Value for money? UK soccer’s £1.4 bln splurge

UK Premier League soccer clubs have eclipsed the record for the amount spent during the summer transfer window, splashing out a record £1.4 billion – an average of £71 million for each club. Kate King takes a look at whether they’re spending within their means.

(Reuters) – Trevor Francis was Britain’s first

million pound player.

Bought by Nottingham Forest, almost four decades ago.

At the time the fee seemed outrageous.

ARSENAL MANAGER, ARSENE WENGER,

“That shows you how much distance, how far we have gone and how big football has become, it is beyond calculation, beyond rationality.”

In comparison today’s figures are eyewatering.

A record 1.4 billion pounds was spent during the summer transfer window.

A 23% rise on last year.

The Premier League’s highest spender was Manchester City.

It shelled out 220 million pounds on new talent.

FORMER CHELSEA PLAYER, PAT NEVIN,

“We were having the arguments about are they paid too much money a game, are you spending too much money 50 years ago. Now there’s a couple more, in fact three or four more noughts on the end it now, but as long as the system actually works, and the system for the moment certainly for the British clubs seems to be working.”

So are clubs spending within their means?

Apparently so.

Around a quarter of thier total revenues.

MARKET STRATEGIST, BGC PARTNERS, MIKE INGRAM:

“The immediate revenue security for football clubs I think probably remains in the TV rights, we have had a new cycle certainly in the UK that has locked in significantly higher revenues.”

That saw BT and SKY boost clubs coffers by more than 5 billion for a three year deal.

Still, it was Neymar’s 198 million pound transfer which caught the headlines.

Paris Saint German, owned not by club, but by country – saw Qatar bring a whole new element to the transfer game.

ARSENAL MANAGER, ARSENE WENGER,

“We are not in a period anymore where you think in some places I invest that, I will get that back, we are beyond that.”

These days, one million pounds will net you an average player,

unless, of course, you grab a future star before even they know it.

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