Worst Transfer Window Ever, and Premier League Wealth is to BlameBy: Daryl | August 20th, 2008
Is it just me, or has this transfer window just been punch yourself in the head awful? There are less than two weeks to go until the end of August and so far… almost nothing has happened. Robbie Keane has gone to Liverpool. Ronaldinho made his bargain move to Milan, and Rafael van der Vaart went to Madrid. And that’s about it.
The Premier League has even extended the window by 24 hours to the end of September 1st. Either because they want to give teams time to actually get some business done, or because they’re just plain mean and want everyone to suffer through an extra day.
It’s not just that nothing has happened. I could handle nothing happening because then we could all focus on something else. But there have been constant rumours about transfers that are always seemingly just about to happen. I feel like a donkey chasing a carrot that keeps moving.
Ronaldo to Real? No. Adebayor to Barcelona? No. Drogba to Milan? No. Lampard to Inter. When Chelsea can offer this much money? No. Kaka to Chelsea? No. Barry to Liverpool? Hell no. Robinho to Chelsea? Not yet. Berbatov to Man Utd? Who knows?
The conversion rate from solid rumour (solid as in widely reported, and an admission from the player that they’re keen to move) to actual transfer seems to be well below the usual average. Why is this?
And why do so many of these stalled transfers seem to involve the English Premier League? My hunch is that it’s because there’s so much money floating around English clubs.
Adebayor, Drogba, Lampard, Ronaldo, etc. How many players have been linked with moves away from the Prem, only to change their mind and stay? It’s possible that there’s so much money in the Premier League – in the top four at least – that it’s tough for players to actually go through with it and leave. Where else was Lampard going to get a 100k+ five year contract other than Chelsea?
The other end of that is that the non-big-four Premier League teams also have more money, which has allowed them to grow bigger balls. Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur have flat out refused to sell Gareth Barry and Dimitar Berbatov for less than they say the players are worth.
Used to be that big clubs could unsettle a player and then haggle the selling team down. And the selling team would be unable to refuse what was still a large sum of money but not what they originally wanted.
Martin O’Neill and Juande Ramos have shown the way, by holding out for £18m and £28m for Barry and Berbatov respectively because they don’t really need £15m and £25m all that badly. This is definitely a good thing for the lost Atlantis of Premier League equity, but it’s made June, July and August (and now the first day of September) a lot less fun.