Has the credit crunch affected the Premier League?
The Spoiler considers the decline in big money transfer activity
The credit crunch is affecting everyone in the UK at the moment: bread now costs more than a Ford Fiesta did ten years ago, house prices in the north have fallen below £25 for a two bed semi, and pretty soon, Cristiano Ronaldo will start having to using cheaper prostitutes just to get by.
The transfer rumours thrown around each day seem to assume that the Premier League’s elite are not affected by the global financial problems, but the cost of obtaining loans has clearly stalled the summer transfer market.
Consider the list below, which details each Premier League club’s biggest summer signing last year and the date on which they occurred:
Eduardo to Arsenal – July 3
Reo Coker to Villa – July 5
Muamba to Birmingham – May 11
Santa Cruz to Blackburn – July 28
Samuel to Bolton – July 1
Malouda to Chelsea – July 9
Earnshaw to Derby – June 29
Yakubu to Everton – August 29
Kamara to Fulham – July 9
Torres to Liverpool – July 3
Elano to Man City – August 2
Tevez to Man United – August 10
Tuncay to Middlebrough – July 4
Barton to Newcastle – June 14
Muntari to Portsmouth – May 30
Fae to Reading – August 2
Richardson to Sunderland – July 16
Bent to Tottenham – June 29
Bellamy to West Ham – July 10
Koumas to Wigan July 10
As you can see, fifteen of the twenty clubs (the bold ones) had made their big move in the market by this date last summer*. This year, however, just Bolton (Elmander), Portsmouth (Crouch) and Tottenham (Modric) appear to have conducted their main transfer business, equating to just fifteen per cent of the league. Even if you threw the signings made by Arsenal (Nasri), Fulham (Zamora), Hull (Boateng), Man City (Jo) and Middlesbrough (Digard/Emmes), less than half the top flight clubs are getting involved in big money deals.
Hard times would also explain the tiresome to-ing and fro-ing we have seen in the Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard sagas, and also the threats made by the bank manager to Liverpool if they fail to repay their hefty loans.
While clubs like Chelsea, with their bottomless pit of cash, seem impervious to the economic downturn, most others are likely to be frugal in the coming months, and players will be lucky to get that big money move.
Sorry Gareth, if things carry on like this you’ll be avoiding abuse in the Midlands in August and beyond…
* The Tevez transfer was delayed by all the complications though United had already signed Hargreaves, Nani and Anderson by this point last year. Manchester City’s transfer dealings were delayed by the fact Sven Goran Eriksson didn’t take over until July 6, and Yakubu’s move to Everton was hampered by work permit complications.