In the race for the Premier League, you get what you pay for
The transfer market has gone bananas. Cast your mind back to 2006 and the sum of £38 million could buy you one of the world’s most prolific strikers – Andriy Shevchenko. Fast forward to the 2010/11 season and that kind of money would bring you…Andy Carroll!
The latest Premier League TV deals and an influx of wealthy foreign ownership have contributed to a transformation in the football landscape nobody could have foreseen. July 2017, and the previously mentioned sum of £38 million is just enough to sign half of Romelu Lukaku.
The money men at City have spent in the region of £133 million on full-backs, Roman’s Chelsea have laid out a further £119 million and the idea of Financial Fair Play is beginning to seem like a fairy tale.
Having said that, you get what you pay for.
Arsenal smashed their transfer record this summer with the acquisition of French striker Alexandre Lacazette. The Gunners are known for keeping their cards close to their chest and, although the fee was officially undisclosed, it was believed to be around the £46.5 million mark, according to BBC Sport.
Having splashed the cash on Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi before him, the Gunners are still not competing financially with the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.
To put it bluntly, Arsenal specialise in second rate signings. The game’s elite players demand the kind of pay packets that would blow the Gunners wage structure apart. The power is with the seller and Arsenal’s reluctance to be held to ransom and pay a premium means they are being left behind.
The same can be said for Liverpool, another club whose fan base are desperate for Premier League success. They possess ownership who seemingly will not pay the top dollar and a manager whose inability to defend will ultimately cost them.
Tottenham Hotspur have exceeded expectations for two seasons now, but that won’t continue. The financial burden of a new stadium and the move to Wembley will see Mauricio Pochettino’s side struggle to compete on all fronts and the club’s lack of transfer activity will only further hamper them.
Throughout recent history, with a few anomalies of course, there has been a clear correlation between the title winners and the most dominant in the transfer market. The title race will be between the top three spenders and the sooner the Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs fans accept this, the better.