LONDON: The Premier League’s record-breaking new television deal does not take wings until next year; this would be difficult to guess judging by the way clubs are spending already with July not even at an end writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Their reasoning is simple: everyone wants to retain at least their current status when the £5.136bn over three years comes on-stream.
This means that the newly-promoted clubs will fight tooth and nail (and money) to cling on to their new-found status, the mid-table clubs spend for fear of being dragged down into the risk zone and the title contenders continue spending as they have always done to remain ahead of the pack and each other.
Hence summer spending, which has tripled in the last 10 years, is still rising with £500m spent in the last few weeks.
Liverpool are a classic case. Last year manager Brendan Rodgers banked nearly £100m from the sale of Luis Suarez and three other players and spent it all on players who have contributed little to the cause (Emre Can and Adam Lallama may yet prove worth his patience).
This summer Rodgers, having lost Raheem Sterling to Manchester City, is spending as much as again. As with all transfers, there is no guarantee that any of them will prove more successful than last year’s mixed bunch but Rodgers, almost like a gambler at Las Vegas, is optimistic than one chip on the right number will break the house.
Rodgers took his summer spending beyond £75m with the £32.5m signing of Christian Benteke from Aston Villa, the second most expensive purchase in the club’s history. He is Liverpool’s seventh acquisition after the arrivals of James Milner (fee-free from City), Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan, Nathaniel Clyne, Roberto Firmino and Joe Gomez.
Manchester United, left behind badly in the transfer market for the past two years because of managerial turmoil, have made no such mistake this year.
The signing of Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton for £25m took United’s spending towards £80m. They will probably spend more. Manager Louis Van Gaal wants another striker to replace Robin Van Persie and possibly another leftback.
Money is no problem, even without the TV deal. United remain one of world football’s commercial giants and there will be £46m coming in once Angel Di Maria’s move on to Paris Saint-Germain has been signed and sealed.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, having spent only £10m thus far on Petr Cech, has sniffed derisively at United’s spending. Wenger wondered out loud what happened to Sir Alex Ferguson’s former strategy of mixing big-money signings with big-talent youth products.
All it shows that even United have become caught up in the latest frantic money-go-round.
Of course the likes of City and United, Arsenal and Liverpool are all chasing Chelsea who have been surprisingly quiet thus far. But Jose Mourinho is expected to force Everton into submission over young England central defender John Stones and, though Radamel Falcao provides attacking back-up, Barcelona’s Pedro remains on his wish list.
Mourinho has said openly that he needs a new leftback is needed after Filipe Luis’s return to Atletico de Madrid. He has not said he will be spending on anyone else. But then, Mourinho has not said he will not, either.
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