Over the years, club football has seen a gradual increase in spendings over players and managers during the transfer windows. This, in turn, made people assume that the owners and presidents of football clubs are spending money unhealthily, to step up the game against their opponents.
The 2019 summer transfer window saw the ‘big five’ European Leagues spend in excess of £5 billion for the first time. Not only this, but four out of the five leagues, Serie A, the Bundesliga, La Liga and Ligue 1 also set transfer records for spending in a single window.
In the 2020 January transfer window, Premier League clubs alone spent a total of £230m and surpassed last year’s January window total of £180m.
It has been noted that the clubs are overspending on players with no or less experience just based on the performance in a set of important matches or cups and Coronavirus might be a blessing in disguise, for the big loads of money being spent in commercial football.
Bayern Munich president Herbert Heiner in an older interview stated, “With every crisis comes an opportunity, and the Coronavirus pandemic will stop the ‘unhealthy’ inflation of transfer fees and player wages.”
The past two-three years have been the most influential in club football in the matters of money-making and spending. Club owners have tried to sneak in some of the best players from the world during the transfer windows and the price tag has not been an easy target.
Not only the price tag placed by the clubs is way more, the fees players demand is rising at a faster rate than their capabilities to score a goal.
Some clubs have spent way more than expected on players and managers which have raised the bar for other clubs, who don’t have the budget to cope with the A-listers. This has not only resulted in league politics but in every major league in Europe, 5-6 clubs have been on the top for quite some time now and it is difficult for the other teams to cope without money.
Clubs like Manchester City and PSG are owned by Sheikh Mansour and Nasser Al-Khelaifi respectively, who are the richest businessmen in the Middle East. The two have deep pockets and allow the club managers to spend a good amount during the transfer window.
Player Wages and Big Spendings in Transfer Windows
PSG spent way too much on two players in one season alone and set transfer records that few football clubs will ever be able to match.
Neymar, who is still the most expensive transfer, was bought by the club for a whopping price of 222m EUR and the fact that he was not on the top of his game during the transfer period made it one of the most controversial signings. PSG was high on money and spent it all in one season when they signed the 19-year old sensation Kylian Mbappe for 145m EUR.
Mbappe is not the only 19-year old who was bought for a hefty price, Joao Felix too, was bought by Atletico Madrid for 126m EUR in the 2019 summer transfer window.
The story doesn’t end here, after paying great lumps of money as transfer fees, football clubs pay big wages to players and managers. Neymar gets a weekly fee of 36.8m EUR, Cristiano Ronaldo is paid 31m EUR, Lionel Messi 22m EUR and Mbappe 17m EUR.
In the managers’ category, Diego Simeone is the highest-paid gaffer as he is paid £36.2m per year, followed by Pep Guardiola (£20m) and Jose Mourinho (£15m).
Wage Cut for Players and Managers
The current pandemic has forced people all around the world to stay indoors and stop the virus from spreading. This has resulted in an indefinite pause of football leagues, international and domestic.
As the business houses are shut down for quite some time, and there are problems generating revenue, football players and managers have decided to take a wage cut for the time being. Atletico Madrid has been quite generous as the club decided to take a 70 per cent wage cut, and that includes every member of the club, including the players, manager and staff.
There have been reports where Premier League clubs have denied to take a wage cut, but Manchester United has made sure that the club’s players and staff take a 30 per cent wage cut.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe became the first Premier League manager to take a ‘significant’ voluntary pay cut and was followed by Brighton boss Graham Potter and England manager Gareth Southgate.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. have decided to save the Italian club, Juventus 90m EUR while German clubs, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Bayern Leverkusen will share their wealth to prevent job losses.
Economic Breakdown due to the Pandemic
This Pandemic has affected the economy of the world quite heavily and not just football clubs, but the whole world has been struck by shock due to this. Domestic football has been affected as the clubs are unable to generate income and they will be short of quite a few million euros in the upcoming transfer window.
Hopefully, the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic will stop the ‘over-valuation’ of players during the transfer windows and ‘unhealthy’ inflation of player wages.
The clubs will be more careful about spending their money after the outbreak and most probably the price tag of players will be reasonable.
Assessing the whole situation, Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stated,
“For a long time we have seen unhealthy amounts of money paid by football clubs in the form of wages and transfer fees. The pandemic and the crisis it is causing will at least put an end to the idea of ‘always more, everything more expensive and quicker than before’.”