Transfer deadline day: Why the big summer sale comes early this year

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For the first time in history, the summer transfer window will slam shut before the start of the new Premier League season.

It is a long-awaited change for most top clubs, who for years have complained that allowing the window to remain open after the season has begun is unsettling for players and managers alike.

But the earlier closure could well rob the big day of some of its drama, with Wayne Rooney finally moving from Everton to Manchester United on 31 August after a summer of speculation back in 2004.

That deadline also often forced clubs that had made a bad start to the campaign to do some late business, with Arsenal signing five players in the final days of the window after being trounced 8-2 by rivals Manchester United in August 2011.

So, when is the new deadline?

Clubs in the Premier League – as well teams across the three Sky Bet EFL divisions – have until 5pm on Thursday to finish their incoming business.

If a deal is going close to the wire, a deal sheet can be submitted to give the parties involved an extra two hours to get all the documentation in order.

The deadline has been set with the first game of the new season in mind, as Manchester United and Leicester City open the Premier League campaign live on Sky Sports on Friday night.

But it is worth noting that the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two have all already got started, so those sides will still be able to sign players on loan and bring in free agents until the old deadline of 31 August.

:: Sky Sports – Transfer Centre LIVE!

Why has it changed?

Sky sources understand that 14 of the 20 Premier League clubs voted to move the deadline forward.

Top flight managers have complained about the uncertainty created by the late deadline, and the outgoing chief executive of the Premier League has admitted it had been cause for concern.

Last year, England star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared to have his mind elsewhere when he played for Arsenal in a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Liverpool just four days before the window shut.

He ended up moving to Anfield on deadline day.

Do European leagues do it differently?

France, Germany and Spain will all be open for business until 31 August, although Italy will close two weeks earlier in time for the start of the new Serie A campaign.

The later deadlines across the continent could end up putting a number of English clubs at a disadvantage.

Real Madrid are widely expected to make a move for Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois – who is failing to turn up to training in a bid to force a move – and have three more weeks to do so.

But Chelsea only have one more day to find a replacement, which they would likely be signing in advance of any sale of their Belgian number one.

Newspapers are also full with reports about Manchester United’s Paul Pogba – some suggest he could be on his way to Barcelona and that he has asked for a £200,000 a week pay rise to stay with United.

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