Where Are All The Big Soccer Transfers This Summer?
The international transfer window is now open for football clubs. The domestic season is over in Europe, and it’s now time for big clubs to take stock of where they are and go looking for the players they need to improve their fortunes next time around. Players have been let go from their clubs to free up space in salary budgets for new acquisitions, and television money is being carefully counted so managers know what they’re working with when they make bids. This is usually a very exciting time of year for football fans, filling the gap between seasons. This year, though, there doesn’t seem to be much happening.
Even before the window opens, we usually know of a big deal or two that’s likely to happen. A player out of contract with one club will have signed a pre-agreement with a new one, or a bid will have been lined up and pre-approved for the moment the window opens. This time we have nothing. There are rumours – and there always will be – but we can honestly say that we don’t know whether any of the best players in the world will move between clubs this summer. We don’t even know of any “good but not great” players who are considering a change of circumstances. Everything feels very flat.
Part of this might be down to the fact that the delayed Euro 2020 tournament is happening across June and July. Most of the best players in Europe have been called upon to represent their nations at the tournament and so theoretically won’t be available to discuss transfers or sign paperwork until their participation is over. Just the fact that the tournament is happening at this point at all might be an issue. The unavoidable delays with domestic football seasons last year, coupled with the crushing together of Euro 2020 games and World Cup qualification matches, has given us twelve months of solid football with very little in the way of rest for top players. They’re burned out, and so are the clubs who pay their salaries. The stress of organising transfers and uprooting their families might be the last thing on the minds of many players.
The financial implications of what happened in 2020 also can’t be ignored. Television broadcasting deals and sponsorships ensured that there was still an income for the world’s biggest clubs during the pandemic, but it was still a reduced income. Money was the primary motivator for the failed European Super League project, which was launched and then quickly shot down in April this year. Clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid were already in financial difficulty even before they were forced to stop playing and close their stadiums. After enduring 2020’s woes, their bank accounts are emptier than ever before. Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez says that a project like the Super League has to happen or “clubs will go bankrupt.” In reality, he’s referring to his own club. Real Madrid’s debts are estimated to exceed nine hundred million dollars. Rivals Barcelona aren’t far behind them, and Italian giants Juventus have financial issues, too. These issues would always have come to the forefront eventually, but the events of 2020 have drastically accelerated the process.
With heavy debts lingering in the background and stadiums still at limited capacity, the kind of big-money transfer fees we’ve become accustomed to in football are a bigger risk than ever. Paying one hundred million dollars for a player doesn’t guarantee that the player will be a success. It’s merely an improved chance of success. Like a player at an online slots website, you’re buying an opportunity but you have no say in how it will turn out. That’s not a problem so long as you have enough cash to keep paying into an online slots game when bets don’t go your way. When your bankroll is low, you’re often best advised to keep what you’ve got rather than lose everything in the pursuit of a windfall. That’s how the best players conduct themselves at Rose Slots Canada. When we’re talking football, we’re also talking about bigger wagers than anyone with any sense would ever consider placing on online slots. The costs of acquiring the world’s best players are astronomical. The consequences of spending that kind of money and failing are unbearable. This, more than anything else, might explain the lack of activity.
The window will remain open until the end of August in England and a little later than that in the rest of Europe. By the time it closes, the most significant moves might prove to be those that came without a fee. We’ve seen one or two of those already. Long-serving Manchester City striker has moved to Barcelona after his contract in Manchester wasn’t renewed. He would have been joined at his new club by out-of-contract Liverpool midfielder Gigi Wijnaldum, but the Dutchman changed his mind about his preferred destination at the last moment and joined Paris Saint Germain instead. The Catalan giants are also thought to want to sign Lyon’s Dutch forward Memphis Depay, but Depay has told them he has better financial offers elsewhere. It’s thought to have been money that turned Wijnaldum’s head, too. The fact that one of the world’s biggest clubs has been reduced to trying to sign veteran players on free transfers and is being outbid on wages says everything about Barcelona’s current financial state.
It’s still possible that we might see some big moves happen. Harry Kane is understood to want to leave Tottenham Hotspur in favour of a club that might give him a realistic chance of winning trophies. Any club would love to have him if the circumstances were right, but Spurs are thought to want a price of around £150m for their star striker. That sort of money just isn’t available to the overwhelming majority of clubs in the current circumstances. Manchester United are thought to have re-opened talks with Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, with a lower price quoted than when negotiations fell through last year, but that deal is far from done. Erling Haaland is another player who every big club in the world wants to sign, but the likely £100m-plus cost is a block in the road that few clubs can navigate. If any of these players move, it will likely be to clubs in the cash-rich English Premier League. Don’t be surprised, though, if they’re all still at their current clubs when the 2021-2022 season begins.