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Martinez: Transfer window should shut before season starts

Roberto concerned about distractions

Ian Walton/Getty Images

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has joined the multitudes of Premier League managers who have been asking that the summer transfer window close before the beginning of the season. The managers at Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United have all expressed similar sentiments recently regarding the turmoil that strikes clubs during the first month of the season.

More than once Martinez has stated his displeasure on how Chelsea have been busy tapping up defender John Stones, but now he has officially stated that he would like to do without the distractions created mostly by the press. The saga does not appear over yet, with the London side reportedly about to make a third bid for the defender, this time for £30 million, that the Toffees will also reject.

"The window, when it is open and we have to prepare for official games, is very, very unfair. I don't think it is right," Martinez told Sky Sports.

"I think we should have a period where we assemble our squad, and then once the first league game starts everyone is focused."

Ironically, the object of Roberto's ire, Jose Mourinho is one of the bosses who has also expressed his annoyance on the duration of the transfer period.

"For me the transfer window is over," Mourinho told reporters. "I don't like the transfer window open when the competition starts.

"I know it is open, I know my club can buy or sell, but I don't like that feeling. As a coach I am thinking about my players, my squad, and I don't want to think about transfers. Clubs and players need quiet time and respect when the competition starts.

"Imagine a Swansea player plays against Chelsea on Saturday and then goes to Manchester City, then he plays against Chelsea again the next week. I cannot get that into my head."

In a rare moment of agreement with Mourinho, Arsene Wenger said he believes that clubs should be committed to their squad on the first day of the Premier League campaign and does not like the uncertainty the late deadline creates. The Frenchman also pointed out a potential disadvantage of facing a player who switches clubs late in the window three times in a season.

"Does it bother me the window is still open? Yes, because it creates uncertainties," he told reporters ahead of the Gunners' opening match against West Ham.

"At the start of the season everybody should be committed, not half-in, half-out.

"The other handicap is that a player could play against you three times for two different clubs.

"He plays against you, then plays against you for another club. We say, 'Oh, you have to love the shirt' but, within the same season, he has to love two shirts."

When unveiling United’s first signing of the summer, Memphis Depay, Dutchman Van Gaal also spoke out against the length of the transfer window.

"I find it ridiculous that the period closes so late. For managers this period is the most difficult time."

With the window open a month after the season starts, selling clubs can drive up prices on players by refusing to sell a player until very late on deadline day to take advantage of desperate buyers. Tottenham Hotspur’s Daniel Levy is a reknown proponent of this strategy, using it successfully in the past with both Dimitar Berbatov and Gareth Bale.

A positive however about the window closing at the end of August is that it gives teams some competitive games under their belts to work out where their pressing needs are and which players are surplus to requirements. Preseason friendlies are often inconclusive affairs that do not give managers enough insight or even adequate time to implement changes.

Should the window be closed earlier, we could well see more meaningful games being played over the summer with managers having less time to trial players and systems. However, it would remain to be seen if club boards would be willing to sacrifice lucrative summer trips to far-flung areas in the world.

The English transfer window shuts on Tuesday September 1st at 6pm GMT, at which point the clubs would have played four games in the Premier League.