Quite often, you hear clubs abroad moaning about the revenue that English teams bring in, how that in the 16/17 season the team finishing bottom of the league will earn more than most/all league winners around Europe – but for me, and many European chairmen – for them, it’s a huge positive!
Look at the amount of transfers made by English clubs, nay – the amount of money spent! Clubs, especially at the top of the tree – need to get players to hit the ground running, and if they don’t – they are sent packing for a slice of what was paid. So, the clubs they are bought in from, usually get a stonking deal – and then usually get them back a season or two later, for a small price.
The Chairman of Bayern was quoted recently as saying there is a normal price for the rest of Europe, then an English price, while another was said to call English teams ‘Stupid’. When Bayern were trying to negotiate a deal for Eric Bailly, the price was supposedly £20-22m, but when Man Utd came calling, it was £30m – and they paid it! It must be said though, he looks worth every penny!
There are 5 examples, 4 have already happened and one is about to…
Paul Pogba – Man Utd brought him in from Le Havre nearly 8 years ago, and then rarely used the talented Frenchman to the point where he left for peanuts after the club refused to give him a payrise or increased football. Juventus give him time and he flourished into the worlds most expensive player, receiving over 100 times what they paid in a 4 year investment!
Kevin de Bruyne – Chelsea paid around £7m for the Belgian youngster in 2012, but played him only 3 times in the league over a 2 year spell, and was then sold on to Wolfsburg for £18m. 20 goals in 72 games lead to a move to Man City for £56m, and 16 goals in 42 games since – he has proved himself to be one of the worlds’ best!
Shkodran Mustafi – Everton signed the Hamburg youngster, beating off interest from Newcastle and Man City. In 3 seasons with the Merseyside club, he made precisely 1 appearance in Europe, before being released. In the next two seasons or so at Sampdoria he rebuilt his career, earning an £8m move to Valencia. 2 years and 78 appearances later, he is set for a £35m move to Arsenal, and at 24 – someone who could prove to be a class Premier League player, who was once released!
Nemanja Matic – a 21 year old signed from MFK Kosice for a little over £1m, and after 3 games and a loan spell, sold on to Benfica as part of the David Luiz deal. Less than 3 years later, they London club resigned him for around the £24m mark.
From just those four players, from the price sold by their Premier League club to the price paid to bring them back to the league – is a total of £180m of pure profit for those who took them on when the English clubs owning them paid so much money to let them rot in the reserves.
And if a supposed transfer is to go through – I think it could be another Pogba type mistake! Serge Gnabry, a highly rated German who plays for Arsenal, is set for a move to Bayern. He has only played 18 times for the Gunners since his breakthrough into the first team squad, and 3 on loan with WBA – but has barely been given a decent run. He clearly has talent – 6 in 6 at the Olympics this summer, and appeared at all levels for Germany’s youth teams. He clearly has what it takes, and the fact Bayern are trying to sign him says a great deal…
Basically, if he leaves – it’s Arsenal’s fault. They gave him nothing in terms of first team opportunities – and let his contract run down to a year without doing much about it. At 21, he has masses of time, and his talent is undoubted. At Bayern, it is likely he will get more game time, and the apparent plan is to loan him to Werder Bremen.
The good thing about the 5 above players, plus countless others who have joined a Premier League side and not been afforded any playing time before leaving – it isn’t the end of the road. Take a look at Chelsea’s youth/reserve teams and you are probably looking at 20 or 30 players minimum that are excellent youth products of teams around the globe, that might never see the light of a first team game for the club…
One final example, and one that I feel will come good given a run of games is a Chelsea player. Christian Atsu, set for a loan to Newcastle – brought in for £3.5m from Porto after impressing massively with them and Rio Ave, as well as Ghana. He hasn’t played a game for Chelsea yet, but impressed at Vitesse, while was barely used for Bournemouth or Everton while on loan there.
Newcastle currently lack true wingers, and with this loan with a view to a permanent – they can’t realistically lose! If he does well, sign him up – if not, send him back at the end.
In short, it is teams like Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd and Man City that are funding teams around the world to carry on producing talent, while they get a nice fee and the players get a chance to shine. For the money being paid, the likes of Juventus, Valencia or Benfica can find a replacement via their network of scouts for countless amounts less than they have sold for, and then train them up and when the time comes, take a profit and do the same. Porto and Benfica have done this for the last 15-20 years and have Champions League football in nearly every season!
Many see the Premier League as a negative in football these days, but for me – thanks to the stupidity of the owners, and the willingness to spend whatever it takes to secure players – it comes out as a positive for the rest.