Sports media outlets throughout the globe went appropriately gaga at the return of the Premier League last weekend.
‘The product’ whirred into action, honking away, with its little lights blinking furiously, in the building towards the inevitable crescendo of noise that will explode in a rage of indignant injustice rage, referee abuse, goal euphoria and offside fury.
Arsenal fans got nearly all of those on the board in the disaster that was the 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
However, the league that is constantly being lauded as ‘the best in the world’, by people definitely with absolutely no vested interest in its success, was be a lesser spectacle when it kicked off for another few months of mayhem.
Three reasons why the Premier League is genuinely quite an exciting competition were missing – and it is all the fault of that dastardly transfer window.
Ok, the annual summer meat market isn’t solely to blame, but it certainly has a major influence in the reasoning for the quality of the competition being damaged this weekend.
The three reasons being referred to are Gareth Bale, Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez – a trio of the Premier League’s most magnificent players.
Only one of the three appeared at the weekend and all are embroiled in drawn out attempts to secure moves away from their respective clubs.
Granted, Suarez is suspended after his Branislav Ivanovic chomp, but you can bet your bottom, top and middle dollars that he would be conspicuous by his absence.
Never mind all Brendan Rodgers’ talk about “resolving the situation”, Suarez was adamant he wanted out and a number of days training on his own was not the preparation he needed for a possible first match of the season.
Arsenal have had their pre-season ruined, and subsequently their first match, because a raft of injuries were not covered by the new quality promised by the Gunners chief executive at the start of the season.
The transfer window shutting three weeks into a new season has caused all sorts of trouble, what with the inevitable brinkmanship that will occur when any deadline is attached to a transfer in football.
Despite Tottenham getting off to a winning start over new boys Crystal Palace, they just do not look the same when Bale is absent.
They look like they are preparing for his departure with a number of new faces coming in, but it will take time for them to bed down.
Bale may well be departing the league all together, but a mooted world record transfer would allow for some pretty special replacements to be brought in.
Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney provided two assists after coming on in Manchester United’s straightforward win over Swansea City, though his body language suggested he was not entirely happy.
Therein lies the problem with the transfer window closing on September 2 when the Premier League begins on August 17. If there was any sense in the setting of Deadline Day, it would be at the very least a week before the season begins and would open as soon as the season ends.
There is an argument that says transfer deadline day provides a bit of drama early in the season, but if that is your idea of entertainment you probably need to reassess how you spend your leisure time.
Not having some of the biggest names playing, or playing half-heartedly, is ultimately devaluing to ‘the product’.
End the transfer window before the season starts and you allow teams to have squad issues sorted before the first kick-off, giving new players at least a chance to acclimatise to new surroundings and teammates.
Premier League clubs that have settled squads ready to go for the first fixture will be in better shape, more coherent and should, theoretically, put in better performances.
The better the performances, the better the football and so the Premier League looks more attractive – everybody wins.