Manchester United could be at a disadvantage in the transfer market this summer following a ruling made by FIFA yesterday.
Due to the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the COVID pandemic, football’s world governing body has decided to allow next season’s transfer window to open whilst the current season is still being played.
In a media release, FIFA said: “In order to give priority to clubs to complete their (2019/20) season with their original squad, provide flexibility, and allow MAs [member associations] to properly plan their football calendar, those associations following a dual-year calendar are permitted to commence the “first registration period” for the 2020/21 season prior to the completion of the 2019/20 season, subject to certain conditions.’
This means that individual countries can open their transfer windows straight away should they want to, as has happened already in France, where the Ligue 1 season has been abandoned.
However, speaking last month, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters stated categorically that ‘The transfer window will open after the end of the season, it’s just a question of how long it goes on for’.
If England’s transfer window does not open until the end of the season – being the end of July – then it will give clubs in other countries the chance to sign players before United can do so.
This could have an immediate effect in the case of the likes of United targets Jude Bellingham, who is also being chased by Borussia Dortmund, Jadon Sancho and Donny Van de Beek, who are both reported to be targets for Real Madrid and Kai Havertz, who is being pursued by Bayern Munich.
FIFA has also ruled that ‘In order to avoid any concerns regarding unemployed players, players are permitted to be registered with a maximum of three clubs and are eligible to play in official matches for three clubs during the same season.’
This could have an effect on United’s loan deal policy, for example in relation to players such as Chris Smalling, Marcus Rojo, Alexis Sanchez and Dean Henderson, who could all in theory now have their loans extended at their current clubs beyond the start of next season without affecting United’s ability to recall them and loan them again within the 2020/21 term.
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