The circus that is the transfer window has become as much a part of the entertainment experience as the football but, with the season now in full swing, managers have had enough of all the absurd moving and shaking intrigue.
While they got ready for the second round of Premier League matches this weekend, the communal grumbling was becoming ever louder as leading managers moaned about unsettled players and big-money poaching when all they wanted to do was prepare their teams to play football.
Why, they ask plaintively, does the window need to stay open for another two and a half weeks until the start of September, causing only distraction and unrest among their squads, when under a more sensible system every deal could have been done before the season started?
Roberto Martinez, Everton’s manager, and Louis van Gaal, Manchester United’s boss, had already expressed their annoyance about the window’s unnecessary influence on the opening games of the season before Swansea City’s Garry Monk really went to town on Friday.
“Ludicrous” and “stupid”, Monk called it.
He is one of the bright young bosses who did his homework and some tidy business in the market before the window opened.
If there was any justice, he believes, Swansea would be rewarded for their shrewd husbandry with an attractive, settled side ready to take on the best without having to worry about some of their best players being tapped up by bigger fish once the season was underway.
Instead, Monk finds after his side’s excellent opening-day 2-2 draw at champions Chelsea that his captain Ashley Williams is being linked to clubs with more financial muscle, like Everton, which could potentially destabilise his team by the end of the month with the season four games old.
“I think it’s ludicrous it goes into the season,” Monk told reporters. “It’s stupidity.”
He believes middle-ranking clubs like Swansea suffer more from a system that allows the big spenders to keep window shopping for what look like early-season bargains.
“It doesn’t benefit clubs like us. If you do your preparation right you should be able to bring the players in before the first game of the season and I think that’s when the cut-off point should be, that Friday night before the season kicks off,” explained Monk.
Yet you do not have to be one of the more modest clubs to still find your team being unsettled as Van Gaal, manager of arguably the world’s biggest club, has discovered. Unless you are Real Madrid, no-one is safe.
The David de Gea saga, during which Van Gaal’s goalkeeper has, according to media reports, told his manager that he does not want to play for the club because his mind is too unsettled over Real’s transfer interest, has clearly irritated an easily-irritated boss.
“Every manager in the world doesn’t like that the transfer period is continuing when the competition has started. You have to move the transfer period,” said Van Gaal.
“It’s better for everybody, better for the players, better for the clubs and better for the preparation.”
Martinez has long advocated the window should end before the season is underway and his view has been reinforced by the continuing pursuit of one of his best players, defender John Stones, by Chelsea despite the London club having had two bids turned down.
The Spanish manager says it has had an impact on his squad. “The window, when it is open and we have to prepare for official games, is very, very unfair. I don’t think it is right,” he said.
“I think we should have a period where we assemble our squad and then once the first league game starts everyone is focused.”