THEY SAY that when it comes to politics, it takes hard players to make a deal.

This is on the basis that their tough reputation allows them to compromise. This theory will be tested over the coming year, as Boris Johnson's government seeks a trade deal with the EU-27. With his massive majority after last week's election, he is in a strong position to deal and if he compromises he should deliver.

If rumours are right, his chief negotiator with Brussels will be Michael Gove. He is a skilled player, if not someone you would relish spending time with. His Brexit credentials are sound enough to head off criticism from the Brexiteers of the Tory party, but he is someone who can see the need for a workable deal.

These are two positives for what might be termed Team Boris. On the other side will be the EU's new trade commissioner, the former farm commissioner Phil Hogan – and politicians, Johnson included, do not come tougher than Hogan.

Like Gove and Johnson, he knows a deal makes sense and will cut through red tape to achieve it. He has been a long time critic of Brexit but his key focus will be a deal that is positive for Ireland in terms of access to the UK market. He is at heart a deal maker and will ignore officials who tell him procedures must be followed. His instinct will be to secure a deal and he will delegate well to key players he trusts to get it done. He is genial and outgoing and will use his undoubted 'Big Phil' charm to get a deal done. In agriculture he proved he had an ability to focus on issues that are obstacles to progress.

That makes the odds of a deal good, but arrogance at his election victory led to what could be a major flaw in the Johnson approach. His love of macho-posturing prompted him to write into law a December 2020 end to the transition period that is part of leaving the EU.

He believes this will up the stakes with Brussels for a deal, but that is a double edged sword when you are 27 to one down in a negotiation. It has always been more important with Brexit to get it right rather than get it quickly. There is truth in the adage that rushed deals end up bad deals. We have wasted three years since the referendum spinning our wheels, but that is not a sound reason for the UK to box itself in before the negotiation even begins. Doing so has no logic and it is not a good plan to bring to a negotiation. Most people recognise the difference between confidence, which is positive, and arrogance. That is not a distinction recognised by Boris Johnson.

The EU is already saying the timescale of less than a year is too short. It will actually only be eleven months, given that it cannot begin until the end of January, with some suggestions it could be mid-March before it is fully up and running. This is without allowing for the major cabinet reshuffle Johnson has suggested for February.

In theory a deal should be possible, in that we are already trading partners with the EU, have similar standards and both sides are committed to a deal. However trade negotiations can never be easy. The ideal outcome would be if everything continued as now, but the UK government will not remain in a customs union and wants to pick and choose the EU regulations it accepts. That is not a position that will go down well in Brussels – as much as it may want a deal, the UK opening position is a non-starter.

What the UK government wants is a Canada-style free trade deal, but there is a big difference in terms of scale. Canada and the EU have a limited level of trade. By contrast, the EU is the UK's biggest export market and for many products, the UK is member states' biggest market.

These are obstacles to a deal, but based on economic logic it will happen. It was a silly decision to restrict that negotiation, but there is no reason for an outline deal not to be agreed while negotiations continue. Political bluff that might be for the UK government, but that is something to which Boris Johnson is no stranger.