Premier League clubs should all implement the 'sell before you buy' transfer policy

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Just seven days into December and, for most football fans, one thing is on their minds - the January transfer window.

Yes, the post-Christmas period in which clubs splash vast amounts of money on players in a desperate attempt to revive their season will soon be upon us, much to the relief of some sections of supporters.

However, for one Premier League manager, January means facing the prospect of again yielding a significantly reduced transfer kitty.


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In an interview with BBC WM's Rob Gurney last week, West Bromwich Albion's director of football administration, Richard Garlick, revealed manager Tony Pulis will have to follow a policy of 'sell before you buy' next month.

Not the news Pulis would have wanted to hear as Garlick's words hit him with an almost strikingly frightening air of familiarity.

The Englishman left his previous managerial post at Crystal Palace due to a dispute over the size of his transfer budget, with there no suggestion he will do the same this time.

Yet if Pulis doesn't receive the backing he requires, he might be inclined to consider leaving the Baggies in a similar fashion.

West Brom currently lie 13th in the Premier league, only six points off the drop, with Pulis likely to have seen January as the ideal opportunity to bolster his side's thin squad.

Garlick's comments, to the contrary, have surely signalled the departure of one of their prized assets - Saido Berahino. The 22-year-old striker has scored three goals in 11 appearances this season and was subject to three transfer offers from Tottenham Hotspur during the summer transfer window.

The England international is hot property with plenty of clubs chasing his signature, and coupled with West Brom’s need to 'sell in order to buy', Berahino will almost certainly be waving goodbye to the Hawthorns in the very near future. 

And while Pulis might bemoan the lack of spending power at his disposal, Garlick’s blueprint of living within your means and employing a 'sell before you buy' strategy is actually the most logical way of approaching a transfer window.

With more and more clubs in debt and the sad stories of clubs such as Rangers, Portsmouth and Parma, who have found themselves trapped in financial turmoil, is becoming a regular fixture in football.

The above is evidence that, if clubs continue to overspend, football will struggle to sustain itself. Even Premier League powerhouses like Manchester United, overspending by throwing money at French teenagers, is not the way forward.

'Sell before you buy' should be the model for all clubs from Chelsea to Chelmsley. Arsenal's Arsene Wenger might have got plenty of stick for his transfer policy over the years and Pulis will not be pleased with what he has to spend in January, but such perceived 'tightness' is essential for longevity in football.

The Premier League and Football League must maintain, rather than weaken, their financial muscle to ensure a sustainable beautiful game and not cause a financial disaster.

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