Monday, July 18, 2011

Transfer madness for dummies


It's that time of year again! It's July, birds are chirping, the sun is shining, Toronto is melting under another heat wave, and it's international transfer window time in the world of the beautiful game. For those are not familiar with what exactly I'm talking about, the transfer window in football is like what the free agency period is for the NHL right now. It's a time in which players can move to other clubs either on a free (no fee paid to a club) or on a transfer in which the club losing the player is paid a fee, this can either be in straight cash or player + cash.

Moving to Man United?...please let this NoW story be true!

The summer transfer window, starting from the of middle of June to the end of August is a time in which the footy supporter like myself, dream of big name players with amazing skill joining my favorite club in the unrelenting quest for more bragging rights...and glory...but mainly bragging rights. It is also a time of wild speculation and gossip in which every player is is possibility on the move to new and sexy locations like Paris, Madrid...or Blackburn. All these are important aspects of the window, but what really gets the attention of the fan, and part time fan alike is the incredible amounts of money spent in transfer fees on players this time of year.

When looking at the reports of player signings this summer or any summer for the past 10 years the dollar/pound/euro amount spent is mind boggling. Although this summer is not anywhere near the summer of 2009 in which Real Madrid spent 140 million Euros on Ronaldo and Kaka in 4 days, and overall during the window spent over 200 million on players, the numbers are still massive. When analysing the spending of English Premier League clubs this summer you find that combined they have spent over 202 million pounds on NEW players. That doesn't cover the salary costs for the CURRENT players on their rosters. Nor does it speak to the amount of debt some of these clubs are consuming.

Recently in Spanish football the 26th team in the past 4 years declared for bankruptcy. The tend is being repeated all around European football as clubs play a dangerous "keeping up with the Jones" game with finances. The massive clubs like Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid have borrowed substantial amounts of money in order to fund new signings. Now these teams can sustain the interest payments because of the large multiple revenue streams they have, however all parties know it cannot last forever. As for smaller clubs looking to go big, some like Stoke, Fulham, Villarreal, Napoli have been able to spend wisely (or be luck enough to have new owners with deep pockets) to make it to the middle or the road. Where others: Leeds United, Portsmouth, Valencia, Sampdoria spent a lot of money but because of reckless spending in their pursuit of silverware they fell of the debt wagon.

And there you have a snapshot of the madness, this is a time where a young English midfielder with just one England cap is worth 20 million pounds (Jordan Henderson). In which a Argentinian striker can hold his team ransom twice in one year, and still gets when he wants (Carlos Tevez), and a great but diva-ish superstar player could be offered a reported 400,000 pounds a week and say no (Cristiano Ronaldo).

So may the madness reign, however don't believe everything you hear in the rumor mills, some footballers phone might have been hacked for that info ;)


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