Of course this period used to run from 1st June until the 31st August but Premier League clubs voted to move the closure of the window forwards to coincide with the start of the new season. The theory behind this is that it will prevent Club A taking Club B’s player right at the end of the window and leaving them scrambling for a replacement or worse still, being unable to replace them at all.
The practicality however is unchanged and because Barcelona and company aren’t subject to these new timescales, it wouldn’t give them any less incentive to try and swoop on Philippe Coutinho for example. It might toughen up the resolve of the selling club but if the buyer desperately wants a player then they will continue to dangle the carrot right up until the point where their window ends.
Will this new look window have an impact on Liverpool? Not immediately, no. The deal to sign Naby Keita has long been agreed of course and that transfer will complete on 1st July. The extremely talented Guinean will complete his deal right in the middle of the World Cup.
However, because of the European Cup final Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp are not going to become distracted by transfers. Until the 26th May the emphasis will be on one thing alone – bring home a sixth European Cup.
But when that final has been played, I imagine that wheels will turn quickly and whatever deals the club have got in mind will begin to come to fruition. We’ll have a lot of players in Russia but a fair few play for countries who haven’t made it to the tournament. They will have the benefit of a full pre-season with Klopp and his staff at Melwood. This will be particularly beneficial to the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Adam Lallana, who had no pre-season of any real quality in 2017 and suffered for it as the season went on. Van Dijk wasn’t fully fit until March.
It will also help the manager to assess where the likes of Marko Grujic and Harry Wilson are up to in their development. Both were on loan in the Championship for the second half of the season and Wilson in particular obtained rave reviews. With a vacancy for a wide forward in the team to rotate with Salah and Mane, the young Welshman has a real opportunity to stake his claim for a first team spot.
A transfer window also provides ample opportunities for a little spring cleaning. We will likely offload jabronis like Lazar Markovic who are realistically about as likely to play for the club in the future as I am. The likes of Alberto Moreno and Simon Mignolet will likely move on to pursue the first team football they simply won’t get at Liverpool. Moreno isn’t approaching good enough and Mignolet is not suited to the way we play due to his desire to remain rooted to his six yard box at all times.
But Klopp will be aware that he is entering this window in a positon of strength. With a minimum of a place in the Champions League secured for next season and the potential of European glory forthcoming, this is the strongest position Liverpool have been in entering a transfer window arguably in history. There’s a growing feeling that the addition of two or three might give us the springboard to give Manchester City a run for their (limitless) money in 2018/2019.
Klopp will move fast and as is the way in football, I’m sure that all the big moves are well underway behind the scenes. He has shown time after time that he will wait to get his man. He deals only in first choice targets and not shortlists. He waited until January to sign van Dijk, he waited for a whole twelve months to make sure he signed Naby Keita and most impressively of all, he waited until the summer to replace Coutinho. These are three big calls and three that he has got spot on.
This club has not had an opportunity like this for some time. Our transfers have improved so much since Klopp’s arrival and if we have another window where we shift some deadwood and sign quality players we will be very, very well placed to be a part of the title conversation next season.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see some deals wrapped up before the World Cup kicks off. The international tournament is a breath of fresh air in a summer free of football but it causes logistical difficulties for transfers with national team managers hesitant to let their charges skip training for the day to finish up on a transfer. And of course any deals can be hampered by a good tournament as prices and wages might go up. It’s best for business for buying teams if deals can be struck pre-tournament.
We might well act late in the window if any opportunities arise but I can see much of our business being done early because the sooner the pieces of the jigsaw are in place, the sooner Jürgen Klopp can sit down and try and make sure it all fits together perfectly.