And so the EPL spending is under way, huge deals aplenty have been done, money spent as if it’s going out of fashion even if, in transfers involving foreign players, it doesn’t go as far as it used to following the Brexit vote. Paul Pogba, for instance, cost Manchester United about £10million more than he would have done had the move gone through in early June.
By Dave Bowler
Not that this appears to worry Premier League football clubs, especially at the top end. They are so awash in cash that they can simply throw it around and not worry. It’s much like the oil industry used to in its heyday. Made a mistake? Not to worry, here’s a suitcase full of used £50 notes, that’ll probably fix it.
As BP and their ilk found out, it’s an unsustainable model, especially if you end up spilling out over a coastline. In football’s case, it’s like missing out on the Champions League.
And if you are Tottenham, you must start to wonder if doing things the “right way”, by bringing through talent of your own and not spending quite the fortunes of the others, is worthwhile. From title challengers to perhaps sixth place in one year, that’s some demise, and an expensive one. You start to think already that their easiest way of getting into the Champions League next season might be to win it this one.
Of course, away from the gilded few, life continues to be a struggle of sorts. Clubs such as Crystal Palace, Swansea, West Bromwich Albion and Watford all have to wait patiently for the others to finish their business so that they can pick up what remains, what is surplus to the big boys’ requirements. It works like this. Those clubs can easily go and buy squad players, they could bring in half a dozen extra bodies without thinking about it, but hardly any of them are players who will substantially improve on what they’ve got.
Those clubs want better players. But those players will all be hoping that a move to the League’s second tier might yet be a possibility. It’s only when those players realize that they’re not wanted there that they will start to look at that third tier. Reluctantly perhaps, they may even agree to go there. And, once the third tier is done, then the likes of Burnley and Hull might get a go.
Now that is no real change in the way it’s always been, except that in the pre transfer window days, moves could be made ten months of the year and so that pecking order tended to be a little less corrosive than it is now when all the dealings are crammed into the summer.
When the bulk of clubs kick the first ball of the season, the transfer window is still open. With less than a fortnight to go, are we seeing that lower tier of clubs getting their opportunity. That means they’ve missed the chance to integrate new players across pre-season. Said new faces are going to be expected to hit the ground running with all the attendant pressure that brings.
Worse, the season is underway and teams will have played three games before the window closes. The opportunities for nine points will be gone before they can finalize their squads. In a league where the line between success and failure is so notoriously thin, that’s a lot of points. Surely the time has come now to move the window given that it is a purely artificial construct anyway? Where would the difference be in shifting it to July 31st instead of August 31st? Get all of the dealings out of the way good and early. Allow managers to get on with their jobs, knowing exactly what they have in their armoury.
Where’s the harm in that? Unless you are City, United or Chelsea and you lose a bit of your competitive advantage. Ah, yes, I see…