Imagine an all-star team of footballers featuring the top names in the sport. Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Cesc Fabregas, Fernando Torres, Thierry Henry, Robinho and David Villa. Now imagine all of these players on the same team, Manchester City.
Before yesterday, that notion sounded ridiculous, but now that the Abu Dhabi United Group is in charge of Manchester City, it seems very plausible.
“We are going to be the biggest club in the world, bigger than both Real Madrid and Manchester United,” said Al Fahim. “We’re not just going to spend money on anyone, but if we can get the biggest players in the world, and of course if the manager wants them, then we will get them.”
The ramifications from such an ambitious move by Manchester City will change the entire sport. When you have an investor with seemingly unlimited funds that makes Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United look like poor cousins, you know that the rules have changed.
With all of the money flooding in and out of England yesterday, expect FIFA and UEFA to sound the alarm bells within the coming days warning that money is ruining the game and is shifting the balance of power to Premier League clubs.
Both FIFA and UEFA should be worried. If the Premier League continues at this pace and more Middle East investors purchase English clubs, the Premier League will become the defacto world leader. The Champions League, while a massive revenue generator, will be less appealing when clubs such as Manchester City buy the trophy. And when you compare what the Premier League could be versus the World Cup, the Copa Mundial will seem far less appealing especially when club football is bigger and more powerful than playing for your country.
The danger of what’s happening within the Premier League is that the league could explode just as quickly as it’s growing right now. If in 2-3 years from now, the Middle East owners decide to sell the clubs, there are very few — if any — investors in the world who would be able to pay the inflated player wages that an all-star team would demand. The only option would be to declare bankruptcy.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. The Premier League is now the world’s soccer league and has little, if anything, to do with England anymore. England has simply become the fields of grass where the matches are being played. The only thing missing from the Premier League becoming truly the world league of soccer is playing matches overseas, and the wheels are already in motion for this to happen. Just wait.
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