Friday, February 1, 2008

Premiership Clubs Outspend Other Major European Leagues Combined

Take a look at this article I found on Fox Soccer's website:

"Clubs in the English Premier League showed again during soccer's January transfer window the benefit of playing in Europe's richest national competition.

The 20 teams spent a record total of about 150 million pounds (US$298 million; €200 million) on players to boost their chances of success or aid their attempt to avoid relegation.

That is more than the top leagues in Italy, Spain, Germany and France put together.

Buoyed by a 300 million-pound increase in television revenue this season and expected total income of 1.8 billion pounds, the Premier League clubs spent about three times as much as they did in the last January trading window.

But the biggest spending club owed little of its outlay to the changing revenue streams.

Backed by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Chelsea paid more than 27 million pounds (US$53.8 million; €36.1 million) for France striker Nicolas Anelka, Serbia defender Branislav Ivanovic and Argentina under-20 forward Franco di Santo.

In third place and seeking to regain the title they last won in 2006, the Blues were the only team of the so-called "Big Four" rounded out by Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool to go into the red in January.

Much of that went on Anelka, whose 15 million-pound (US$29.9 million; €20.1 million) transfer from Bolton made him the Premier League's most expensive January signing ever.

That pushed Chelsea into spending almost as much as the total 30 million pounds (US$59.7 million; €40.2 million) by the 24 teams in the second-tier League Championship.

With such riches on offer to those in the elite, it is little surprise that Fulham, Wigan, Birmingham, Bolton and Sunderland all spent a lot to bolster their squads as they fight relegation.

Fulham spent almost 10 million pounds (US$19.9 million; €13.4 million), although its most important arrival could prove to be free signing Jari Litmanen, the veteran Finland forward who won the Champions League with Ajax and also played for FC Barcelona and Liverpool.

"I have no doubt that he will have a big part to play over the coming months and that we shall benefit as a team from his skill and experience," Fulham manager Roy Hodgson said.

Fulham has struggled to protect a lead this season and is in 19th place, but Litmanen's ability to hold the ball up and score crucial goals should relieve some of the pressure on a defense strengthened by Denmark's Leon Andreasen and another Finland international, Toni Kallio.

Last-place Derby was one of the busiest clubs, bringing in eight players despite looking certain to be relegated. But the Rams only spent 3.5 million pounds (US$6.9 million; €4.7 million) and brought in the experienced Laurent Robert, Alan Stubbs, Roy Carroll and Danny Mills for free or on loan.

That reluctance to spend suggests the club is thinking about preparing for next season and an attempt at promotion back to the Premier League.

But at the other end of the table, United and Arsenal, which are tied atop the standings with four points more than Chelsea, made no major acquisitions. They only jettisoned fringe players and sent youngsters out on loan.

And while a record amount was spent, more than 73 million pounds (US$145 million; €97.6 million), or about half, was recouped in sales.

And Tottenham was the perfect example.

Spurs were the second biggest spenders with 21.5 million pounds (US$42.8 million; €28.7 million) on Jonathan Woodgate, Alan Hutton, Gilberto and Chris Gunter signed to shore up a defense that has conceded more goals from free kicks and corners than any other.

But it clawed back more than 11 million pounds (US$21.9 million; €14.7 million) offloading eight players, including England striker Jermain Defoe to Portsmouth."

All I can say is "wow". A net total of $153 million US was spent by Premiership clubs to acquire players this January. That's an average of $4.9 million per day, which is just $200,000 less than what Chelsea striker Claudio Pizarro signed for last summer. In one month, Premiership clubs spent more than half of what Alex Rodriguez would make in his new 10-year, $275 million contract with the New York Yankees, which is the richest contract in sports history.

The Premiership is the most entertaining soccer league in the world, and I've said that on numerous occasions. The quality of play might not be the best, but obviously people like watching it as evidenced by the Premiership's gigantic TV contracts.

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