COMMENT: Is it arrogance? Stupidity? The self-gratification of being a football purist (aka joyless)? What is it? What is it in these Premier League managers and their lackies to push - and actually succeed - in cutting short the transfer window this summer?
Talk about hastening your demise. This decision is a lesson in self-harm. Three weeks the whingers and moaners have now given the rest of Europe to pick off Premier League talent. Actually, scrap that. It's more than three weeks - 22 days! Bloody ridiculous.
When the winter market shut on Wednesday night, we heard the same complaints - and from the same suspects. Scrap it, claimed Arsene Wenger. Shorten it, insisted Rafa Benitez. It's like water torture. Every year it's the same. The same complaint from the same gobs. The disconnect between the fan and the self-proclaimed purist is never so stark as when deadline day comes around.
The numbers say different. But we all hate it, apparently. It hurts the integrity of the competition. But no-one at Arsenal were worrying about that when they had a delegation camped in Dortmund for a week turning the screw on Borussia to sell Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Even Wenger was jumping the gun with that dodgy video release before BVB had even closed their deal with Chelsea for Michy Batshuayi. And Arsenal want to talk about integrity...?
But this is all too easy. Premier League managers, integrity and highlighting the hypocrisy of it all is like shooting fish in the barrel. There's bigger problems to fry - and they all centre around the stupidity of the purist cutting short this summer's Premier League transfer window.
Okay, okay, cutting short isn't exactly accurate. They've moved it back three weeks. So opening the market earlier. But it's just window dressing. How many deals do we know of being settled in the final weeks of the season, with them rubberstamped on July 1? It's par for the course. This has how it's been since FIFA imposed this system on English football.
But now the Premier League are charting their own course. Rah-rah, we hear the purists cheer. The window will be shut on August 9 - the final Thursday before the Premier League kicks off. Oh what joy.
Because, of course, everything will stop on August 10. No European club will come in for a Premier League player. After all, those at Bayern Munich, AS Monaco and Juventus have sent their congratulations to the purists of the Premier League. Well done, sir. Carry on. And there's no way an injury in those opening weeks of the season will leave a Premier League team a star short. That just would never happen...
In Spain, for example, even between transfer windows, if a first teamer is hit by a heavy injury, his club has the permission of LaLiga to sign a replacement of equal quality. Was this even raised during that Premier League meeting? Of course not.
But it's those clubs sending their congratulations which really should be the concern. You reckon Chelsea, Tianjin Quanjian and Diego Costa was a powderkeg? Just consider Europe's biggest clubs pushing for THREE WEEKS to prise the best away from your Premier League team.
For the record, Manchester United, Manchester City, Watford, Swansea and Crystal Palace voted against moving the deadline. So let's leave them alone and focus on two supporters of this half-baked scheme.
Scenario one: Antonio Conte loses his job at Chelsea. And immediately takes a flight to Spain to succeed Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid. A Real Madrid where president Florentino Perez, having spent so little over the last three transfer windows, has as much as €500 MILLION to throw around this summer.
The Champions League group draw is made in that final week of August. And Real and Chelsea are drawn together. Cue Florentino - on the recommendation of Conte - to throw the bank at Chelsea to ferry away an unsettled Eden Hazard (with that new contract still unsigned) and the equally antsy Thibaut Courtois. Sure, Chelsea can fight them off. After all, they're both contracted players. But by August this year, Courtois' will have less than a year to run. Hazard's 18 months. And with both refusing to ink those new deals, the fans will know where their heart lies. Chelsea can sell, but with no replacements allowed. Or they can deny two senior players their dream move. Alexis Sanchez and Arsenal, anyone...?
Scenario two: Mauricio Pochettino has had enough at Tottenham and agrees to return to PSG to take charge of their Champions League tilt. PSG, still short of a goalkeeper, ask Pochettino about Hugo Lloris - and the Argentine gives them the green light. Again, this all occurs after the purists' August 9 celebration. Lloris, who has been open about his connection to Pochettino, wants to leave. He wants to be winning things - and to do so with his old Spurs manager. Good luck with that, Daniel Levy.
And this is just two examples involving clubs with the financial power to actually resist. How about a repeat of the West Ham, Marseille, Dimitri Payet fiasco? Only it's not just the Irons, it's every club outside the top six which boast top drawer talent, but are vulnerable to richer clubs overseas. Leicester City and Riyad Mahrez. Stoke City and Xherdan Shaqiri. Everton and Jordan Pickford. The LaLiga isn't the Chinese Premier League. Nor is Serie A, the Bundesliga or Ligue 1. These are attractive, lucrative destinations for a footballer. It's ridiculous to believe each and every Premier League club can keep hold of their best players for those final three weeks of this year's transfer window.
The reality is, no matter the finger wagging of the purist, the hype won't go away. Indeed, transfer speculation will dominate this summer like never before. We now have two major transfer deadlines to look forward to. Rumours will fly. Players will be unsettled. As far as the coverage they complain about, nothing will change.
All this pathetic self-gratifying vote has done is hand advantage to those super clubs beyond England's shores. Arrogance in its pure(i)st form.