Although the transfer window only officially opened on July 1st, clubs have been negotiating, tapping up and generally doing all they can to encourage their main targets to leave their current clubs since around the beginning of June.
This has led to the signings of the likes of Victor Lindelof at Manchester United and Ederson and Bernardo Silva at Manchester City.
Of course, these players signed contracts which would have been dated for July 1st, but the actual business was done early and the deals were announced in June, weeks before the official opening.
Why, you may wonder, are so few transfers completed this quickly? Why is it that the Alvaro Morata transfer, for example, appears to have dragged on for weeks?
The reasons for the different lengths of negotiations are relatively simple. Some clubs are quite happy for certain players to leave, particularly if they are offered the “right” price immediately, and don’t want the transfer to drag on and on as it will impact on their own efforts to bring in new players.
Some clubs are greedier than others. Real Madrid are holding out for a fee in the region of €80 million for Morata, which vastly overvalues a player who couldn’t even hold down a regular place in their first team last season.
Inter Milan are doing similar with Ivan Perisic who, at 28 years of age, is not worth the €50 million they are asking for him. Manchester United, in truth, are offering below market value in an attempt to capitalise on Inter’s need to sell due to FFP regulations but, either way, the whole business is dragging on.
Other clubs just don’t want to sell the player in question and so will put what they think is an unrealistic price on him, in the hope of scaring off potential suitors. This tactic is now not as common as it used to be because of the amount of money available to the top clubs. Teams like PSG will think nothing of activating a ridiculous release clause in order to buy a player they want. Remember, not that long ago during a minor fallout with Barcelona, they threatened to activate Lionel Messi’s release clause which is around €200 million!
None of this, however, should prevent Ed Woodward bringing in the required players for Manchester United. Firstly, he should not be in New Zealand watching The British and Irish Lions chasing an egg around a field. He should be at Old Trafford negotiating deals to get José Mourinho the players he wants.
His job, unfortunately, requires him to handle transfer business for United and that is what he should be doing with no distractions.
Although it is only the first week of the new window Mourinho would like his new signings to be available for the pre-season tour to the USA, which gives Woodward less than two weeks to bring them in, despite the fact that he has had the whole of June as well.
Time will soon pass and as usual, unless Woodward gets his act together, United will be in danger of missing out on their preferred transfer targets again.
Read more from Iain Anderson at WhySayAnything.com