Scrap transfer window and reduce fees, says Bale's agent

MANCHESTER: One of European football’s leading player agents says the transfer window should be scrapped and deals permitted throughout the season.

The transfer window in Europe closed last week amid the annual flurry of moves and the high-profile collapse of Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea’s transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid.

"I think I would open it 365 days. It is just not right," Jonathan Barnett told delegates to the Soccerex convention on Tuesday.

"Clubs should have the right to buy and sell players, and players should have the right to move when they want.

“I just think it puts unnecessary pressure on everyone and on everything, and I just think it is unfair,” added Barnett, owner of the Stellar Group, who negotiated Gareth Bale’s record-breaking 100 million euro ($111.80 million) move from Tottenham to Real Madrid.

“I think it would make a better spectacle, as well, to have transfers all year round,” he added.

However, Barnett conceded that some curb might be necessary to avoid a title race being influenced unduly by late-season deals and said he would like to see a return to the system formerly used in England, which restricted transfers only after March.

“Maybe not (deals) in the last couple of weeks. I don’t think the old system was bad at all,’ he said, suggesting there might even be a commercial benefit for clubs in removing the summer transfer deadline.

“It might bring transfer fees down because then people wouldn’t be rushed into spending the money they do at the last minute,” he said.

But one area where Barnett would like to see limits is in clubs' use of temporary player loans.

The issue has come to the fore after Chelsea increased their number of players on loan to other clubs to 33 during the latest transfer window.

“I think you have to look very closely at that - I don’t think it is very healthy for the players. I am an agent for the players and my concern would be that it doesn’t do them good,” he said.

Barnett, whose Stellar Group represents hundreds of athletes, including many English Premier League footballers, said he was opposed to proposed changes from FIFA that would cap agents' earnings on deals while removing the licensing system.

"They are completely illegal. We are fighting that in Brussels and we will fight it everywhere," he said.