Money Flies as English Soccer Transfer Deadline Approaches
By Tristan Robins, 1/25/17
Much like the NBA has used transfers to build superteams like the Golden State Warriors, teams in the Premier League are spending their way to success with record-breaking deals for some of the best soccer players in the world.
New managers at English clubs Manchester City and Manchester United have spent great amounts of money on transfers since taking over the managerial roles at their respective clubs.
City and United are not the only teams in the Premier League spending, though. In the past five seasons, Chelsea has trailed just behind City and United, followed by Liverpool and Tottenham with the rest of the league lagging behind.
These clubs have a combined average spending of £456.6 million per year over the past five years. Comparatively, the entire La Liga combined spent £413.89 million in the 2016 summer transfer window, according to ESPN FC. Due to the length and contracts, summer transfers account for over half of transfers every year.
Further, in 2014, the entire Premier League spent more than double what the La Liga spent.
Though the Premier League spends more money than other leagues, they can’t obtain the absolute best players.
“They are the richest league, so it makes sense they spend as much as they do. It affects other leagues, but the best players in the world don’t play there. Look at the World 11,” Liverpool fan Spencer Corno said. The World 11 is a fantasy team of the best players in the world.
On 2016’s World 11, 10 of the 11 players were from the La Liga.
Why is the Premier League spending so much?
Liverpool fan Greg Van Ort said English clubs are spending a large amount of money but he validated the reason for it. He said it is to remain known to the rest of the world and to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
Each season, the bottom three Premier League teams are relegated to the League Championship and the top three teams from the League Championship are promoted.
On the other hand, Corno said English clubs spend money because they have the money. “They have the commercial ad revenue, like the NBA, because of ad bonuses.”
Real Madrid fan Quinn Tommasino said he thought otherwise. He said the teams are trying to compete, and they’re doing so by “buying players from other leagues, which brings more diversity into England.”
Big spending by teams at the top
In August, United signed Paul Pogba from Italian club Juventus for £93.2 million. The signing came after newly instated manager José Mourinho replaced Louis van Gaal. It set the record for the most expensive transfer in soccer.
United is currently the leading candidate to sign Antoine Griezmann from Spanish Club Athletico Madrid this summer, with rumors of an offer worth £90 million. While this wouldn’t break the record, it would be a large investment for a team that just signed a world-record deal.
Griezmann is only one of United’s many targeted transfers. Other deals are speculated to reach £70 million, ESPN FC reports.
City, the crosstown rival of United, says it’s willing to offer £100 million for Lionel Messi from Spanish club Barcelona, which would break the record set by United.
This past summer, City underwent structural changes as manager Manuel Pellegrini was replaced by Pep Guardiola.
Under Guardiola’s management this summer, the team signed John Stones from a Premier League club, Nolito and Claudio Bravo from La Liga clubs, and Ilkay Gündogan and Leroy Sané from Bundesliga clubs. Additionally, on Jan. 19, City signed Gabriel Jesus from a Futebol Brasileiro club. These signings cost City £173.42 million.
British media is reporting that City is also hoping for a major summer signing in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Signing Aubameyang from German club Borussia Dortmund would cost City an additional £75 million.
Disparity in the Premier League
Teams at the bottom of the Premier League, however, don’t see the spending by City and United positively due to a growing separation between the top and bottom teams.
“Look at Leicester [last season], and look at them now. The teams that have money are consistently in the top five,” Corno said.
Leicester won the Premier League title last year, but now are near the bottom of the Premier League table, while Arsenal, City, Liverpool, Tottenham and United remain at the top.
Again, Tommasino disagreed. “Smaller teams are having good games against some of the stronger teams. I’ve been hearing a lot more of the smaller teams giving a harder time to the big shots,” he said.
The future of Premier League spending
The mid-season transfer window for English clubs closes Feb. 1 and the summer transfer window is open from July 1 to Sept. 1.