“We can’t afford to outgun competitors that have far more money. We have to be very careful, very selective.” Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal’s chief executive, knows well that his club have not been as active as they should have been in the summer transfer window. However, the fact that huge inflated sums are being paid for players left and right helps us understand the logic behind Arsenal’s transfer policy.
Money is being spent everywhere and in any possible way, Arsenal were said to be following Riyad Mahrez and Alexandre Lacazette but as things stand, both players seem to be staying at their respective clubs and even keeping such players is a costly activity. Lyon offered Lacazette the biggest contract in the club’s history to convince him to stay.
Many believe that Arsenal need to spend if they are to win the Premier League or at least remain in the top four. Nevertheless, recent history has told us otherwise, Manchester Untied spent big in the past two seasons and got little in return whereas Leicester City built a considerably cheap squad and managed to win the Premier League title. Football is no longer about the team that spends the most. Nevertheless, spending money helps a lot. Arsenal’s current squad cannot win the Premier League, the Gunners need two more players to be able to compete throughout the whole season. Wenger has taken his sweet time in considering the options at hand but he has to make a move quickly before the end of the window, or else he will end up paying inflated prices just like his opponents.
Opponents Chelsea spent €76m on only two players and now are trying to sell players before they can add anyone to their team. While Antonio Conte’s preseason preparation shows positive signs, the Blues have wasted all their transfer money on only two players. There is no doubt that more players are needed if the London-based club is to win the Premier League this season. Their former star, Romelu Lukaku is a big target but would they spend over €70m on the striker that they once sold for much less? The two London clubs seem to be slightly behind their two rivals from Manchester. Both City and United spent big this summer as they are trying to dominate English football. Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola were the first two additions, and then big players followed on both sides. The pressure to perform is big on the two and that could turn against them.
The new Premier League TV deal has turned the tide. Following a few years of losing stars such as Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez, now the Premier League teams are attracting them. Manchester United were set out on regaining their lost status as the Premier League’s best clubs and paying a record fee for a player they let go for free was no hindrance. Manchester City have won the Premier League on two occasions recently but their aim is to become a dominant European force, something they have failed to do ever since their takeover by the Abu Dhabi-based group. On the other hand, the spending hasn’t been restricted to the Premier League. Gonzalo Higuain, Hulk and Andre Gomes are three of the four most expensive transfers this summer and they moved to teams playing in Serie A, Chinese Super League and La Liga respectively. Juventus, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, PSG, Borussia Dortmund and even Schalke 04 have spent big this summer. All in all, the 42 most expensive transfers of this summer have cost football clubs almost €1.4 billion!
Spending power is not directly proportional to football success. However, it will be interesting to see how this season will end up after huge amounts were spent. Perhaps, some learn from the story of Leicester City while others aim to do it the Real Madrid and Manchester City way. Below is the complete list of the most expensive 42 players in this transfer window so far and more are yet to come, who do you think is worth his transfer fee and who is not?
Paul Pogba €110m (Juventus to Manchester United)
Gonzalo Higuain €90m (Napoli to Juventus)
Hulk €55.8m (Zenit to Shanghai SIPG)
Andre Gomes €50m (Valencia to Barcelona)
John Stones €49m (Everton to Manchester City)
Granit Xhaka €45m (Borussia Moenchengladbach to Arsenal)
Leroy Sane €43.7m (Schalke 04 to Manchester City)
Michy Batshuayi €40m (Marseille to Chelsea)
Eric Bailly €38 (Villarreal to Manchester United)
Mats Hummels €38 (Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich)
N’Golo Kante €36m (Leicester City to Chelsea)
Sadio Mane €36m (Southampton to Liverpool)
Renato Sanches €35m (Benfica to Bayern Munich)
Arkadiusz Milik €35m (Ajax to Napoli)
Kevin Gameiro €32m (Sevilla to Atletico Madrid)
Gabriel Jesus €32m (Palmeiras to Manchester City)
Miralem Pjanic €32m (Roma to Juventus)
Alvaro Morata €30m (Juventus to Real Madrid)
Andre Schurrle €30m (Wolfsburg to Borussia Dortmund)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan €30m (Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United)
Ilkay Gundogan €28 (Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City)
Georginio Wijnaldum €27.5m (Newcastle to Liverpool)
Mario Gotze €26m (Bayern Munich to Borussia Dortmund)
Grzegorz Krychowiak €26m (Sevilla to PSG)
Breel Embolo €25m (Basel to Schalke 04)
Jese €25m (Real Madrid to PSG)
Samuel Umtiti €25m (Lyon to Barcelona)
Nicolas Gaitan €25m (Benfica to Atletico Madrid)
Andre Ayew €24m (Swansea City to West Ham United)
Marko Pjaca €23m (Dinamo Zagreb to Juventus)
Vincent Janssen €22m (AZ Alkmaar to Tottenham Hotspurs)
Antonio Candreva €22m (Lazio to Inter)
Kevin Volland €20 (Hoffenheim to Bayer Leverkusen)
Ahmed Musa €18.75m (CSKA Moscow to Leicester City)
Lucas Digne €16.5m (PSG to Barcelona)
Nolito €16.5m (Celta Vigo to Manchester City)
Sime Vrsajlko €16m (Sassuolo to Atletico Madrid)
Nampalys Mendy €15.5m (Nice to Leicester City)
Graziano Pelle €15.2m (Southampton to Shandong Luneng)
Ashley Williams €14m (Swansea City to Everton)
Victor Wanyama €13.5m (Southampton to Tottenham Hotspurs)
Raphael Guerreiro €12m (Lorient to Borussia Dortmund)