ENGLISH football will signal a return to “normality” by putting this year’s summer transfer window back to its regular place in the calendar.
Premier League and FA chiefs have already begun discussing the window dates.
And unless there is another unexpected lockdown, clubs will have three months from early June to complete their transfer business.
The plan is for this year’s window to run from June 9 to August 31, representing 13 weeks of trading opportunities.
Last summer, as a direct result of the pandemic and three month shutdown extending the season, the window ran from July 27 to October 5.
But with all major leagues back on schedule, a return to the regular slot is a further signal that, even if crowds may not be back for some time, football is beginning to emerge from the crisis.
Last year, the window closed on October 5, but an additional domestic-only window then ran for another two weeks.
Premier League clubs still managed to conduct a number of high-profile deals last summer, despite feeling the pinch from the coronavirus pandemic.
Chelsea were the league’s top spenders, splashing £226.1m on fresh talent, including Timo Werner (£45m), Hakim Ziyech (£37m), Edouard Mendy (£22m) and Ben Chilwell (£50m).
And their headline recruit Kai Havertz was the league’s most expensive new acquisition – arriving from Bayer Leverkusen for £70m.
The Blues were able to splash the cash after being restricted by a transfer embargo last season – and by getting good fees for the likes of Alvaro Morata and Mario Pasalic.
Manchester City were unsurprisingly second biggest spenders, splashing cash on Nathan Ake (£41m) and Ferran Torres (£37m) early on in the window.
And Pep Guardiola’s side responded to their shambolic 5-2 defeat against Leicester City by splurging a further £64.5m on defender Ruben Dias from Benfica.
Aston Villa responded to squandering over £100m in last season’s market by this time spending another £85m – although signings like Ollie Watkins appear to have actually hit the ground running this time around.
And Leeds United wasted no time following their promotion back to the top flight, recruiting the likes of Rodrigo, Robin Koch and Diego Llorente – as well as Raphinha from Rennes on Deadline Day.
Arsenal signed midfielder Thomas Partey after meeting the £45m release clause in his Atletico Madrid contract.
And champions Liverpool picked up Thiago Alcantara from Champions League winners Bayern Munich for £20m and spent £40m on Diogo Jota from Wolves.