A feast of football is coming our way in June with the announcement that La Liga will resume on the 8th followed closely by the Premier League which is expected to announce fixtures around a week later. This seems to be a rushed decision but one that is heavily backed by money with the Spanish Prime Minister a driving force behind it.
The message from Spain seems to be that the country needs football to return to some sort of normality to take people’s minds away from Covid19 and show that we can bounce back sooner than later – but of course underlying to all this is the fact that money is a huge factor in determining the fate of many La Liga clubs and the economy itself in Spain. So much so that we will be treated to watching each team play every 3 days if they are to finalise their season by the 26th of July (Which is when the powers that be want all club commitments decided – then to focus on the Champions League/Europa qualification then into the new season).
For the Top earners Barcelona and Madrid they will gain roughly €160million per year for TV rights alone which is around €50million more than Athletico Madrid on €111Million who are usually in 3rd place. This year the panic surrounding not finishing the league might not completing games has sent shockwaves to the top and bottom of the league, talk about TV money being handed back and clubs will be pushed hard to sell their prized assets. For the upper tier it will mean perhaps not having a marquee signing this season but for the medium to lower teams this could literally mean financial ruin if they have a large wage bill.
Over to the Premier League, the biggest earners in Europe by some distance, we have the same issue with teams that have the lowest attendances therefore usually the lowest natural income relying so heavily on the TV money – Burnley and Bournemouth are both thought to be very concerned that their crippling wage bill will could come back to haunt them. Is it any wonder that despite the Scottish league/Dutch League and recently announced the Women’s leagues will all have fallen by the wayside while the big guns of the Premier League will show their influence and push on with an early return from solitary?
More interestingly will be the knock-on effect of this financial crisis among the clubs will be how they manage their biggest resources – the players – be it retaining youth players that show promise, extend the contracts of fringe players and of course the biggest priority each season on how to strengthen their squads. If Manchester United were to buy Jadon Sancho 8 weeks ago the figure would have thought to be close to 80Million but has this crisis devalued him? Or has it urged the likes of Dortmund to try to hold onto their players to galvanise their club in this time of worry.
If we are to believe the Spanish papers this week it seems that everybody is for sale aside from Messi/Ter Stegen and De Jong! While they try to secure swap deals with players like Semedo and Vidal with Pjanic and Martinez. These are not the typical deals we would normally see the Catalans complete but they are fast turning into a swap meet of player sales. Bayern’s Kingsley Coman is a name that all the Spanish giants seem to want to sign but money is usually king in these matters and it just shows the pockets are not always bottomless.
With games going on now until the end of July we will most likely see a lot of late deals in the transfer market with each club vying for position by sizing up the smaller clubs. How it will affect clubs that are desperate to buy – Imagine a newly invested Newcastle with deeper pockets trying to compete in such a window. Compared to Manchester United who are desperate to add quality to their side so they may get closer to their neighbours.
Much will depend on how the TV revenue can be recovered with so many games between now and the August Transfer deadline. Higher profile players are going to have to sweat the wait to see if they will get a move – Imagine being Coutinho/Aubameyang/Werner on the verge of getting a move to greener grass. Only time will tell if their value in the current market allows for these moves. We will wait with anticipation … after the feast of football is over!