The Premier League has voted, and the transfer window will now close in England the Thursday before the season kicks off starting next summer. For many, it will seem a move that’s been a long time in coming; a sensible decision to delineate the offseason from the actual football season.
There’s one potential problem, though. And that’s that the Premier League are taking the step unilaterally. It won’t stop clubs in other countries from bidding on Premier League players if they so choose up until their own league’s registration window shuts, mostly on or around the final day of August.
With the draw and money of England’s top flight, of course, that isn’t likely to be an issue for the most part. But if a club like Barcelona or Real Madrid or Juventus or Bayern Munich comes to unsettle a player, today’s change won’t stop them being able to buy them until at least August 31st.
Still, with just how much money and power the Premier League have, it may be a move they can pull off—after all, Liverpool did show over this past summer that they can resist Barcelona’s pressure to sell, and the window being shut early in England would only have steeled their resolve not to.
There are already very few clubs outside the Premier League with the draw to poach from England, and with no ability to sign a replacement once the season starts, in the current financial climate “few” might realistically now turn into “none,” and that could force the other big leagues to follow suit.
“Premier League clubs have today agreed a rule amendment that will see the summer transfer window in any year end at 17:00 on the Thursday before the start of the season,” read a statement from the league. “This is for Premier League clubs only and has no bearing on other leagues and compeitions.
“The first transfer window in which this applies will be the summer transfer window in 2018, and it will close on 17:00 on Thursday 9 August 2018.”