The European 'transfer window' has opened for the first time since it's introduction to English football. Transfer windows have been a feature of the major European leagues for many seasons, but the system has been imposed on English clubs by UEFA in an attempt to bring parity to participants in European competitions and avoid legal action by European based players over restriction of movement. Under the new system transfers are only allowed to take place during a period in January, 2003.
Many have voiced dissent at the imposition of the system and there is no doubt there will be implications for many aspects of the Premiership. Arsenal's vice-chairman David Dein is one influential figure who opposed the new system, saying, "The English clubs did not want it, they were very happy with the existing system but, due to no fault of our own, we have had thrust upon us a new system which makes life more difficult." Dein continued, "We were robustly opposed to it but were advised by Uefa that we had to comply and we have no alternative but to comply against our will. "
No doubt Dein's anxiety over the new system was heightened by The Gunner's last minute search to bring in goalkeeping cover for David Seaman. The Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger has already seen Stuart Taylor (broken finger) and Rami Shaaban (broken leg) spend time in the physio room, and the Frenchman is weary that injuries in such a key position could ruin Arsenal's defence of the championship. At one stage during the 2001 - 2002 season Wenger was without both his first and second choice keeper due to injury, with Seaman undergoing shoulder surgery and Wright suffering a knee injury. England under 21 international Taylor deputised ably, but Wenger is aware that to win the title again and make an impact in Europe a club must have three top class keepers. The new transfer system means that even the clubs who can afford it can't go out and buy a ready made replacement for an injured player.