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Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Windows of opportunity?
Newcastle manager Bobby Robson with 5m signing Jermaine Jenas
The sale of Jermaine Jenas kept Forest afloat

The Premiership's big spenders are frantically trying to make their last signings before the transfer window slams shut on Saturday.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is eager to bring at least one new defender to Old Trafford as he bids for Premiership and Champions League glory.

Sunderland and Tottenham are both desperate to land a big-name striker to appease their restless supporters.


The benefits are obvious - a team starting a competition will stay together for at least part of it
Gerhard Aigner
Uefa president
The Premier League accepted the Fifa-imposed transfer windows some weeks ago.

But the Nationwide League, already reeling from the collapse of ITV Digital, is desperately unhappy at the prospect of four months without any transfer revenue.

There are two windows during which clubs are allowed to sign new players.

The first runs through the summer to 31 August and the second from 1 to 31 January.

The idea of the windows is to cool the over-heated transfer market and encourage continuity.

Gerhard Aigner, the president of Uefa, which also supports the idea of the windows, explains: "The benefits are obvious. One is that a team starting a competition will stay together for at least part of it."

Rather than buying their way out of trouble, clubs will now have to introduce young players and innovate tactically when they hit tricky times.

Chelsea striker Carlton Cole
Cole could get more chances for Chelsea
When Bolton slipped into the relegation zone last spring, they brought in foreign imports Freddie Bobic and Youri Djorkaeff.

They will not have that luxury this season.

The new system could be a window of opportunity for the likes of Chelsea's Carlton Cole and Jeremie Aliadiere, of Arsenal.

But for the lower league clubs, the disadvantages of the new system greatly outweigh the benefits.

Nationwide League spokesman John Nagle said: "To a specific club this could be a bigger issue than ITV Digital, because it may force them out of business.

"It just restricts them from being able to sell their players at any stage of the season when, as we know, smaller clubs often have a short-term need for cash."

Clubs will not be able to sell players when they need to avert the threat of financial disaster any more.


If clubs are limited in their ability to sign players they will have to carry bigger squads
John Nagle
Nationwide League spokesman
The 5m sale of Jermaine Jenas to Newcastle in February kept Nottingham Forest afloat, but they will not be able to do such a deal this season.

Nagle also argues that Nationwide clubs will have to keep bigger playing staffs because of the windows.

"If clubs are limited in their ability to sign players they will have to carry bigger squads.

"For example, they may have to carry a goalkeeper for a season just for him to cover three or four games."

The Premiership will suffer minimal discomfort from the new system, but for the Nationwide League, it could be another serious blow.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Newcastle boss Bobby Robson
"Our system worked well for all clubs"
West Brom manager Gary Megson
"It suits all the big teams"
Man Utd chief executive Peter Kenyon
"To us it's no big surprise"
See also:

26 Aug 02 | Man Utd
27 Aug 02 | Chelsea
Links to more Football stories are at the foot of the page.


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