When the tremors of a long and enduring financial crisis can be felt all over the world ,without any exception ,when companies as well as consumers are starved of cash ,the only activity or episode that stands out in stark contrast is the inflated and insane European transfer market . When a country’s GDP is actually shrinking and job losses are humongous and no sector or industry is spared ,Real Madrid’s profligacy in paying over $200 million just to obtain the services of two players ,notwithstanding their outstanding abilities , is a case of brazen arrogance and insensitivity.
It’s not just Real Madrid . It’s as if Madrid’s activities have virtually triggered a chain of events ,with every big club swooping in with cash bells ringing ,paying the most exorbitant amounts to enlist the most average of players. Glen Johnson’s 19 million pounds move to Liverpool is symptomatic of the grossly inflated nature of the transfer market.
There has been incessant complaints from different quarters about how these insane transfer activities are rapidly tilting the balance in favor of big clubs who can afford to burn their pockets in the transfer market. Michael Platini’s verbal assault on “cheating “ English clubs who are simply buying success by piling up a humongous amount of debt . There are suggestions to put a cap on the spending , but nothing yet has materialized because any such proposal will definitely not pass muster with the big clubs –who will eventually veto any decision, to that effect . The English Premier league is rapidly becoming a two horse race much like the Spanish Primera Liga only because the top two clubs are simply outspending the rest of the chasing pack, barring maybe Barcelona whose success can be attributed largely to a fantastic youth development system. If things are allowed to remain the way they are, football may cease to become a competitive sport.
It’s Always been there.
People will be surprised to know that recession or no recession ,the top European clubs are perpetually in a state of financial duress by living beyond their means . This causes widespread discontent as stakeholder’s wealth gets eroded, but since it is a club not a business entity it is allowed to live on life support. For instance, take the example of Leeds United . If it had been a commercial unit it would have been shut down a long time ago instead of being allowed to languish in the bottom rung of English football .
Somebody’s Gain is Someone Else’s Pain.
The big clubs might be making hay while the sun shines, but it’s the smaller clubs that are feeling the pinch . Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allerdyce bemoans about the inflated nature of the market and says that it has become doubly difficult for his club to recruit anybody from England. Not so far away in Scotland ,the two traditional giants of football Celtic and Rangers in spite of offering the chance of top flight European football feels pushed off the market because of a huge disparity in purchasing power.
However, amidst all these chaos and pandemonium, there are instances of sanity. It was heartening to hear Sir Alex Ferguson stating that he will resist the temptation of splurging 80 million pounds, generated by the sale of Ronaldo, as he felt that the transfer market is “stupid”. Furthermore there has always been Arsene Wenger ,who has over the years quite stubbornly refused to splash the cash ,as he felt it was against the spirit and ideology that Arsenal espouses.
One can always hope that these few honorable men can ultimately prevail and set a precedent for other clubs to emulate.