European Super League is here; it’s called the Premier League
After the January transfer window closed on Tuesday, football managers across Europe took a deep breath. The amount of money spent in January alone was staggering. Over a billion dollars. The most striking statistic, however, was that a single Premier League club spent more on transfers in January than every club in the Bundesliga, LaLiga, Serie A and Ligue 1 combined.
It wasn’t just Chelsea spending money. In fact, the Premier League accounted for more than 85% of the total spending of the top five European leagues. In addition, four Premier League clubs in relegation trouble near the bottom half of the table (Southampton, Bournemouth, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leeds United) all brought about, or more than, $50 million each in this window.
January’s Premier League spending highlights the discrepancy between the purchasing power of England’s top flight and its counterparts in Spain, France, Italy and Germany.
Call back to the revolt against the European Super League. Fans wanted to see the best clubs and best players fight for their place in elite leagues. Fans didn’t want teams to buy their way to success and didn’t risk missing out.
The Premier League is in a state of hopeful purchases to achieve success, embodying the Super League in the sense that it is a league built on the back of money. All that money alone goes to transfers.
The top talents
The Premier League is already the most popular national league in Europe for fans worldwide. The history of many of the clubs is enough to attract attention. However, the arrival of elite players for top-to-bottom clubs adds fuel to a fire that is igniting the other leagues in Europe.
As more players join the league, there’s more incentive to watch. Consequently, fans are losing interest in other leagues in Europe. For example, Joao Felix left Atletico Madrid on a rental basis. That takes away one of LaLiga’s more creative and entertaining players in a top squad. Mykhailo Mudryk lit up the Champions League with Shakhtar Donetsk, and he won’t be there for the club’s Europa League run. Enzo Fernandez appeared on the scene with Argentina at the World Cup, leading Chelsea to lure him away from Benfica. To be fair, Fernandez is not Benfica’s first big move in recent years.
Subsequently, young players with great talent are now entering the Premier League. PSV talents Cody Gakpo and Noni Madueke went to England with a lot of money. Benoit Badiashile and Malo Gusto had price tags of over $30 million.
At the center of these releases that distinguish the Premier League is Chelsea. Chelsea’s informal spending of $360 million is nearly $100 million more than the other top four competitions combined. League Unthe Bundesliga, La Liga and Series a combined for just under $285 million. As a reminder, this is just the January transfer window.
LaLiga spoke out against this insatiable spending in the Premier League, calling it a form of “to cheatagainst the rest of Europe. LaLiga president Javier Tebas shared a video on his Twitter of corporate general director Javier Gomez. In the video, Gomez explains his problems.
“Essentially they are ‘doping’ the club. They are injecting money not generated by the club to spend, which will jeopardize the club’s viability if the shareholder leaves.”
Think of Todd Boehly’s departure from Chelsea and how that would affect the club’s ability to issue transfers.
“In our view, that’s cheating because it brings down the rest of the leagues,” Gomez concluded.
Premier League reform of a super league
While it is easy to point the finger and say that Chelsea are to blame for these record Premier League figures, that is not necessarily the case. Spending was lavish throughout the league. Interestingly, it wasn’t from the other clubs that tend to spend freely. The two Manchester clubs collectively spent just $15 million on a total of four new players. Tottenham loaned just two players for $10 million. Liverpool gave PSV $45 million for Cody Gakpo, but that was the only expense. Even Arsenal, under pressure to take steps to aim for a Premier League title, spent less than a fifth of Chelsea. The Gunners still paid a total of $65 million for three players, but two of those came from Premier League rivals Brighton and the aforementioned Chelsea.
Instead, look for smaller budget clubs that are making moves. Of course, it is necessary for them to reach deeper into their pockets to keep up with a club like Chelsea owned by a billionaire.
Southampton, the club at the bottom of the Premier League table, spent the second most of any team in the top flight. Kamldeen Sulemana’s $27 million price tag is a record for the Saints. Leeds also set a club record when they lost $37.5 million to striker Georginio Rutter. Here’s the difference. When clubs at the bottom of the table break the bank for players to stay afloat, it shows the competitive nature of the Premier League.
Compete with other leagues
What stands out for many of these bottom half teams is how they competed with elites in the lore of football for players. The most legendary subject was Nicolo Zaniolo, a midfielder or striker for Roma who fell out of favor with Jose Mourinho and the fans. Zaniolo stated that he intended to move when Milan and Spurs showed interest. However, the only club that had anything to offer Zaniolo was Bournemouth.
After Milan never came up with the money or open desire to sign Zaniolo, the Italian defected to his second option at Bournemouth. By then, however, the Cherries had already spent money on replacements. AFCB, a club in relegation scrap, refused the right back for Roma.
That at least shows where the Premier League stands based on intent to sign. Relegated teams in the Premier League compete against clubs that have declared their entry into the European Super League. Bournemouth is targeting players with 11 starts for a team vying for a Champions League spot in Serie A. That potential deal for Zaniolo was likely a loan, but his market value is somewhere between $30 and $40 million.
If Bournemouth is ready to splash out on transfers while the top clubs in Serie A are more conservative, the game can only grow around the Premier League.
The future of transfers
There is certainly an argument that this season is an anomaly. LaLiga’s limits on player transfers with a salary cap impede its ability to collect headline fees. The top clubs of Serie A are currently under scrutiny for falsifying the figures. After all, Juventus look set to miss European competition next season due to a points deduction due to “financial irregularities” related to historic transfers.
The Bundesliga, even the top clubs, have traditionally been frugal. However, this is not necessarily a talent issue. Bayern signed Joao Cancelo on loan from Manchester City, despite the Portuguese remaining a top talent. However, you don’t see Schalke, Hertha BSC and Bochum spending money quickly to get out of the relegation zone. In fact, those clubs collectively spent just $1.5 million, including leases.
The result is more growth in the Premier League. In terms of players, the top clubs only look for the best. This also applies to young talents such as Mudryk and Fernandez and proven players. More eyes are watching these players, because that is clearly the best of the best.
For example, think back to that Benfica image on its most expensive quarters. They all cost more than $37 million. Eight of those ten will play in the Premier League in the second half of the 2022-23 season, even if they didn’t go straight there.
This will spiral into the Premier League and increase its power. As a result, the Premier League is evolving into the Super League.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Propaganda photo
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