Welcome to a well belated edition of Premiership Primer. Today is a post dealing with what many have been asking for (including myself) in the series. I suppose I could say I postponed it long enough to say a post on the transfer window and player movement in European football would coincide with the actual transfer window, but that wouldn’t be fully true. At any rate, here we go.
For the longest time, I figured the transfer window was more or less like free agency or player trading that goes on in North American sports. It’s a time for clubs to bring in players. FIFA has mandated that there be two transfer windows per league. The first is the longest and takes place in the off-season. The second is a shorter, four week one in the middle of the season. Currently, MLS has its in-season transfer window open, so clubs vying for playoff positioning are able to bring in some players to help their cause. Other teams, such as the club I support, Seattle Sounders FC, might also be looking at getting some depth as they face a tough end-of-season slate that includes matches in three competitions (MLS, U.S. Open Cup, and CONCACAF Champions League).
Of course, this is Premiership Primer, so we’ll focus on that. England still has their pre-season window open, and it will last until August 31. The in-season window takes place in the month of January. It’s important to note that these windows are only for players coming in from other countries. Another thing to note is that the league a player is coming from does not have to have its transfer window open for a player to move. Only the window of the country a player is going into, and different countries have different transfer windows. For example, lets say Newcastle United wants to sign Mathias Ranegie, a striker in Sweden’s Allsvenskan, leading the competition with 14 goals. They could do so now, since England’s transfer window is open, even though Sweden’s mid-season one doesn’t open until August.
Where this differs from the trading North American sports fans have come to expect in their leagues is that no players go to the team losing the transferred player. Newcastle United wouldn’t owe Ranegie’s former team any players. Instead he and NUFC would negotiate a new deal. Now, Newcastle might give Haecken (Rangie’s Swedish Club) some monetary compensation. Star players command huge transfer fees. NUFC was involved in one of the largest transfer fees in history when the club sold Andy Carroll to Liverpool for 35 million pounds (40 million Euros…or $56,535,983.74 in American dollars.) That’s a little under half what Real Madrid paid Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, when the Portuguese striker fetched a transfer fee of 94 million pounds (or $114,485,367.07). In terms of trying to get cash fast, relegated clubs might sell off some of their star players.
Of course, if a player has reached the end of their contract, they are free to negotiate with any club. This is like free agency in a way. It’s also referred to as a free transfer, since there is no transfer fee involved. Newcastle fans may recall that Michael Owen was a free transfer to Manchester United after the Magpies were relegated. We take some solace in the fact he’s not done much for the Red Devils.
If the transfer window is closed though and a team needs a shot in the arm, or would like to unload a player, it can go through the loan process. This is essentially when a player from a club is allowed to play for a different club. His rights are still retained by his original club, and the loaned player cannot play against the team that holds his rights. Newcastle has loaned out Kazenga LuaLua to Brighton and Hove Albion. That loan lasts until January 15. Sometimes there is a fee involved in a loan (or promises of a permanent transfer once the window is open. It should be noted that loaned players cannot play against the club holding their contract in league play. This is not an issue, since Brighton and Hove Albion plays in the Championship. But, should the Magpies and Seagulls meet in the FA Cup or League Cup (as unlikely as it is) he’d be eligible to play as the ban is only for league games.
As to whom Newcastle might be targeting as the season ends, I’ll leave that to the writers of this blog. They know much more than me on that subject. Also, just to point out, I’m not advocating for Newcastle to target Mathias Ranegie, he’s just an example from the Swedish league. Though hey, he’s got 14 goals. Why not? Plus, he almost has the right colors already.