can tell, it’s also the only workplace that still relies on fax machines to get the paperwork done. How quaint.

Greed

The transfer window is a masterclass in skulduggery and – let’s be blunt – flat out lying. One minute, a player is proclaiming his love for his existing club while insisting he’s not leaving. And the next minute he’s arriving at his new club in a Ferrari, grinning for the cameras and signing a fresh contract with a lot of zeroes on it.

For me, it’s all about airports, medicals and car parks. It’s about rumours and last-minute shocks. It’s seeing mobile phones clamped to the sweaty ears of red-faced, greedy agents who are standing next to players holding Louis Vuitton clutch bags with a bemused look on their face, wondering if they need to tell their wife they’re moving 300 miles up the road. It’s the ugly, money-grabbing, vulgar, business side of the game and – sadly – is often far more entertaining than the actual football played on the pitch.

And then, in August when the new season starts, you see who ended up where and spend the first 90 minutes thinking how weird Player X looks in a different kit. Bring it on.

Paul Pogba hugging his agent Mino Raiola whilst standing on the pitch and wearing his Juventus kit.

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Source Super-agent Mina Raiola is will be hoping for another windfall this summer by moving on his clients such as Paul Pogba.

Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward.

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Chairmen like Manchester United's Ed Woodward are under huge pressure to seal deals in the transfer window. Though most usually have a plan of action.

No – NATHAN IRVINE

I used to love the transfer window in the early days. I was sold on the drama of those last minute deals or the sight of a helicopter landing at a training ground. I even loved the comedy value of Peter Odemwingie briefing the press about his upcoming move only to see his dream shattered on live television. It was fun. But now it’s out of control.

A perfect storm was created between the surge in social media and the intrigue of the transfer window. It spawned the infamous ITK (read: In The Knows) accounts. A selection of shadowy figures online that claimed to have inside information about a football club’s upcoming plans. When in truth they know as much about transfers as Odemwingie did on that fateful day in a QPR car park.

Rumour mill

The traditional media, rather than rise above this madness, were swept up in the craze as publishers realised a surge in clicks to half-truths were incredibly valuable. Sure, there are reputable sources out there, but it just turned into white noise and impossible to tell what’s real and what is not.

For example, Manchester United have been linked to more than 50 players this summer. FIFTY! They’ll likely only sign around three players… if they’re lucky.

Away from the reports, the transfer window has also unearthed an impatience within football fans. I may be an old romantic, but I prefer to see a youth team player break into the starting XI and have a fantastic career than sign the next big thing from elsewhere. However, fans are eagerly looking forward to the next transfer window so they can jettison these kids, or those players going through a rough spot, as soon as it opens.

The transfer window has ruined football in a number of ways,  and I can’t wait for it to close each season.

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