Another orgy of spending by the big fat European football clubs has passed us by. Though theoretically we are moving towards and era of fiscal responsibility, helped by new UEFA guidelines coming next year, it seems most of the rich clubs are still relying on sugar-daddy owners to bankroll their ambitions.
Of the top two spending clubs, six are English (Man City and United, Spurs, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Chelsea), two Italian (Inter and Juventus) and one each from Germany and France (you can probably guess who those guys were). It’s quite telling that this year’s list featured no Spanish sides, with the two big titans already having fairly settled squads and everyone else stone broke. Other notable absentees include AC Milan, Roma, Lyon, Porto, and Dortmund.
Though Spurs and Arsenal seem to have spent a lot, both sides actually balanced their books, with more money coming in than going out. The other clubs with the most revenue from transfers include some famous names (Inter, AC Milan) and quite a few lesser lights (Genoa, Lille, Udinese). After their relegation, Villareal have sold £34m worth of players, and Bilbao reap the reward/pay the price for their Europa League adventures and have their team cherry-picked.
Also featuring in the European Transfer Window Top-10 Sellers are Brazilian side Sao Paolo, though that’s mostly for selling Lucas Moura to PSG for £35m. It goes without saying that the biggest spending league is the English Premier League. The more interesting facts feature a little lower down, with the Russian Superliga coming in sixth, the English second division (The Championship) coming seventh and the Ukrainian Premier League coming tenth.
The East European nations appear to be pushing out nations like Holland and Belgium, who just don’t seem to have the financial muscle any more. A possible sign of the waning influence of Italian football is that more money was spent buying players from Serie A than anywhere else. The old-money of Italian football (and possibly the crackdown on corruption) is being eclipsed by the new money oligarchs of Russia and the Middle-East.
It’s no surprise that of the ten biggest spending clubs this summer, only four of them are owned by locally born owners (Inter, Juve, Bayern, and Spurs). It could be that this summer was one last splurge before the big clubs have to toe the line financially, or more likely, the big clubs will find ways around UEFA or wield too much power to really be threatened by them. The only thing we can hope for is that clubs see the sense in balancing their books and staying within their limits.
Continue the debate on twitter @chiefhairyman