Tuesday, 23 August 2011

It's Time for the Silly Season to Stop Before the Real Season Begins

It’s just over a week to go until football’s transfer window shuts until January. This summer’s window has been dominated by the ‘will he, won’t he’ saga surrounding Carlos Tevez and the ‘just get on with it’ bore-a-thon involving Cesc Fabregas. That’s not forgetting, of course, the confirmation from Manchester ‘webuyanyplayer.com’ City that they will sign Samir Nasri ‘any day now’ on July 8th...July 16th...July 30th...August 11th...August 20th...you get my point.

In short, it’s so far been a transfer window to forget, especially if you’re an Arsenal fan, and if that’s the case you may want to get on with forgetting the rest of the season too.

But does the transfer window go on too long? Should it shut before the season begins?

Every year we see players refusing to honour their contracts and represent their clubs in a bid to move to pastures new (and often richer). Last term, Asmir Begovic of Stoke was hankering after a move to Chelsea and so made himself unavailable to the Potters through fear of sustaining a move-busting injury. This time around, Arsenal want-away Fabregas and Chelsea target Luka Modric have both been struck down with ‘transferitis’ at various points over the summer, deeming them unable to play for their respective sides.

Modric missed last night’s match at Old Trafford, with his boss Harry Redknapp saying the Croatian had a ‘slight injury’, whilst also admitting his head ‘wasn’t in the right place to play’.

This is another factor affecting players who are being chatted-up by new clubs whilst the season is already underway. Knowing their dream move is on the horizon (or one of a multitude of dream moves if you’re Robbie Keane...) then it can become increasingly difficult for players to focus on their jobs for their current clubs. Is this fair on the clubs who own the players and want the best out of them whilst they remain under contract? Hardly.

It’s equally unfair if a player doesn’t want to play through fear of injury or becoming cup-tied, as Samir Nasri would have done had he played for Arsenal against Udinese in the week. On the same point, it’s not fair either for those players who are model professionals and wish to go about their jobs as normal, if their club wants to shift them for a sizeable fee and so won’t select them whilst negotiations are ongoing.

With a January window in place too, it becomes unavoidable as the New Year hits, but often players are already cup-tied in various competitions and few ‘big moves’ really materialise at this time of year anyway.

But at the start of the season, the transfer window turns football into a farce. It would seem best for both players, clubs and the paying public if the ‘silly season’ were to end before the real season begins. Let's just get on with the football!

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