Usually if there is a political issue being debated or discussed, then I normally tune in to something else. Whatever is the issue is you tend to think it won’t affect us too much. Then I happened to watch some of the EU treaty news over the weekend. I can’t help but wonder how Premier League institutions like Arsenal , Chelsea, Liverpool , Tottenham , Manchester United and Manchester City will be affected.
The first thing that came across was a sense of well done to David Cameron. For years politicians have tiptoed around trying to please everyone in Europe. It was only last month that the FA backed down over the England team wearing a poppy on their shirts for the friendlies against Spain and Sweden. That’s before you even begin to argue whether England were sold short or out bunged in the bids for the 2014 and 2018 world cups.
Anyway the upshot of what I can make out from the weekends talks is that the Euro is in crisis and the UK is now on its own. It seems from early reports that the European financial situation hasn’t reacted as positively as first hoped which is leaving many countries in crisis. This also gives the powers that make the decisions in UEFA and FIFA ammunition that we are a bitter nation.
So what affect will this have on the English transfer window? Well first it’s worth bearing in mind that English Premier League clubs spent around £485m in the summer transfer period. So it will be unlikely that even half that will be spent in January. The reports of Arsenal spending £35m on a player and Manchester United forking out £50m are stories that are coming from Europe. These sums of money can make the difference to economies not just ailing football clubs. More to do with raising morale than actual transfer moves. I doubt Wenger or Fergie would dream of spending those figures in January.
This is why AC Milan wants to sign Carlos Tevez on a loan deal with a guaranteed cash figure at the end of the season. Club owner Silvio Berlusconi has had to step down from his role as Italy’s Prime Minister amidst all the chaos surrounding him. AC Milan cannot be seen to be spending millions of pounds when there is so much financial unrest amongst the everyday man. The everyday man in Milan is undoubtedly an AC Milan fan after all.
If anything the only serious transfer rumours to take real notice of are the ones which involve players from the MLS in America. Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan are just a few names who would be available in January due to the off season in America. It seems David Beckham will also be back in European football come January though that deal is more down to PSG’s money than anything else.
Then you have to consider the European football factor. No club is going to spend money on a player who isn’t eligible for European matches. So clubs that have played in the Champions League and Europa League will find it harder to buy and sell between fellow competitors but that doesn’t rule out deals being agreed for the summer. Of course those who are no longer in Europe competition can sell players to clubs who haven’t been in Europe but they themselves are fighting for domestic titles.
Teams in England who have a jewel that the top teams are chasing will need to hang on to them until the end of the season. It is more value for the smaller teams to keep hold of their star man until the summer and hopes to avoid relegation than sell a star name and end up in the Championship.
There will be a lot of transfers involving players coming into the last 6 months of their contracts however. Players like Gary Cahill will feel he needs a move to avoid becoming a forgotten man for England. Relegation form isn’t going to get you into Capello’s Euro 2012 squad.
Swap deals seem to be popular as teams try to save on their spending. A deal with Frank Lampard and Real Madrid’s Spanish Under-21 midfielder Esteban Granero has been reported this morning and there may be others in the pipeline. That may come in the form of the buying club offering the selling club any loan signing.
Despite the millions in the game at the moment it would be morally wrong for clubs to spend so much with financial meltdown across Europe. I expect more wheeling and dealing that extravagant signings. Foreign signings don’t always adjust in their early careers and some could say the likes of Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll haven’t been successes since their January moves.
I personally think that once Premier League teams submit their 25 man squads at the beginning of the season, then they are only allowed to make transfers mid season if one of those players was injured long term like Jermaine Jenas and Nemanja Vidic. Not only would that stop clubs buying one or two players just to finish higher than a smaller squad who have over performed, it will also highlight which managers who take over from sacked ones can actually man manage and don’t just bring in new faces to change things.
We live in a real world which at times appears to exist outside of football. I think this window will see the two realities come back closer together.
Article courtesy of Wes Hillier from This is Futbol