A fiscal crisis presented itself during the French Revolution towards the end of the 18th century. Today, European football is in the midst of another French revolution in a matter of speaking, the fiscal nature of which is far from dismal. Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco have spent a combined sum of €208.3 million this summer and officially, we’re only on day 20 of the current transfer window.
With PSG backed by the deep pockets of Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Monaco by those of Dmitry Rybolovlev, the French sides have snapped up some of the most sought after talents in European football. They brushed aside competitors with their financial muscle which is particularly impressive because of the manner in which they ousted Chelsea and Manchester City, the very clubs that played big roles in inflating the market in the first place.
When Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003, he revolutionized the modern game by spending handsomely on enhancing their squad of players. The Russian acquired the club for £140 million and immediately eclipsed that figure in the very first transfer window alone by splashing over £153 million on new recruits.
Money was no object for Chelsea and the enormous wages they offered didn’t just put them among the big hitters in the European transfer market but essentially made them the dominant buyers in England. When Jose Mourinho was appointed, he pretty much had his pick from some of the best players in the world.
However, Manchester City struck gold when Sheikh Mansoor became the club’s owner following Abu Dhabi United Group’s take over in 2008 which saw them raise the bar in the transfer market, putting them ahead of Chelsea in the shopping line. In fending off other suitors for the likes of Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Yaya Toure, City built a squad capable of matching the best in the country.
Of course, the significant investments by both sides haven’t been in vain. City won the Premier League, FA Cup and Community Shield since 2008 while Chelsea notched up 13 trophies since 2003 which includes the Champions League.
Nevertheless, their authority in the transfer market has considerably dwindled of late with the emergence of PSG and Monaco. The two strikers that stand testament to the recruiting supremacy of the Ligue 1 sides are Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani. The South American forwards have seen €123.3 million spent in a bid to bring their talents to France’s top division and put them out of reach for Chelsea and City.
It’s no secret that Chelsea in particular strongly pursued Falcao especially after the Colombian dismantled their defense in the European Super Cup last season. Atletico Madrid won 4-1 on the night and their number nine bagged a sensational first-half hat-trick. The Londoners’ interest in the striker only intensified in the aftermath of that performance but after a season of being linked with Chelsea as well as Real Madrid and City to a lesser extent, the offer at Monaco proved too good to refuse.
Cavani on the other hand was heavily linked with City especially after they offloaded Carlos Tevez having already sold Mario Balotelli to AC Milan in January. Chelsea had reportedly submitted a bid for the Uruguayan as well but once PSG entered the race there was no catching them. Despite boasting the attacking talent of Zlatan Ibrahimovic already, the Parisians managed to reel in Cavani with a €63.3 million bid making him the most expensive recruit this summer, even ahead of Falcao (€60 million) and Neymar (€57 million).
This may not be the last time PSG and Monaco overpower their English counterparts in the transfer window. Chelsea curbed their spending habits between 2006 and 2009 when their net expenditure was -£7.10 million, that’s right, they actually made a small profit! Since then though, they’ve returned to spending large sums but not to the extent of their initial surge. Have the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations played a part in their restraint? It’s certainly something to consider.
Meanwhile, City pulled back on the throttle last summer as well and nearly sent Roberto Mancini off the edge with their lack of transfer activity. Their net spending was just £13.1 million last season while the £48.25 million net spent in the season before was still low by their standards.
Although they’ve made a couple of big acquisitions during this window already, the sale of Carlos Tevez in particular has softened the blow on their bill which is still far from one that can challenge PSG’s or Monaco’s.
Having lost two of the best strikers around to the French, Chelsea and City are in unfamiliar territory but may want to get comfortable because PSG and Monaco are showing no signs of letting up in the near future. After years of outbidding their competitors to land their targets, it appears as if they’ve fallen victim to the money-crazy system they so effectively instigated themselves.
|Are PSG and Monaco now superior to Chelsea and City in the transfer market? Send in your thoughts in the comments below or discuss with the writer on Twitter @BrendonNetto.|
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