EPL big guns keep powder dry in January window

Updated 01 February 2013
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EPL big guns keep powder dry in January window

LONDON: Premier League spending in the January transfer window rose this year but the biggest market agitators were once again the English top-flight’s struggling clubs.
The 20 teams in England’s highest division spent around £120 million ($190 million, 139 million euros) in transfer fees over the last month, according to business advisory firm Deloitte.
The figure was double the amount spent in January 2012 but well short of the record of £225 million established in 2011, when Fernando Torres joined Chelsea for £50 million and Andy Carroll went to Liverpool for £35 million.
Transfer activity in the mid-season window is often likened to panic buying and this season once again saw teams toward the bottom of the table scrabbling around for players to boost their bids to avoid relegation.
Newcastle United signed six new players, including five Frenchmen, while bottom club Queens Park Rangers broke their transfer record twice to sign French striker Loic Remy from Marseille for £8 million and former Blackburn Rovers center-back Christopher Samba from Anzhi Makhachkala for £12.5 million.
Along with Liverpool, who spent a reported £12 million on Daniel Sturridge and £8.5 million on Philippe Coutinho, the three clubs’ spending amounted for over half of the Premier League total.
The top clubs, in contrast, were relatively prudent.
Manchester United agreed a deal for 20-year-old winger Wilfried Zaha that could ultimately cost £15 million but immediately loaned him back to Crystal Palace until the end of the season.
Notoriously cautious Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger waited until the final hours of the transfer window before splurging £8.3 million on Spanish left-back Nacho Monreal, while champions Manchester City did not sign anyone.
“Premier League clubs have been relatively restrained in their player transfer fee spending, in spite of the upcoming uplift in their broadcasting revenues of between £20m and £30m each from next season,” said Dan Jones from Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.
The caution shown by Premier League clubs can be partially explained by wariness of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, which will oblige the leading clubs to break even or risk exclusion from European competition.
“Clubs are now in a reporting period that will count toward the first assessment of UEFA’s financial fair play break-even requirement for international competition and Premier League clubs are also considering the implementation of additional cost control regulation at a domestic level,” Jones added.
“Their apparent relative restraint in this transfer window may reflect an increasing focus on clubs achieving more sustainable levels of expenditure relative to revenues.”
Despite an absence of mega-money transfers this year, English clubs have now spent over £1 billion on new players since the January transfer window was introduced in 2003 and continue to lead the way for spending in Europe.
Total spending in Italy’s Serie A accounted for roughly 70 percent of the Premier League total, with that figure falling to around 45 percent for Germany and 30 percent for France.
The money spent on transfer fees by Spanish clubs was “minimal,” according to Deloitte, despite the vast resources available to Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The challenge facing Samba, Sturridge, Zaha and company is to avoid joining the ranks of previous January transfer window movers who spectacularly failed to make an impact at their new clubs.
The careers of Torres and Carroll have both flat-lined since their January moves, while Andrey Arshavin disappeared into anonymity at Arsenal despite a superb start to life at the Emirates Stadium after he arrived in January 2009.
“You are always under pressure to buy in England and every problem has to be sorted out by buying people,” said Wenger.
“It is not only in buying players that you sort out problems, especially from people who live in a different country. They come at the end of January and by the time they adapt, the season is over.”


Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

Updated 11 December 2018
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Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

  • Tournament gets under way on Wednesday when Al-Ain take on Team Wellington at home.
  • UAE midfielder sure his side can cause a few shocks.

LONDON: While he is only too aware of the quality opposition they have to face, Al-Ain midfielder Ahmed Barman is backing “The Boss” to scare a few teams in the FIFA Club World Cup.
The tournament gets under way when the UAE outfit face Team Wellington on their home ground in the opener today. Last year saw fellow Arabian Gulf League side Al-Jazira reach the semifinal where they gave Real Madrid a huge fright before narrowly losing 2-1. And inspired by that march to the last four, Barman is looking for Al-Ain to go one better and become the first Emirati side to make the final.
“The FIFA Club World Cup is a global competition coveted by every club,” Barman said. “Al-Ahli, Al-Jazira and Al-Wahda participated in this tournament before and did their part, putting the UAE on the world map. We at Al-Ain hope to reach the semi-final, as Al-Jazira did, or do even better.”
Before any tournament it is only natural to dream of glory and lifting the trophy in front of adoring fans. But the midfielder is not getting too cocky, revealing that despite having home advantage Al-Ain are taking absolutely nothing for granted, starting with Wednesday’s clash against the Kiwis.
“There’s no doubt that we’re aiming to reach the final and face a giant like Real Madrid, but first we have to focus on our opening match against Team Wellington,” the 24-year-old said.
“We need to win to progress from this round and play the subsequent games until we reach the final against Real Madrid and show a standard of play the UAE can be proud of.”
Barman is not anticipating an easy opener.
“Team Wellington are a very good team with considerable ability. They won their local league and the OFC Champions League, which proves they’re powerful.
“So, all our focus is on this opening match. We’re annualizing our opponents to understand their capabilities as we prepare to perform well on the pitch and get positive result.”
The UAE champions did not have the best preparation for their stab at Club World Cup glory, losing 5-2 to Al-Wasl in the UAE President’s Cup at the weekend.
That result, while clearly not ideal, has not bothered the side’s coach.
“We cannot win every game, what is gone is gone, it’s full concentration on the match ahead,” Zoran Mamic said.
“There are no rules that Al-Ain cannot lose games, that’s why I don’t make any drama.”
But while Barman was keen to invoke the memory of Al-Jazira’s march to the last four, his boss was less so, telling his team to focus on the match at hand before getting ahead of themselves.
“We are not here to talk about last year, just as we are not here to talk about the future,” the Croatian said. “We are here to represent the club in the best possible way. We focus on the match at hand and everything will take care of itself.”
Of today’s opponents he added: “We have watched all their games, we know their strengths and where they are not so strong. They are particularly good offensively, they play with fast wingers and a striker who is a good scorer, they play a system that is unusual to us because no teams in the Emirates play with three in the last line. If we do our job we will (have) a good match.”