Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water……..
Until last week there has been little of note in the summer transfer market in Europe. As I have pointed out before, clubs Europe wide are starting to feel the pinch financially and this has curtailed spending substantially. Indeed, the only major transfer of note was that of David Beckham to footballs version of the Harlem Globetrotters, Real Madrid. What other transfers there were, had been for vastly reduced prices – a throw back to the early 90s even…when ₤5m could buy you a world class player. This in fact the price of Harry Kewell as he joined Liverpool from Leeds
This week that all changed with Chelseas takeover by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. Suddenly Chelsea are the new “big thing”. They have money to spend and who can stop them? Already they have bought Glen Johnson from West Ham for ₤6m, agreed a ₤7m fee for Wayne Bridges from Southampton, paid another ₤7m for Real Madrid’s Geremi and agreed an astonishing ₤17m fee for Damien Duff with Blackburn. We are also led to believe that European champions Milan have turned down a ₤35m fee for Alessandro Nesta. That’s offers of ₤72m for just FIVE players, only one of whom could be put in the “world class” bracket.
It appears that Liverpool have an absolute bargain. When you compare names like Duff, Bridges, Geremi and Johnson to Kewell you can see why. If an 18yo full back (Johnson) is worth ₤6m, Kewell must surely be worth close to 10 times that much. Bridges may well be a current England international, but that is a sorry reflection of Svens England rather than his own ability. Again Kewell must be worth 10 times his ₤ 7m fee. Similarly Beckham was sold for ₤25m just ₤8m more than Duffs fee. Man Utd must be kicking themselves. Had they held on for another month they could have sold Becks to Chelsea for twice that fee.
Where is this going?
Well clearly, football has become just another play thing for the rich and famous. Fed up with yachts and race horses the worlds richest are buying football clubs and ruining the game in the process. The Berlusconis and the Abramovichs of this world are merely playing games with us. And the players and the fans are just pawns in the process.
Do Chelsea fans really identify with their team anymore?
Are they still the Pensioners? The Blues?
Do they have favourite players? How can they when they know that this time next season that player may well be gone to the next highest bidder.
Despite their abundance of the best world football has to offer, Real Madrid lost the Champions league title this season and it took them until the last day of the season to clinch their domestic championship. Chelsea may well find that 11 expensive players does not a team make.
The selling clubs now have a choice. Do they continue this transfer stupidity? Or do they consider themselves lucky and pay off some of those debts, thus easing the financial burden?
Lets hope common sense prevails …..and no more Leeds Uniteds surface.