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Running to Stand Still

Having just completed the takeover of the club, Chelsea’s new owners have just announced Thomas Tuchel will have around £200 million to spend in the transfer window this summer. Meanwhile, Tottenham’s shareholders are putting £150 million into the club to satisfy manager Antonio Conté’s transfer aspirations.

Elsewhere, Manchester City, who have already bought Erling Haaland for £51 million and Julian Alvarez for £14 million, have indicated that they are looking to add at least two more players to their squad, whilst Eric ten Hag has a major rebuild job on his hand at Old Trafford.

And, across the Channel, Kylian Mbappé has just renewed his contract with PSG on terms, that in terms of both financial reward and the power that it gives him, are frankly eye-watering.

Elsewhere clubs are still swimming in debt, with Everton, PSG and City just some of those reported to have breached FFP (Financial Fair Play). Barcelona are back in the situation where they cannot even register players, whilst still continuing to be linked with high profile targets which, whilst they may be free transfers, will be anything but when it comes to signing-on fees and wages.

There is a growing financial disparity in the game, with the elite clubs continuing to pu;ll away from the rest in terms of spending power. And the Premier League, in particular, is drawing ever further distant from the other leagues in Europe when it comes to wealth.

Whilst the concept of a European Super League (ESL) may have been derived by fans, administrators and governments, it is essentially being created on the pitch by the very same clubs that initially were linked to that project.

The problem though, with these big transfer kitties some of the clubs are threatening to spend this summer, is that it does not give any of them a clear advantage. Club A spends £100 million on Superstar A, so Club B spends the same amount on Superstar B, effectively cancelling each other out.

The main beneficiaries are the players, who, at the elite level, know how much they are in demand and can sit back and just watch the “Super” clubs compete for their services.

And the losers might be the clubs, fans, and the sport in general. Chelsea might spend their £200 million but will it help them close the gap to Manchester City who now have Erling Haaland in their ranks?

In effect, clubs are now running to stand still.

Meanwhile, the chances of a Leicester City winning the Premier League, a Lille clinching the Ligue 1 title, or any club other than Bayern Munich winning the Bundesliga get smaller and smaller each year.

That is in effect a Super League in a different format.

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