All deals will have to be sealed by 5pm on the Thursday before Prem kick-off after clubs vote in favour of change
PREMIER LEAGUE chiefs have agreed to close transfer window BEFORE the start of the season from next year.
All incoming deals will have to be sealed by 5pm on the Thursday before the league campaign kicks off.
Yet clubs will still be able to sell players to other leagues in which the window remains open – as they can currently with the MLS and Chinese Super League.
Next season, the window will close at 5pm on Thursday August 9 2018.
While clubs from all other major European leagues – including La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the Bundesliga – will still be able to do business until August 31.
That potentially leaves Prem side susceptible to late offers from foreign clubs, with no means of replacing outgoing stars.
Chiefs from all 20 Premier League clubs were invited to vote on the issue at a meeting in London on Thursday.
It is understood that the decision was not unanimous but the change has been passed by a majority decision.
The number of teams who wanted the change is not yet clear but at least 14 of the 20 must have voted for the move in order for the motion to pass.
Early unconfirmed reports suggest the 14 voted in favour, five against, while one side abstained.
The change does not apply to the EFL Championship, League One and League Two, or any other tier in English football.
But Football League bosses have indicated they could follow the Premier League’s move but require further dialogue with stakeholders before a decision is made.
A Premier League statement read: “Premier League clubs have today agreed to 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.
“This is for Premier League clubs only and has no bearing on other leagues and competitions.
“The first transfer window in which this applies will be the summer transfer window in 2018 (ahead of the 2018/19 season) and it will close on 17.00 on Thursday August 9 2018.”
A number of Premier League bosses including Jurgen Klopp and Arsene Wenger had publicly backed plans after having star players’ heads turned after the start of the domestic campaign.
Philippe Coutinho has yet to feature for Liverpool this term after handing in a transfer request in an attempt to seal a move to Barcelona, although he was fit enough to line up for Brazil this week.
While Arsenal boss Wenger – who saw Alexis Sanchez‘s future left unresolved until deadline day and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain leave for Anfield – claimed that clubs currently struggle as players ponder potential moves as the season gets underway.
Speaking before the decision, Wenger said: “Many things happen in the last second (of the window), which I regret. That’s why I believe it’s important that we change that and close all that stuff before the championship starts.
“Even in the games, you sit there before the games and even in players’ minds they have no clarity.
“Are they in? Are they out? Are they half in? Are they half out? Are they tapped up in the afternoon of the game by people who want to get them out? It’s not the way to work and it’s uncomfortable.
“Every single manager in the league would agree that it’s time to kick that out before the season starts and not continue to have players in the dressing room who are half out and half in.”