Barcelona winning everything last season could have deeper repercussions for the Premier League beyond felling Manchester United in the Champions League. They’ve awoken the sleeping spending giant that is Real Madrid. Desperate to overtake the unstoppable Barça, Real Madrid have obliterated all transfer records and don’t look anywhere near stopping. The super nova has exploded and now every big English transfer prospect looks at risk of sliding into an Iberian black hole before United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, City can grab their targets by the shoestrings and heave them across the channel.
As EPL Talk’s Rory Tevlin reported here, Real have just scooped up Lyon’s Karim Benzema who had been a big transfer target for Manchester United. Real have also been linked with Maicon (wanted by City and Chelsea), Ribery (sought by Arsenal), and David Silva (believed a Liverpool target). Just about all the top talents who have been linked to Premier League clubs seem to be on Real’s radar. Except David Villa. He will supposedly only leave Valencia for Barcelona.
I know, I know… it’s Real Madrid (cue Death Star dirge). They are supposed to buy up all the best world talent. It’s not exactly a brand new modus operandi. Real are going to snatch up your Zizou, your Ruud, your Arjen. It’s what they do. But prior to the Benzema coup, they’ve already outdone themselves beyond belief this summer alone. They spent a reported £56m on Kaká and £80m on Ronaldo. Weeks later, I am still getting over the shock of such numbers.
And this is a club in debt. A reported €500m (£429m) in the red. But the banks won’t say no to the Spanish sporting institution who only had €91m (£78m) to spend on players when Caldéron left. They still bought Kaká and Ronaldo. And, prior to buying Benzema, they said their aim was to pick up about five more players. This mad hatter’s financial tea party sounds familiar doesn’t it? Maybe AIG should get itself on the front of Los Galacticos‘ kits now that it’s been stripped off United’s.
So Benzema’s in. Ribery’s thinking about it. And Real president Florentio Pérez seems unwavering in his determination to lure Xabi Alonso from Liverpool. Liverpool have slapped a £35m price tag on the indispensable midfielder. My concern in Real may offer enough for Liverpool to dispense with him.
The ability to lure a pivotal player away from Merseyside shouldn’t come as a surprise. As we’ve learned from the Kaká and Ronaldo moves, there is a price for everything. But this is part of a deeper, more alarming trend than big Real spending in the past.
The real[sic] problem is Real are willing to spend so much and go after near everybody in their mad scramble to re-establish themselves as Spanish top dog, one fears what big names will be left after Madrid have made their moves. With their complicit lenders behind them, there’s no ceiling in sight for Real Madrid. Even if Madrid don’t win all their targets, they can sparked outrageous bidding wars and see the prices of the best players skyrocket beyond belief. For now £56m and £80m are brief spikes. But if these trends continue, Real may push the market into a new realm of ridiculous heights. The English clubs may wrest some of these targets from Real’s grasp, but at what cost?
This is a scary development in these tough economic times.