Transfer Spending Reaches New Heights

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Rather than spending so much to acquire a single player, I’d like to see clubs invest money to improve their youth academies.

Lavish spending among Europe’s big clubs is making the transfer market a highly competitive affair. Premier League clubs smashed the £1 billion mark during a single transfer window. The two Manchester clubs and Chelsea all spent over £100m last summer.

FIFA’s analysis shows that big five countries — England, Spain, Italy, Germany, and France — are on a spending spree. Last summer’s transfer window exceeded £2.75 billion, even though the number of deals went up only slightly (+6.2%).

Courtesy: The Local France

PSG secured Neymar Junior from Barcelona for a world-record fee of £203m and also signed Kylian Mbappe from Monaco (on an initial loan move with an option to buy) for a fee close to £165m. The spending spree continued with Barcelona paying a staggering £143.6m to acquire Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund.

Premier League clubs joined in. Manchester United and Chelsea spent a whopping £90m and £70m on Romelu Lukaku and Alvaro Morata, respectively. Manchester City spent in excess of £100m for full backs Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker.

The pattern is continuing now that the 2018 January transfer window is open–even though transfer business is typically lighter this time of year because the season is at the halfway point. This year it’s different. Big teams are again demonstrating their financial power, despite UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules and regulations that are designed to keep clubs’ spending in check.

Barcelona and Liverpool are leading the pack. Barcelona paid £146m to secure Philippe Coutinho’s signature, while Liverpool paid an unbelievable £75m to secure the signature of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton. The latter deal made the Dutch international the world’s most expensive defender, breaking the £50m barrier that PSG paid in 2014 to secure David Luis from Chelsea.

The big question now is how lavish spending will affect the game itself.

Coutinho transfers (photo, Daily Mirror)

While a definitive answer remains to be seen, it’s clear that there are positives and negatives to what’s happening. The good thing is that the moves enhance team quality. It also enables big-name players to showcase their skills. But the worrying side is just as clear: lesser teams are finding it more difficult to compete. It’s not just about big names joining big clubs. It’s also about lesser teams struggling to retain their best players. Smaller market teams simply can’t compete with big-name clubs when it comes to compensating players.

Big clubs used to develop homegrown talent from their academies. Iniesta, Messi, and Bosquet, for example, were products of the Barcelona academy. That’s the avenue I prefer. Rather than spending so much to acquire a single player, I’d like to see clubs invest money to improve their youth academies. That approach would enable clubs to compete on level ground.

Let’s face it. With so much money being spent on transfers, that level ground is disappearing.


About Geoffrey Ofoegbu

I’m from Abuja, Nigera. I have passion for football (soccer) and enjoy writing articles about the clubs, managers, players, and anything connected with the game. It has always been my dream to be a sport columnist. Joining the team at TSC is a stepping stone to fulfilling that dream–launching a career in the sports industry. Sport of Expertise: Football, Basketball. Favorite Teams: Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Chelsea, Arsenal. Favorite Players: Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez, Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos, David Silva, Yaya Toure, Antonio Valencia.

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