Transfer news

Gillot wants end of January window

February 4, 2013
By Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Bordeaux coach Francis Gillot believes the winter transfer window should be closed permanently to avoid a repeat of the damaging exodus of talent Ligue 1 suffered in January.

Francis Gillot
PA PhotosFrancis Gillot would prefer a January free of any transfers

Gillot saw leading scorer Yoan Gouffran leave Les Girondins for Newcastle United in the winter transfer window - one of 26 Ligue 1 players to exit the country last month.

While 21 players arrived in France, only the €45 million switch of Brazil international Lucas Moura to Paris Saint-Germain upstaged the departures of a host of established Ligue 1 performers, including France internationals Yann M'Vila, Loic Remy, Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Moussa Sissoko.

"Ligue 1 is in danger, and it is only going to get worse as they are talking about going back to the 75% rate of tax [on income over €1 million-a-year]," Gillot is reported as saying in L'Equipe, which conducted a poll of Ligue 1 club presidents and coaches on the subject. "We have to put an end to the January transfer window. That would be a good way to stop the exodus, and players would have their heads turned less as of 1 December."

Of the 40 who replied to the paper, 22 wanted the winter transfer window scrapped.

PSG boss Carlo Ancelotti remains in favour of it, particularly as he was able to ease tension within his squad last month by allowing fringe players to seek more playing time elsewhere.

"Here, a lot of guys like [Mathieu] Bodmer, [Mohamed] Sissoko, [Diego] Lugano and [Guillaume] Hoarau have used it this winter to leave," he said.

However, the Italian's opinion is not shared by the majority of his colleagues in the dug-out, with nearly two thirds wanting an end to a month of constant speculation, reshuffling and uncertainty.

"I've been saying for years that the winter transfer window should not exist for the simple reason of sporting fairness," Nice coach Claude Puel said. "There's a summer window, and it's then that you should build a team and take the right decisions. It seems logical to me that you should assume the consequences with the squad that you have after that."

The upside of talent seeping away from Ligue 1 is financial, with clubs recouping some €45 million - more than three times the total amassed the previous year. With the professional clubs in France's top two tiers burdened with a cumulative debt of €107 million, the sport's financial watchdog in France - the DNCG - keeping a close eye on accounts, and financial fair play looming, club presidents are split evenly on the matter.

"In sporting terms, I don't think there's a great impact on Ligue 1 clubs. It's an opportunity to dip into the market for the leading sides," Marseille president Vincent Labrune is quoted as saying. "Also, given the financial difficulties of French clubs, it means many clubs can meet the requirements of the DNCG."

Though he was able to take advantage of the winter window to offload Fabian Monzon and Michel Bastos to ease his club's financial concerns, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas does want change, preferring an extension of the summer sales.

"The transfer window should stop every year from the first qualifying round of the Europa League and start on the day of the Champions League final," he said.