This week Samuel Eto’o signed for Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala (exactly...who?) on a contract worth over € 200,000 per week after tax. Juan Mata signed for Chelsea after this club gazumped Arsenal by offering the player a shitload more money. Samir Nasri joined Manchester City after having his head turned by another £75,000 per week on top of the £100,000 plus he had a pen in his hand to sign a few months ago from Arsenal. Last week a top club in Spain signed the best young midfielder in the world using an offshore investment fund as they could not afford him.
UEFA really need to get a grip, as the ogliarchs and sheikhs are about to ruin our once loved game. How can well run clubs who keep within their means compete with this? How can the Premier league remain a competitive competition when City are buying players, not to play for them, but so they don’t play for a rival? Every time a club wants to sign a player they almost have to go through an approval process from the mega-losses clubs, as they see fit they will just offer more money to stop the player going to another club (see Mata and Lukula signings for Chelsea).
Why are the rest of the continent willing to stand by and let Barcelona and Madrid use offshore third party funds to maintain their position? How long will they put up with their leagues sharing TV funds fairly while Barcelona and Madrid unilaterally take the lions share in Spain?
Financial doping is becoming a really big problem. Money has become the be all and end all, even creating a new type of player, highly paid to play little or not at all, so long as it takes resources away from rivals.
There have always been bigger and smaller clubs, of course, but it was based on fans and ability to draw in gates and sponsors, not by how much your sugar daddy was willing to throw at it or how many favours you got from your local FA. The extra money coming in does no good whatsoever to lower levels of the game – it goes straight into overpaid mercenary players pockets.
Photo : Sheikh Mansoor. Battling with Roman Abramovich to see who can buy the Premier League by stacking up the highest loss. Where's the merit in that?