Premier League spending in the transfer window was greater than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 19 countries. So what happened to the new financial fair play rules? Are such restrictions working?
Robin Wilson, football finance expert from Sheffield Hallam University says: “The headline figure will be the £800+ million spend during the window but we need to look at the net figure. What have cubs recouped from their own sales versus what they’ve spent? We’ll end up around the 400-450 million pounds. That shows that financial fair play and financial responsibility throughout the leagues is beginning to take hold now.”
Speaking of the spending spree by Manchester United, Rory Smith of the Times newspaper said: “All fur coat and no knickers is my assessment of the Manchester United deals in the transfer market. Marcus Rojo is the most average player you will ever see and is not worth £16 million quid.
“Falcao is one of the best strikers in the world but he’s not played Champions League for five years, for a player of that standard that is really criminal. Manchester United’s spending reminds me of what Milan did in the late 90’s when they signed whoever they could who had a bit of stardust to cover up massive for massive structural weaknesses.”
The general post transfer deadline day consensus was that one of the better deals saw Danny Welbeck leave Old Trafford for Arsenal. A transfer that seemed unlikely until Giroud picked up an injury for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger nipped in before Welbeck’s agent, his brother, agreed a £3 million loan deal with Spurs, or a permanent move to Sunderland.
Jonathan Hope was the man who brokered the Welbeck move and he offered some interesting insight into that deal and how he works come transfer deadline day.
Hope said: “The boy didn’t want to go on loan anywhere. He wanted to go to a club where he felt important. He’s an established striker who would change any team in the Premier League.
“I just picked up the phone and asked Man Utd who are you looking to get out. Then I call other managers and it’s just a question of joining the dots. It’s a big move for the player.”
So how does Jonathan Hope look upon the process of getting a player a move? He says: “I can sell your car to somebody else without driving it. I don’t need to see your car as long as I can get the price for that car and pass it on to somebody. It really is the same. Footballers are commodities. Their representatives are there to look out for their well being.”
Former Liverpool and Fulham midfielder Danny Murphy was right in his assessment of the Welbeck move: “For me, Danny Welbeck is a snip at that price. Some of the figures being talked about regarding other players makes £16 million for him a bargain.”
When it comes to the chaotic nature of transfer deadline day in general, I can’t think of another area of business in which those who are in charge would spend in such a carefree manner. Imagine if Charles Dickens could advise football clubs on their finances. If he used the words he wrote for Mr. Micawber: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”
Would they listen? Probably not.
The transfer window closed. The world did not stop turning. Here’s to January and the next one.