Sitting here in the summer, I’m surrounded by newspaper reports detailing possible football transfers. Some of these articles are simply offering information on rumours. They may count for nothing in the end.
But experience dictates that European clubs will spend millions of pounds this summer. The biggest clubs, particularly in England, Spain and Italy, seem to be prepared to spend increasing amounts on players. But is this really sustainable?
It seems that the footballing world takes little interest in the economic factors that have an impact on normal lives. The UK economy, for example, appears to be struggling to gain traction. You wouldn’t realise that this was the case by looking at the transfer spending of Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City.
So how can the clubs continue to spend so much money? There must be a limit to the amount that they can raise from football fans. Although matches continue to sell-out in the Premier League, there’s some evidence that football supporters won’t be pushed too much further. There’s simply not enough money available.
Media companies have helped to enrich some clubs and there’s frequently talk about spreading the brand. As a result, it’s been proposed that some Premier League games could be played in Asia, North America, or elsewhere in Europe. That seems crazy to most local fans.
Most people grow up supporting a local club. The idea that your local team might play a home game many thousands of miles from home doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Some clubs continue to rely on rich investors, while others are simply losing a lot of money.
If football fans are paying more to watch matches, media companies are paying a lot of money for television rights and the actual clubs are spending a massive amount on transfer fees, then where is all the money going?
Ultimately, it’s clear that footballers have reaped the rewards. Earning gigantic salaries, they’ve become superstars. Some players have become truly global names and the stars of the past must be somewhat envious when they look at how much money the players of today can make.
A modern-day player may earn more in a week then it was once possible to earn in an entire year. But the players aren’t the only winners. Football agents have undoubtedly done well too, making money from player contracts and deals.
It feels like things have gone too far. But are the world’s best clubs really prepared to stop buying the best?