The 2021 football transfer window has been a bonkers. That can never be doubted, simply because of the craziness that football fans have been served up. And it happens to be during that time of year when craziness is almost the norm. Still, if someone told you that Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos would all change clubs in the same summer, you’d definitely tell them to turn off FIFA career mode. Yet, as it stands, this is actually the reality of the situation. Some of the big names got their big moves, while many others didn’t. Still, the general consensus is that the summer of 2021 will not be soon forgotten by soccer fans.
Of course, it wouldn’t be football without the element of competition. And battles are not fought only on the field.
Nowadays there is competition regarding things like sponsorship money, social media reach and even net spend. net spend!
Most fans wouldn’t even know that term in the old days, now it’s tied in as a sign of a well-run club. Which isn’t necessary but hey, that’s beside the point. The point, of course, is the never-ending mono-excellence.
This, inevitably, leads to chatter about which clubs ‘win’ transfer windows. It may sound absurd but it is true. Now there will be endless debates about which clubs did well, which teams did poorly and who could have done better.
And while that’s well and good, what doesn’t matter is about ‘winning’ the transfer window.
Transfer window success is no guarantee of on-field success
Now before we analyze why this is so, it is worth noting that transfers are an integral part of football as a whole. As such, how a club performs in the transfer market can set the tone for the season.
Bring in the right reinforcements and a club could go from solid performers to a side with outside chances of European football. However, failing to strengthen where necessary, and even securing mid-table sides could be embroiled in a relegation battle.
And, contrary to popular belief, any relocation is easier said than done. Yet the idea of winning the transfer market is admittedly ridiculous at any level.
For one, let’s start with the obvious – there are no trophies or points for ‘winning’ the transfer window. For another, a good or bad transfer window is no guarantee of success.
A good recent example would be Chelsea in 2020. He was seen as a ‘win’ in the transfer market largely due to the summer splash. He did this at a time when other clubs were more circumspect and supported that notion.
Yet a string of poor results saw the club fall down the league table and then manager Frank Lampard eventually lost his job.
His successor Thomas Tuchel eventually won the Champions League, yet the reality is the Blues added names who will need time to become a cohesive unit.
An even more recent example would be Arsenal in 2021. The London side spent the most of any club in the Premier League, yet currently sit last in the league table.
Of course, ‘winning’ the window is not always down to this simple parameter.
No parameters for this ‘estimated’ success
For example, many Manchester United fans believe they ‘won’ this window when they signed Cristiano Ronaldo. This is an argument that has at least some merit.
Yet the fact remains that United signed another attacking player when a midfielder was a major priority. Will attackers like Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes and Ronaldo hide the fact that they are still playing Fred’s role as a defensive midfielder?
Similarly, many see Paris Saint-Germain as having ‘won’ the window due to the signings of Messi, Ramos as well as Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum and Achraf Hakimi – four of those five being free signings.
Again, this is an argument that holds some water. Yet PSG have been given enough to run in the league anyway – last season being the exception – does this talent hoarding really make sense?
It is debatable how much that helps his Champions League chances here as well. PSG currently have three forwards in Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe whose defensive output is nil.
Can their combined creative inspiration have an impact in big games against opposition that relentlessly press and defend as a team? it remains to be seen.
Another argument states that Chelsea won the transfer window because they strengthened in the areas that matter. However, they are lacking in defence, having sold Kurt Zouma to West Ham and failing to sign Jules Conde from Sevilla.
to sum it up…
The old improv stand-up comedy show ‘Who’s Line Is It Anyway?’ Drew Carey opened with his patented catchphrase – “Welcome to the show where everything is made up and the points don’t matter!”
This phrase, ironically, describes the ‘winner’ of any transfer. There are rules for who wins. and points? Of course they don’t care!