The Football League Paper - - MARTIN LING -

DEAD­LINE day is fun to watch but the trans­fer win­dow is a com­plete joke. It needs look­ing at, and soon.

For one thing, it should end in July, not six games into the sea­son. For another, it forces or­gan­ised, pro­fes­sional peo­ple to make rash de­ci­sions they wouldn’t nor­mally dream of. Just look at the farce over David De Gea’s botched move from Manch­ester United to Real Madrid. If the two big­gest clubs in the world can muck it up, so can any­one.

It hap­pened to me once, with Gabby Zakuani at Ori­ent in 2006. Me and Gabby had agreed with Barry Hearn that we wouldn’t sell him for less than £1m. Ful­ham had made three of­fers and right at the death they hit the tar­get.

We sold Gabby and I ended up tak­ing a lad, Clay­ton For­tune, from Bristol City. We wanted a se­nior player and that’s what he was, but it never worked out. I can re­mem­ber think­ing af­ter­wards that I did rush into it and didn’t do enough home­work.

The only pos­i­tive – at least for lower league clubs – is that the loan win­dow opens a week or two later.

Some­times you’re bet­ter to wait be­cause a lot of the big­ger teams do their deals and end up with play­ers sur­plus to re­quire­ments. It’s a real safety net for clubs in League One and Two, es­pe­cially when you’re pretty pow­er­less to stop big sides lur­ing your best play­ers away at the last minute.

There was talk about the loan sys­tem be­ing ended but, if you’re go­ing to keep the trans­fer win­dow, it has to stay. Yes, a ban on loans would force clubs to play academy play­ers. But to me, that would sim­ply al­low the clubs with the big­gest bud­gets and squads to dom­i­nate. With­out loan play­ers, I think the stan­dard of com­pe­ti­tion would suf­fer and the rise of a club like Bournemouth would be very un­likely.

Fairy­tales like that keep the game alive. What’s killing it is the win­dow, not the loan mar­ket.

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