What does the English transfer closure mean for Scottish football?

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On Thursday evening the transfer window closed in England at 5pm BST before the start of the English league season and the change will have ramifications for Scotland.

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Rangers manager Steven Gerrard speaks to captain James Tavernier who was subject of a bid from West Brom. Picture: SNS/Alan Harvey

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard speaks to captain James Tavernier who was subject of a bid from West Brom. Picture: SNS/Alan Harvey

When does the window close in Scotland?

Scottish clubs are able to buy, loan and sell players until midnight on 31 August.

Clubs can breathe a sigh of relief

Scottish clubs can no longer lose players to English teams, whether it be in the Premier League or Football League on a permanent deal.

This is of huge benefit to Scottish clubs. No longer will teams have any prized assets whisked away on transfer deadline day down to England with little time to replace them.

Why the change?

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger spoke of the need for “clarity”, while Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore mentioned “integrity of the competition”. Then Swansea City manager Paul Clement used the term “crazy”.

While coming at it from different angles all three were singing from the same hymn sheet. Clement said business “should be done before the start of the season so you can concentrate all your efforts on planning and preparing for the matches.”

Premier League clubs wanted business done before the season started to prevent upheaval, indecision and potential transfer sagas affecting matches. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played for Arsenal in a 4-0 defeat at Liverpool before joining the Anfield side only days later.

As for the players themselves, it means they can concentrate and, largely, have their short-term future fixed before the season starts.

When was the change decided?

Premier League clubs agreed to the rule amendment in September 2017 after much discussion. The topic had been studied, looked at and talked about at shareholders’ meetings in February and June of last year before being ratified.

Were all clubs in favour?

No. For the change to be agreed it required a two-thirds majority, which was achieved with 14 of the 20 Premier League agreeing to the switch. Manchester City, Manchester United, Crystal Palace, Watford and Swansea City voted against the change, while Burnley abstained.

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Can they still loan Scottish players?

The English Football League had a ‘soft’ deadline. It means the loan window remains open to those clubs in the Championship, League 1 and League 2. That does not shut until 31 August.

The 72 clubs can still loan players from Scotland. However, such an offer is not overly appealing to teams north of the border. Unless a deal is put in place for a permanent transfer when the window reopens in January.

Can Scottish clubs still sign players from England?

Yes. That’s a key benefit for Scottish teams. They are able to buy or loan players from England right up until the end of the transfer window.

Managers will be able to take advantage of managers of English teams deciding certain players don’t fit into their plans or need game time to develop further.

It may slow down transfers heading north

Yet, it could work the other way. The early closure could prevent Scottish clubs from signing players from England as teams don’t want to lose players they can’t replace, even if it is a mere squad player or back-up.

That was one of the reasons that some clubs voted against the change, they didn’t want to be left vulnerable and end up being caught short.

It could mean Scottish clubs look abroad.

Can English sides still sign Scottish players?

Yes, but it would only mean a deal is in place and the player would be unable to register with the new team until January.

The vast majority of clubs will wait until the winter transfer window.

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