It has been touted as one of the most explosive summers for years, as Europe’s elite flex their muscles before the opportunity to do so runs out.
With the financial fair play rules coming into action from 2012, clubs who feature in European competitions will be required to adhere to the regulations, set out by UEFA, which intend to reduce the dependency many clubs have on their owners and encourage self-sufficiency and natural growth.
Whereas United already have a large income stream and can easily afford all their natural expenditure (excluding Glazer costs), the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City will be worrying as it may be the last time their owners can directly bankroll their their transfer activity.
Liverpool’s new owner’s got the ball rolling this transfer window with the signing of Sunderland midfielder, Jordan Henderson, in a deal worth an extraordinary £20 million. Regrettably, this deal has an adverse effect on the whole market, as it has set an unusually high benchmark for fees.
Nonetheless, United have already forked out a similar fee with the acquisition of Blackburn defender, Phil Jones, who is currently playing in the same Under-21 side as Henderson. Truth be told, Jones is no doubt a fine player but his price tag of £18 million may seem inflated when he is yet to play for the full national team (although he is much better value than Henderson).
The Reds aren’t just the only side having to pay for the Scousers’ over spending. Chelsea this week had a bid of £22 million turned down for Spurs creative lynch pin Luka Modric. The Croatian has been linked with a move to Old Trafford to fill the gap left by Paul Scholes but I will be surprised if they enter a bidding war with the Blues.
Modric is a fine player but he only scored 3 league goals and had as many assists last season (although he is undoubtedly a superior player to Henderson). Do those stats really justify a bid in excess of £22m? Or, more importantly, should they?
The exaggerated transfer sums really began to reach preposterous levels in January, when Chelsea spent £50 million on an out-of-form Fernando Torres and King Kenny again bought Andy Carroll for £35 million. Carroll a player with unquestionable potential but it is amazing to think he became the 8th most expensive player in history after half a good season at Newcastle United.
Dalglish’s side obviously need to stamp their authority on the transfer market, as a show of strength to the Premier League and beyond, having stepped back into the shadows over the last two seasons, but some of the fees they’ve paid are extraordinary! Having allowed Tottenham and Manchester City to take treasure Champions League place in recent seasons, Liverpool’s need to strengthen is obvious but their actions have made it almost impossible to sign a player anywhere near their actual value.
It must be noted that we were thankfully able to negotiate great deals for Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez last summer, at much more reasonable prices, as they would undoubtedly have cost a lot more this time round; and due credit must go to our scouts for this in particular.
Another player United seem certain to purchase this summer is Ashley Young, who should be a great addition to our squad but his £18m fee does seem inflated, especially considering his contract situation!
Young has shown his quality within the Premier League but only a couple of weeks ago he did find himself as a substitute for England’s with James Milner, a player who has struggled to find a regular place in City’s team this season, chosen in front of him. Arguably he should have started (having put in a MOTM second-half performance) but it does suggest Fabio Capello is unconvinced by some aspects of his game.
Day after day, we all read about proposed transfers involving the same household names; such as Gary Cahill for £20 million, Charlie Adam for £12m and Nicklas Bendtner for £10 million but the amount of money being touted for these good players, not top quality players, is extortionate and, frankly, ridiculous.
For United and other big clubs, it seems that a player needs to be approaching the end of their contract before they can now negotiate fair deals, for players such as Samir Nasri- whose future at the Emirates appears to be in doubt. Personally, I think this would be a great signing for the club as he would cost nearly half the price of Wesley Sneijder, who I believe is on a similar level to him on the whole.
Whoever does sign for the Premier League’s bigger sides over the next few months it’s certainly set to include a number of large overpriced deals. Hopefully this will be brought down to more reasonable levels with the new regulations which will be coming into force next year. So for once, just once, we can all say well done UEFA!
Talking of Jones & Smalling, Here’s Them in Action v Spain
About Joseph Maloney
A massive United fan, Joseph has been a season-ticket holder at Old Trafford for the past 5 seasons and is currently studying sports journalism at University. Hoping to succeed in the tough world of football media, Joseph will be writing more often on Can They Score in the coming months, as he hopes to express his passion for the club through his writing. Follow him on Twitter here.