FIFA has confirmed the summer transfer window will open on 17 May and close on 9 August, much earlier than usual, as Premiership teams have voted to close it before the new season starts and FIFA rules state it has to last 12 weeks.
The 2017/18 financial year runs up to 30 June 2018 and if history is anything to go by, I am assuming no money will be spent before that date to ensure a healthy profit is shown in those accounts. If my assumption is correct, this leaves only 40 days before the transfer window closes.
The current regime is notoriously late in doing transfers and when they do, they offer less than the selling club’s valuation – making the deals long, drawn out and usually doomed to failure.
It has also been suggested that Charnley has to go to Justin Barnes to get transfers rubber stamped, which adds another unnecessary delay. History dictates they do not learn from past mistakes, so unless Rafa can change the process, this timescale could really cause problems.
With most clubs having six weeks start on us and factoring in the world cup and player holidays, we will be on the back foot from day one if we don’t do our business early. Surely this needs to be taken into consideration by the club if we are to do any transfer business?
I fear it won’t, as Ashley just seems unable to comprehend that improving the squad will help us compete and result in profit from a higher league position and it’s almost as if he thinks transfers are an expensive luxury the club cannot afford. Rafa is the only one near him who knows anything about football and his advice appears to be being ignored.
This brings me to the next question; does Ashley even intend to spend any money on transfers?
Rumours are circulating that he says he isn’t interested anymore, there is [will be] no more money and he wants to sell.
If this is true and January was any indication of his current thinking, it would appear Ashley won’t spend while trying to sell the club, despite Rafa’s constant warnings that the squad isn’t strong enough.
Names were given to Mike Ashley ahead of 1 January 2018 and deals reportedly set up by Rafa…but any movement was blocked by the club’s inability or refusal to get transfers done, resulting in loan deals on the final day with no solid evidence of permanent deals being pursued.
At the end of this season, the loan players could return to their clubs (with Slimani, the club’s answer to Rafa’s plea for a striker not even kicking a ball in anger for us up to the end of March) this would leave us in a worse position than we are now.
Once again, it seems we are in danger of struggling due to Ashley gambling on Rafa being able to get enough out of the current squad to keep us in the Premiership, but I feel problems are just stacking up due to Ashley’s inertia, and it is only a matter of time before Rafa Benitez has had enough and walks away.
Of course, if a sale takes place, a lot of these problems would go away if the new owners invest in the club properly and release funds for transfers, but I fear unless someone is willing to meet Ashley’s asking price, this will not happen.
If that’s the case, Mike Ashley has to start listening, or Rafa Benitez will have some hard decisions to make.