When the last ball is kicked on Saturday and Chelsea trudge up the steps of Wembley to accept either the FA Cup winners’ or the losers’ medals, the players’ job will be done.
And then the real season will begin. Transfer season. Silly Season. Front office season.
There’s (probably) a new coach to hire. There’s a management reorganization to finalize. Depending upon how that goes, some form of a Director of Football, or whatever role it may entail, will have to be hired.
And all of that before the transfer window opens on... Thursday. Wait, what? Chelsea could start buying players before the English football season is even over? Apparently so, with reports yesterday expecting the Premier League to confirm that the summer transfer window will run May 17 — August 9.
It’s a knock-on effect from the decision earlier this season to close the transfer window the Thursday before the start of the new season (i.e. early- to mid-August) rather than at the end of the month. But FIFA rules mandate that at least one window each year must be a minimum of 12 weeks long. A long window would be disruptive during the winter, in the middle of the season, so summer it is. And pushing forward the close of the summer window also pushes forward its opening.
So now the Premier League transfer window opens on Thursday, May 17th and closes on Thursday, August 9th. (The Football League is expected to follow suit.) That doesn’t mean however that Chelsea could suddenly acquire a new player for Saturday’s FA Cup final — those squads have been locked down some time ago and teams are only able to register most new players with FIFA starting on July 1 anyway (as usual).
Because the window will still be open in many other countries until the end of August, Chelsea will be able to sell players (to those teams) all the way to the end of the month — this was the biggest concern regarding the approval of this change, with players hypothetically being able to push for a move after clubs were unable to secure replacements for them.
So that’s 12 weeks and 2 days remaining until the 2018 summer transfer window closes and 12 weeks and 4 days until the 2018-19 season begins. Time to get business done.
Chances that Chelsea will actually get said business done early and not leave us and the (new) head coach in limbo until the very end of the shortened window? Hmmmm ... what’s a number below zero?