By: Mike Newell
Over the past year many clubs have come under greater scrutiny in regards to their player spending at overall financial stability. With several top flight clubs around Europe’s biggest leagues either at the brink of, or falling into administration, UEFA has begun to take action against reckless spending by club management. Starting in the 2011-2012 season, teams who spend more than they make in revenue, or clubs in excessive amounts of debt could be barred from lucrative European club competitions like Champions League or Europa League. The new “Financial fair play” rules also target the amount owners invest into their clubs for player spending.
The legislation will allow owners to inject €15 million (£12.3m) a year into their clubs up until 2015, and then €10m (£8.2m) until 2018. This cash cannot be a loan, which is an approach already taken by the Manchester City and Chelsea hierarchy.
As the transfer window is set to shut on Wednesday, many top European clubs will be looking at their benches and seeing if they need any additions to improve the squad. However unlike years past it seems less likely that major moves will be done at the deadline. Aside from the spending sprees at at Real Madrid and Manchester City, there has been little to speak of from many of the top clubs in Europe. Instead there is a emphasis on either loaning out troubled or unproductive players, and buying lower priced unknown or “diamond in the rough” type players. Manchester United, Arsenal and Barcelona (with the exception of David Villa) have, at least for now cooled on spending tremendous amounts of money on new talent.
As UFEA President Michel Platini stated yesterday at a press conference “For years and years we were in total anarchy but the clubs asked for the rules because they knew they could not continue. He added “Transfers have not been as crazy as in the last few years, they are pulling up their socks and the clubs are making special efforts to comply with the rules.”
The new UFEA legislation is a massive reason as to why many clubs have not been as active on the transfer market as in previous years. The fear of having UFEA either ban of scansion the club for financial mis-management is enough to slow down the mad spending of some clubs. Manchester United with it’s near £700 million debt have done very little business in the window outside of picking up Javier Hernandez, Chris Smalling and Bebe. Based on their estimated transfer values the total for the 3 barely hits £20 million. Compare this with two summers ago when the signing of one player, Dimitar Berbatov, cost the club just over £30 million.
Other clubs have followed suit in this quiet transfer window. The defending European and Italian champions biggest off season move was losing manager Jose Mourinho, and then signing former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez. The also normally busy AC Milan has been quite this summer, even the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not generated as much buzz as it normally would. This would be due to the fact it’s only a season long loan deal. German champions and Champions league finalist Bayern Munich have practically signed no one.[picappgallerysingle id=”9626746″]
This is not to say that the transfer rumors have been stopped, in fact with the lack of movement they have become more prevalent as media outlets need something to write about in the off season. Many of these rumours have been little more than that, and as clubs continue to keep the wallets closed until a gem of a deal comes forward, expect to see a lack of fireworks tomorrow and Wednesday.