There is just a chance, a small chance, that commonsense might break out in English football in the next two weeks, writes Frank Malley.
Just a chance that billionaire owners will stand up and be counted and that players with money beyond reason will not get their own way for a change.
There is just a chance that contracts will be honoured and that talent and skill will be put above the size of the bank balance.
After a summer of constant speculation and interminable wrangling Wayne Rooney might stay at Manchester United after all, Luis Suarez might continue to ply his trade at Anfield and even Gareth Bale, Tottenham’s £105million-rated star, might spend another year at White Hart Lane.
The fickleness of football means they might all just as easily move on, of course, because money talks and tends to get louder and louder as the transfer deadline approaches.
Yet the fact is that none of the summer’s proposed moves for Rooney, Suarez or Bale make any sense for their current clubs and there appears to be an increasing resolve to keep them. You can see why.
Why would Manchester United boss David Moyes want to lose Rooney to Chelsea, the club most likely to threaten United’s defence of their league title?
Rooney is in his prime and at his best is the creative spark in a United team which has not replaced the unique talents of Paul Scholes.
Why would Liverpool want to lose Suarez, arguably the Premier League’s most influential player last season despite his biting antics, to an Arsenal side who could be their biggest obstacle to a Champions League place?
Suarez is tough to manage but he ensures goals and most managers will put up with just about anything for such a guarantee.
Why would Tottenham want to lose Bale? Okay £105million is a persuasive argument but clubs desperate to take that leap to the next level need to keep their marquee players. There is little future in being a selling club.
The point is that all three clubs would be immeasuarably weakened if the proposed transfers went through. So, here’s a thought, don’t sell and strike a blow against player power.
But you cannot keep a disgruntled player, can you?
Well, yes, you can, if the club has an astute manager and the players are the type with huge pride in their own individual performance and a committed work ethic. The three in question, plus their managers, tick all those boxes.
Yet anything could still happen in the next two weeks. And that is football’s biggest folly.
There is simply no reason why the transfer window, which closes on September 2, should be extended past the start of the football season.
Fans have bought season tickets expecting to see their club’s biggest stars for the next 10 months. Managers have had three months to formalise their plans.
What is the point of letting it all be altered+ by what is often the whim of desperate men prepared to chuck a few extra noughts into the pot as the deadline approaches.
It makes no sense to allow the uncertainty and disruption inherent in transfer negotiations to take a bite out of a new season when optimism of fans and the focus of players are at their peak.
The transfer window should close one week, preferably two, before the season opens. That really would be commonsense.