A Rich Man’s World

When the new Premier League TV deal was announced it was greeted with excitement and a sense that the smaller clubs could finally compete. Now here we are, the first summer window with the TV money being splashed about without a care in the world. We are indeed seeing the smaller teams spending serious amounts of money, that is all well and good but Premier League clubs must be careful.

Just a few years ago spending £20 million on a player was seen a massive amount to spend on one player, now however, it is deemed normal. Players who have not necessarily hit the heights are going for extortionate prices, Nathan Ake moved to Bournemouth this summer from Chelsea, the Cherries paid a whopping £20 million for the 22 year-old defender. There is no doubting the Dutchman’s potential or ability, but £20 million for a player who has appeared 41 times in six seasons in the Premier League is mad. Harry Maguire is another who moved for big money this summer, making the move from relegated Hull City to Leicester City for £17 million. The former Tiger’s defender was a key man last season, one of a handful to impress in the Hull side, a good acquisition for Leicester but I can’t help but question the fees being banded around this summer.

To put today’s prices into some sort of perspective – Alan Shearer moved to Newcastle United from Blackburn Rovers for a then world record of £15 million in 1996. This summer you will be struggle to buy an 18 year – old with little Premier League experience to his name for £15 million, this worries me. Call me old fashioned but if this sort of spending continues, it will cause huge problems for clubs in the future – There are teams that are already in a huge amount of debt. Manchester United have a net debt of £261 million, while Tottenham owe £125 million in bank loans.

Of course I am not all negative about the increase in money for Premier League clubs, I think it is great that teams such as Bournemouth can go out and spend more money in order to compete. However, the increase in money has seriously over-inflated the transfer market, meaning teams can rarely get value for money. If Nathan Ake performs well for Bournemouth over the next few seasons, I don’t want to imagine how much he will be worth, if at 22 and little Premier League experience he is worth £20 million, how much will he be worth with a few season of experience under his belt?

I have worried about young players for some time, the astronomical amount of money they earn now has a detrimental impact on their development. Young players who have appeared a handful of times in the Premier League are on big wages, giving them the attitude that they have already made it. Youngsters used to work their way to the top, with apprenticeships and earning a lot less than they do today, in the modern game the younger players have everything handed to them on a plate. Gone are the days where younger players clean senior players’ boots, now a young player seeking a transfer can hold Premier League clubs to ransom.

If the spending continues down this path I shudder to think what state Premier League clubs will be in, in a few years time.

Comments welcome.

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