Talking Soccer: The price tag of transfers

FC Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho gestures during the Spanish Copa del Rey, quarter final, second leg, soccer match between FC Barcelona and Espanyol at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

The January transfer window just closed for the European teams and as always there was a lot of movement in the last few days.

In the English Premier League alone, there were as many as 200 players changing teams. Most people only hear about the big transfers and there were several big ones indeed. 

Philippe Coutinho left for Barcelona for $142 million euro, as reported by ESPN.

Other notable transfers include Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang forcing his way out of Dortmund to Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez trading his Arsenal jersey for a Manchester United jersey and Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving in the other direction. Theo Walcott, another ex-Arsenal player, moved to Everton in January as well.

Olivier Giroud made an unexpected late move to Chelsea.

While the numerous transfers are nothing new, soccer has reached a point where the price tags of players are barely sustainable for most teams. This is something Barcelona Vice President, Jordi Mestre blames Neymar (and his absurd price tag) for.

Mestre said Neymar played a “cat and mouse” game.

"We would have saved a lot of money and a lot of media noise," Mestre added.

I don’t know if Neymar is solely to blame for this crazy series of transfers, but soccer is digging itself a hole and it won’t be easy to climb out of it.

How much longer will clubs be able to play this game? It’s already hurting some teams like Borussia Dortmund. Players, including Aubameyang, use dirty tactics to force their way out of clubs. He skipped practices and meetings and disconnected himself from the management of the team.

As the price tag of players increases, only a select few rich clubs will be available to compete for those players.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Barcelona, Real Madrid and PSG splurge every summer and winter.

A report by the Guardian from the 2014 - 2015 season revealed the Premier League teams have close to $2 billion British pound sterling in debt.

Chelsea leads the pack with 1.1 billion in debt even when their owner, Roman Abramovich, is “only” a millionaire.

Teams are spending so much more than they have. What kind of business runs like this? How long until soccer fails as a whole?

It’s even worse considering that just this week, a story broke regarding how Manchester United does not pay its employees enough.

According to the article it would take new signing, Alexis Sanchez, 82 minutes to earn what a single Manchester United employee makes in a year.

The Red Devils denied the accusations.

So, how long is the market going to support soccer before it collapses?


Daniela Marulanda is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at daniela.marulanda@uconn.edu.