For a league that attracts some of the best talent from across Europe because of its financial superiority, English teams have not managed to provide convincing performances against their European counterparts. Spending money doesn’t guarantee success.
The fact that Stoke City have got Champions League winners in their squad, in close to the prime of their careers, shows the league is awash with money. The top teams in the league will continue to spend huge sums, with the transfer window closing in a week, as the two Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham all huge draws to most top players around the continent.
Record sponsorships, record TV deals, record transfer deals and a plethora of world-class players are the norm these days. The Premier League’s spending and income eclipse almost anyone in Europe with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich probably the only ones close to competing.
The marketing side is huge. Pre-season tours don’t seem to be a warm up to the upcoming season anymore; it is more of a ploy to saturate the markets that are yet to be run by this domestic competition.
When you have United sell out 60,000-seater stadiums in the United States in pre-season, it smacks you in the face that the Premier League really is a behemoth close to eclipsing the competition of its European relations.
The majority of clubs in England’s top flight now make more money than some of Europe’s elite. Ajax, AC Milan, Internazionale to name but a few all struggle financially in comparison to Sunderland, Swansea and Stoke for example.
It is not unheard of that last season’s 14th best side Leicester City will pay over £10million for a player, whilst the team that finished in the same position in La Liga have spent a little over £2m during this entire off season.
The Foxes have signed players such as Shinji Okazaki from Bundesliga side Mainz, N’Golo Kante from French side SM Caen and Yohan Benalouane from Italian side Atalanta as part of a £25m+ raid across Europe. In the transfer market, the Premier League seems to rule the roost.
Levante have freshened up their squad with a number of new editions but only two of their transfers involved a fee, with only one of them costing over £1m. The Premier League pounds are proving to outweigh anyone in Europe.
But despite this influx of cash English clubs are failing in European competition. Something doesn’t add up.
Spain, deemed to only be a two-team league by some, hold both European trophies at present. Barcelona beat Italy’s Juventus in the Champions League final and Sevilla defeated Ukrainian side Dnipro in the Europa League final last season.
English teams fail in the Europa League and, quite frankly, seem to not care less about the tournament. Premier League sides have also struggled to make an impact in the Champions League recently, with the domestic competition seemingly being the be-all and end-all for some.
Despite these worrying failings, most of the world’s best players come to England to ply their trade in the self-proclaimed ‘best league in the world’, but it seems that the Premier clubs only want competition from their own kind – the complete opposite to a Paris Saint-Germain or Juventus.
The league will still draw money despite having no continental reward in recent years and although it is fantastic to watch every week, the Premier League could become its own worst enemy.
Read more by Mark Young here!