Premier League clubs have voted to usher in changes that will see the summer transfer window close before the first game of the season from 2018 onwards.

As confirmed in an official release from the league, the deadline for incoming deals and new player registration for next summer and beyond will close at 17.00 BST on the Thursday before fixtures are slated to begin. The 2018 January window will operate as usual.

Sales to clubs from countries where the window remains open are unaffected, meaning that protracted sagas like the one involving Barcelona's pursuit of wantaway Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho may still occur in future.

However, it is hoped that the alteration will stop the sort of damaging uncertainty that cast a real shadow over the first three weeks of the season with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Virgil van Dijk, Danny Drinkwater and Gylfi Sigurdsson all the subject of high-profile domestic transfer wrangles.

The issue was previously discussed at length at two shareholders' meetings in February and June, with a vote taken on Thursday (7 September). The necessary two-thirds majority was achieved by a narrow margin, with 14 clubs said to have been in favour, five against and one abstaining.

"There was a big concern that the Premier League has been playing two or three match rounds with a degree of uncertainty between themselves," Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore told Sky Sports.

"It wasn't unanimous but nobody was pathologically angry about the situation. But there were some concerns by some clubs that, although they wouldn't be able to buy any more players, their players could still be picked off by those who haven't closed their windows. It just meant they couldn't support it.

"We did have managers' meetings before the season started. The managers are very strong on it. Almost all of them were in favour of shutting it earlier. The clubs just think it's wrong that, going into the first game of the season, they could be playing against a player that, a few weeks later, could be playing for a different club."

At this stage the change is only applicable to Premier League sides, but the English Football League (EFL) could also follow suit after tabling the matter for discussion with clubs later this month. They have always maintained that an earlier close to the window would be an improvement on the current situation.

Other European leagues look set to continue as normal, a fact which some clubs fear will put them at a distinct disadvantage. It is also worth nothing that the changes will come into effect during a World Cup year, meaning that Premier League clubs will have even less time to try and get deals over the line.

Premier League trophy
The transfer window will be done and dusted by the time the Premier League season starts in 2018