Manchester City’s signing of £ 100million Jack Grealish is the most expensive transfer in Premier League history – but it could still be shattered in a summer of astronomical spending by the richest football clubs in the world. ‘England.
the agreement that puts water to the eye broke the previous transfer fee record of £ 89million held by Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.
The football world is now waiting to see whether City will hit the asking price of £ 150million for England star striker Harry Kane, who is said to be desperate to leave Spurs and join the Premier League champions.
Following the £ 73million transfer from Jadon Sancho to Manchester United, Arsenal signing Ben White for £ 50million, Spurs’ £ 47million deal for Cristian Romero and the potential purchase of Romelu Lukaku by Chelsea for almost £ 100million, the purchasing power of so-called big clubs appears to be greater than ever despite the pandemic.
So what do these ever-increasing transfer fees mean for the future of English football and its fans?
And can City afford to buy Kane while respecting UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules?
Can City afford to bring in Kane after signing Grealish?
Pundits are divided over whether City will be able to bring in Kane this summer after signing Grealish from Aston Villa for such a huge sum.
Sheffield Hallam University football finance expert Dr Rob Wilson said he believed a deal with the Spurs forward would be “unlikely” if the transfer fee rose to $ 150million of pounds sterling.
“Harry Kane’s problem is his age,” he told Sky News.
“Grealish at 25, over six years, makes financial sense.
“Harry Kane at 28 – you’re not going to give a 28-year-old a six-year contract. You’re more likely to give him a four-year contract.”
He added: “Kane signed a six-year contract a few years ago. Spurs don’t need to sell him cheap.
“The city could throw the kitchen sink at him and say, ‘Come on Harry, we’ll give you six. Sign for us until you’re 34.’ Would you take that risk for 150 million pounds?
“He’s brilliant, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think I would have the bottle to sign this deal.”
However, Kieran Maguire, sports finance expert at the University of Liverpool, believes a six-year deal for Kane could come up.
He says City could afford it thanks to the extra income generated by the Premier League victory and the Champions League final, Sergio Aguero’s transfer to Barcelona, the potential sale of Bernardo Silva, as well as other transfers.
The club also took a 15% share of the fees their rivals Man United paid Borussia Dortmund for Sancho, as part of a deal struck when City sold the player to the German club in 2017.
Financial fair play “has lost its credibility”
Last year City received a two-year Champions League suspension for alleged “serious” violations of club licensing rules and financial fair play, before it was later. canceled by UEFA.
Mr. Maguire believes that the rules must be “completely rethought” because “no one really knows what financial fair play is for”.
“Originally, when it was launched, UEFA said it was about reducing the amount of borrowing by football clubs,” he said.
“But Manchester City have no loans because they are financed by their owners. While Manchester United owe the banks half a billion pounds.
“The spirit of FFP was to try to create a level playing field.
“Financial fair play has to be completely rethought if it is to be taken seriously. I think that at present it has lost its credibility.”
Dr Wilson believes some clubs are finding “gray areas” around FFP.
“The way some clubs have complied with financial fair play is against the spirit of what the regulations were meant to do,” he told Sky News.
“If a rule exists, stick to it – don’t try to bend it and make it work for you, which I think is what we really saw.”
Dr Wilson also said it was “unpleasant” that Arsenal spent £ 50million to sign White from Brighton after the north London club announced 55 staff layoffs last August.
“I think that perhaps polarizes the problem we have with football which is totally disconnected from what these clubs were originally created for – which is to be community organizations,” he added.
Will the transfer fee increase hit the pockets of fans?
According to Dr Wilson, the surge in transfer fees is unlikely to cause ticket prices to increase for fans attending the game.
Indeed, the money generated by the tickets represents only a small proportion of the revenues of the Premier League clubs, he said.
“For some of these really big clubs, that could represent between 5 and 10% of their overall revenue profile,” added Dr Wilson.
“Even if you have significant transfer fees, match day tickets don’t generate enough revenue to cover these costs.
“It is much easier for a club to find a commercial sponsor to fill this gap.
“There is no appetite on the part of the clubs to increase the price of tickets… they realize that the fans are an important stakeholder in the clubs so they don’t want to upset them.
“I don’t think they can justify the price increase.”
Is it increasingly difficult for teams outside the “Big Six” to win the Premier League?
Both pundits believe the growing purchasing power of the ‘Big Six’ means the chances of a repeat Leicester’s shocking Premier League win in 2016 are getting slimmer.
Dr Wilson said: “There’s a reason Leicester were 5,000 to 1 to win this title, and that’s because it’s almost unheard of. It was a miraculous feat on their part.
“When you look at the data and the numbers, it should be theoretically impossible for anyone to win the league apart from Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
“In terms of financial size, these six clubs are further apart from everyone.
“I think more and more we’ll start talking about the Big Four, rather than the Big Six, because if Spurs and Arsenal can’t really get in, they’ll fall further and further behind as well.”
Mr Maguire said: “Breaking into the top flight was next to impossible. Those kind of signings – Sancho, Grealish, potentially Kane and Lukaku – will only make things more difficult.
“There are still people out there who are willing to believe they can break in – I just think if there was a 1% chance a year ago, there is probably a 0.1% chance of doing so now. “