Can clubs afford the £225million they spent in January?

by Simon Baystead

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

The recession is finally over! Or so it must be if you consider the record-breaking £225million spent this January by English clubs, compared to the measly £30million spent last January.

The excitement of transfer deadline day seems to send the footballing world crazy. Inflated prices are now part and parcel of transfer windows, as clubs scramble around to get the paper work sorted so that last minute deal can go through. But how can anyone afford such inflated prices for players such as Andy Carroll? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a pop at Andy, but can anyone justify the price Liverpool paid for him?

It would almost be a cliché to immediately point the finger at foreign owners for the inflation we see around us now. However surely they must take some of the blame. After all, if it wasn’t for Roman Abramovich’s entrance onto the scene in 2003, Chelsea wouldn’t have set two British transfer records for Andrei Shevchenko in 2006 and now Fernando Torres in 2011. Then we can look at Manchester City’s owner Sheikh Mansour, who has obviously helped them on their way to what could certainly be a top-4 finish this season, with a complete revamp of the Manchester City squad since 2008.

The main issue this now creates is debt. Chelsea have just announced £70.9million in losses, despite their Premier League and F.A Cup success last term. Which begs the question: how could they afford to pay over £70million for both Torres and Luiz? This also puzzled Arsene Wenger who questioned the logic in Chelsea’s spending after Roman Abramovich announced his backing of the upcoming Uefa financial fair play initiative.

“In the morning they announce a £70m loss, in the afternoon buy £75m worth of players. Where’s the logic in that?” – Arsene Wenger

Uefa’s rule change means clubs will have to break-even over a 3 year period starting in 2012-2013. This is set to make it much harder for clubs like Chelsea and Man City whom rely heavily on their owners to pay for transfers and player wages. Such teams will be banned from European competitions if they are spending more than they earn.

So can we expect these inflated prices to drop? Hopefully we can. However some of the damage is already done. All clubs now feel they can slap outrageous price tags on their players because of the high prices that have been paid for players in recent years. Not to mention that the nationality of players can add some cost, as English clubs begin their search for British talent to meet Premier League squad restrictions.

So with these new regulations we may see less exciting transfer windows, with fewer inflated buys. Although perhaps some equality within transfer prices and owner investment in clubs. In any case, the question still remains on how Chelsea could afford such outgoings. I’ll ponder this whilst I wonder how both Torres and Carroll could be worth more than £34million man David Villa.

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  • Tom-Gooner

    I completely agree with this! i think teams like city ruin the game with their incredible spendings. And i thought chelsea had stopped spending so much now obviously not. And with players only joining clubs just for larger wages i feel is unloyal, especailly in january what says they wont do it again next january if they are unhappy?
    Samir Nasri is set to accept a 5 year contract with a small amount of £75,000 compared to other players in chelsea and city! To me he should be earning double that as he’s a loyal player!

  • Andy J Mc

    This is where the teams up here in Scotland suffer from the expense of teams in the likes of the premiership paying £35m for a player worth probably £10-12m MAX. While teams in the premiership get relegated and get 20 odd million while doing so and Scottish teams win our premiership and only win £2m, this calls for a balance in the game.

    When a team comes in to buy a player within, for example, Rangers they pay roughly £5m-£10m MAX for a player, however if they were buying him within the premiership he would be valued £15m.

    This in question just destroys our chances and when teams like chelsea are recording losses and still buying players for £50m it just shows how Money does talk within the game!

  • Mike O’hogain

    It has to be said that Arsene Wenger is so far ahead on the way a football club is run.

    1. He doesn’t bow to pressure to sign a big name player. (However annoying it may be to a Loyal Gooner(me).
    2.He never gets caught by other clubs to pay big, because they know he’ll either walk or wait. Because if Arsenal come knocking for a player, clubs know a large price will not be paid. But, if chelsea or Man City come for the same player the price will double, if not triple.
    3.He will leave the club with a legacy. The club will be a better place in terms of football and financially. He is in the job for his own good, but always act in the best interest of the club.

    In Arsene We Trust.

  • Sii-09

    Gotta agree with the comment above, Wenger definitely sets a good example in the way transfers etc. are handled. I also do know a few gooners who wish he’d splash some more cash sometimes though!!
    Even as a Spurs fan I can respect the work Wenger has done with his time at Arsenal.

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