Shutters go down on transfer window madness

£155m spent on transfer deadline day alone

pogba signs

Paul Pogba signs his £220,000 a week contract with Manchester United after joining them from Juventus for £89 million

Anybody else think the spending during the Premier League summer transfer window just closed was absolutely nuts?  Well, even more nuts than usual.

More than £155 million spent on transfer deadline day alone as the outlay reached a record £1.165 billion? Insane!

Thirteen top-flight teams breaking their own transfer records! Not that the other seven — Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Hull City, Middlesbrough and Manchester City — were idle; Pep Guardiola’s City alone dropped well over £100 million on the likes of young England hope John Stones (£47.5 million from Everton), Leroy Sane (£37 million from Schalke), and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo (£15.4 million from Barca). Crazy! 

Even supposed tightwad Arsene Wenger spent £35 million each on midfielder Granit Xhaka  from Borussia Monchengladbach and central defender Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia, and threw in  £17 million for forward Lucas Perez  from Deportivo. Lucas Who?

The four Premier League clubs competing in this season’s Champions League  — Arsenal, Leicester City, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur — spent a knee-trembling £385 million between them. Crazy money!

And have we mentioned the mind-blowing wages some of the big names  — and the not so big — will be drawing down from their new clubs? Paul Pogba will get by well enough on his reported £220,000 a weekly at Manchester United, while  young Stones  will hardly struggle on a reported €8 million a year, a step up from his mere £30,000 weekly stipend at Goodison Park; but what will poor George Boyd do on the miserly €26,000 weekly he is reportedly on over at poor relations Burnley?

To give you some idea of how the other 0.0000001 per cent live, according to a study quoted by  joe.ie, the average weekly wage in the Manchester City senior squad was £96,445 last season. After the study was conducted, City signed Raheem Sterling (£190,000 per week) and Kevin de Bruyne (£170,000).

Okay, we all know the 20 clubs in the Premier League have benefitted from the record £5.1 billion television deal  Sky and BT Sport signed with the Premier League for the next three seasons, and which came into effect this season.  And that’s not forgetting the premium matches being shown by Eir, ESPN and others.  

BT had squeezed up on team Sky, pressuring them into the bidding war which has provided this mega windfall for the top clubs and those holding the TV rights. But maybe the news was not so good for the many fans who can’t afford premium TV packages, or for the likes of those Saints aficionados who had to travel up from Southampton to Old Trafford on Friday night, recently. 

So now we have, what, Friday Fever to go with Super Sunday, Manic Monday, Woeful Wednesday and the rest.

BT and Sky investors are already questioning how much higher the pair’s fierce rivalry can drive football rights without saddling broadcasters with unaffordable costs. Uefa, meanwhile, faces pressure from Europe’s top clubs to squeeze ever more cash out of broadcasters to meet soaring player wage demands.

Not that the running many of  the big clubs now were ever shy about dropping a few bob on box-office players, and their wages, but this time the figures being thrown around were, yes, obscene. 

Most soccer fans will know about the bigger deals — Pogba from Juve for £89 million; David Luiz, back to Chelsea from PSG, for £34 million; Sadio Mane, Southampton to Liverpool, another £34 million, and a few others. 

But what about the number of €20 million-plus deals for guys few of us ever even heard of? Even some of the anoraks out there will have been scratching their dandruffed heads trying to place them. 

Little Leicester have just spent £29 million on  Algerian striker Islam Slimani. Wikipedia tells us that before leaving Sporting Lisbon (48 goals in 82 appearances) for the King Power, he notched up  32 goals in 96 games for mighty CR Belouizdad, after impressing them with 21 in 22 appearances for  those perennial pot-hunters JSM Cheraga. 

Anyone for Marcos Alonso,  £23 million from Fiorentina to Chelsea, where he joins the 29-year old Luiz? 

That’s the same Luiz, by the way,  then pundit Gary Neville memorably described as playing like “he was controlled by a 10-year-old on a PlayStation” — and the same Luiz  whose £50 million exit to PSG was actually celebrated by Chelsea fans.

Gunners new boy Mustafi did score for Germany in their Euro 2016 finals  game against group fall guys Ukraine, but he is also the man who made one substitute appearance for Everton in the nearly three years he spent with them before leaving for Sampdoria in 2012 on a free transfer.

We could go on: just call up the Beeb’s sports website and go down the list of transfers. Millions and millions on household names like Didier Ndong, Lorient to Sunderland, £13.6 million; Roberto Pereyra, Juventus to Watford, £13 million; Sofiane Boufa,  Lille to Southampton, £16 million; and Swansea’s record signing, the perennial Atletico Madrid loanee Borja Baston, who cost £15.5 million.

The Beeb  listed 150 players either sold or loaned out on Wednesday’s deadline day, the transfers alone costing, as we said, £155 million.

The latest Grand Transfer Deadline Day Extravaganza hosted by Sky Sports News the other day put one in mind of those January sales at Clery’s items on the news back in the day —  the doors open and the mob barges in, all swinging shopping bags and jagged corner-back elbows. Now imagine they were player agents, managers, chief executives and the rest …

Better still, remember those obnoxious beefy rich kids in the Beano or Dandy long ago, bursting into the tuck shop and buying up all the best sweets and treats in a frenzy of flashing cash and slavering greed? 

Billy Rich stuffs his face, throws a few Bounty Bars to the hangers on, and waddles off, the chocolate dripping down his gluttonous chins. Now there’s a whole gang of Billy Rich’s out there and one just wonders how long more can we keep filling up the tuck shop shelves before the whole thing collapses.  Ponzi-style.

— Enda Sheppard

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