Premier League Clubs Risk Being Caught Out By Spending Late

 • by Simon Collings
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The end of the transfer window always brings with it a flurry of deals involving Premier League clubs.

Eager to conclude some last-minute business, sides can frantically look to do multiple transfers on deadline day to ensure they have a strong enough squad for the new season.

The type of deals can range from late loan moves or the conclusion of long sagas that have spanned the course of the summer.

Dimitar Berbatov’s move to Manchester United in 2008 from Tottenham springs to mind when thinking of the latter, or even Gareth Bale’s switch to Real Madrid in 2013.

Both occurred on deadline day as Spurs chairman Daniel Levy played hardball to ensure he got maximum value from the sales. With over £120m banked from Bale and Berbatov’s departures, it is safe to say he did.

Such sales highlight the dangers of clubs leaving it late in the transfer market.

Arsene Wenger and late deals by FootballWhispers

It is a tactic that can go two ways. The buying side may get lucky in that the club simply decide they have to offload a player, meaning they suddenly drop their asking price.

One would suspect Atletico Madrid are perhaps playing such a game with Diego Costa and Chelsea.

However, events can very easily go the other way and the selling club can jack up their valuation because they have been left with no time to find a replacement.

One would suspect Liverpool are perhaps playing such a game with Philippe Coutinho and Barcelona.

Either way, it is a gamble for both parties involved.

However, this summer, Premier League clubs could be hit harder than ever for leaving their transfer business to last minute due to a number of reasons.

To start with, there is the big issue over the falling value of the pound against the euro. Earlier in August it was trading at an eight-year low against the euro.

Such a situation is crippling for English clubs.

Simply put, it means the value of players they purchase in euros is going up day by day as the pound continues to fall.

Look at it this way, if an English club had bought Neymar in 2012 for the €222m Paris Saint-Germain paid for him today, it would have cost them £176m based on the exchange rate then.

Right now, it would have set them back £200m.

The impact is even being seen this summer, though, over an even shorter period of time.

Tottenham are set to complete a deal worth €42m for Ajax defender Davinson Sanchez, which at today’s exchange rate equates to £38.4m. Had they bought him on June 1, it would have cost them £36.5m.

The other factor causing Premier League clubs problems is the sale of Neymar.

The Brazilian left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain at the start of August as part of a world-record deal worth £200m.

Such a huge deal has changed the whole landscape of the market and inflated prices.

Suddenly a £20m player is worth closer to £30m, or a club wants £50m for an individual they previously valued at £40m.

As soon as the bar is raised, the rest always follow.

“You spend £50m today for normal players,” says Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

“That is absolutely getting crazy because people say, when you say you buy Neymar for €300m, ‘Okay I am not as good as Neymar but I am still worth €50m or €100m.’

“So what has changed is that the prices have gone up tremendously. I believe we see more and more people going to the end of their contract for two reasons.

“It has a consequence because the money will circulate and rotate from one club to another. The money that Barcelona got will go somewhere else.”

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Neymar’s game-changing deal means clubs who did some of their business early have dodged a bullet.

Would Arsenal still have got Alexandre Lacazette for just over £50m had they left it till now?

Surely Everton commanded more than £75m for Romelu Lukaku?

And doesn’t Leicester City’s £50m valuation of Riyad Mahrez almost seem reasonable now in comparison to Neymar’s sale?

All of it points towards a conclusion that clubs who conducted their business earlier on in the transfer window have completed the best deals.

Premier League sides are already being exploited due to their riches but, by leaving it later and later to sign players, they are gambling with new levels of inflation.

European sides know they have the money to spend – and they aren’t going to let themselves be short changed – so why risk haggling them?

“When you start to talk about each club or the player, but more the clubs, they know if it is for the Premier League,” says Watford boss Marco Silva.

“If you go at this moment to ask the clubs in Portugal, Spain, Italy or whatever: ‘What club do you want to sell your players to?’

“Everybody says China or the Premier League. It is because of the market at this moment.”

To make matter worse that price hike for Premier League clubs Silva speaks of is only getting worse as the window draws to a close because, as Wenger explains, there is another problem on the horizon.

“People anticipate on inflation; when you speak with an agent he says: ‘My player today makes £3m, but with television money coming in, the price of the other players, I now want £8m.’

“But we cannot go from £3m to £8m – we cannot afford it. But that is what they want because they anticipate the inflation and that is a very dangerous game where you could be caught.

“If the incoming stops for example, we make £5.1bn from domestic TV rights, I can’t see how that can go up anymore. But we are still under pressure to play with the inflation. That’s where the risk is.”

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