Between the Lines

"Of all unimportant subjects, football is the most important" – Pope John Paul II

Premier League clubs face difficult transfer window

Posted by hakanrylander on June 29, 2009

The transfer window doesn’t officially open until Wednesday but of course a lot of activity is already underway. The early signs are that the top Premier League clubs are finding it difficult to lure stars from Italy, Spain and Germany. United (Ronaldo, Tevez), Arsenal (Adebayor) and Liverpool (Mascherano, Alonso) are all in danger of losing, or have already lost, star players and are apparently finding it difficult to replace them. While Chelsea are reported to have made a number of unsuccessful recruitment attempts (Pato, Villa). The only exception is City, whose bottomless pockets enable them not only to pay high transfer fees but also offer ridiculous pay-packets such as the reported £200,000 per week after tax to Samuel Eto’o.

The reason for these difficulties is not that the PL is less attractive from a sporting perspective. Remember three out of four semi-finalists in the CL were English. Instead the problem is that the PL is financially less competitive than a year ago.

This is partly because Real Madrid have gone bananas, but also and more fundamentally because of the fall of the pound. Even though the pound has strengthened against the euro in recent months, it is still 11 percent weaker than it was a year ago. This makes it more expensive for British clubs to buy players from euro-countries, and also to pay their wages. Furthermore, the tax rate on high earners (anyone earning more than £150,000 a year) was raised in the latest government budget, meaning that top players (or indeed any first team player) earn more after tax in Spain or Italy compared to England.

This might very well be the summer when the tide turns and more top players move away from rather than towards England. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

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3 Responses to “Premier League clubs face difficult transfer window”

  1. JLC21 said

    Would it really be so bad if more top players left England? Not for United, it wouldn’t be. We’ve already lost two top players, so it can only help us if other teams lose their elite players as well.

    In the long run, I don’t doubt our ability to develop and attract world-class players. But I’m perfectly OK with some more balance between leagues. Makes for an easier league, and a more exciting Champions League.

  2. hakanrylander said

    Cheers JLC21, and thanks for your comment. You have a point, but I suppose it depends on which way you look at it. United would have a better chance of winning the championship next season if Alonso, Mascherano and Adebayor left, but the PL as a whole would be poorer for it (and even worse off if favourites like Essien and Torres left).
    I agree that balance between leagues is a good thing. It would be nice to see really strong teams emerge from e.g. Holland, France and Portugal, like they have in the past. Maybe I’m just arguing from a narrow personal perspective 🙂 since I only occasionally watch the Italian and Spanish leagues while I follow the PL very closely, and would therefore like to see as many stars as possible there.

  3. RedJack said

    Has anyone heard anything about Kyle Naughton from Sheff Utd coming for around £7mill?

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