Real Madrid's Magic Money Could Top $400,000,000

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It’s pretty rare, but occasionally I agree with Michel Platini. Maybe it’s the hangover I’m nursing, but I think I heard him on the Beeb this morning say

These excessive transfers are happening almost every day. It is very puzzling at a time when football faces some of its worst ever financial challenges.


These transfers are a serious challenge to the idea of fairplay and the concept of financial balance in our competitions.

I don’t want to make a habit of it, but I agree with Platini on this. The more I dig into this deal the more frightening it looks. At a time when unemployment is nearly 18% in Spain, one man is set to make £29m a year, over £500,000 a week! Of course I’m not suggesting that the money Real is spending on the team should be used to hire some Spaniards to, erm, do something. Rather that football at its best is about connecting to average people. Anyone can play football anywhere in the world. Short folks, tall folks, men, women, rich, poor, grass, dirt, concrete or sand, all you need is some space, a ball, and some feet (hence the name foot-ball) and you can play. I don’t know what they are doing at Real Madrid but it doesn’t really look like football to me.

More frightening than the distorting effect that Ronaldo and Kaka’s unrealistic lifestyles and the bizarro “team” that Real will put together is the inflationary effect predicted in all aspects of the transfer market. Basically, the market is going to get really crazy, really quick and with pretty much every team in the EPL already burdened with huge debts the only folks who are going to be able to afford anything will be the billionaires.

And, of course, Sepp Blatter sees it exactly the opposite. He sees it as a sign of a healthy market, you know, “damn the financial consequences! People need stars” and all that.

Meanwhile, the sickening money that Real is projected to spend may come to our beloved Arsenal. No, I don’t mean Cesc, he’s Arsenal through and through and has rejected a move to Real, again. No, I mean Clichy. It would depend on the size of the offer but with Vermaelen reportedly able to play the left fullback position I’m not sure how I feel quite yet. Despite scoring a goal, Clichy didn’t have the best of years, and with reports of Toure outgoing, Gallas outgoing, and Hangeland and Vermaelen incoming (not to mention the return of the Senderos) the boss could be looking at a complete remake of the back line. It would be a risky move, to overhaul 3/5 of your defensive unit, but given the deficiencies we saw back there last year it could just be the spark the team needs to push for honors. And if Clichy was part of a remake I guess it would be ok.

I don’t know.

I do know that Fabianski signed an extension, that Wilshere wants to follow in Walcott’s footsteps, and that the idea of a 17 year old looking up to a 20 year old is, well, unsettling.

It’s funny, when I first started watching football and Arsenal were the team that won me over, my friend here (an Everton supporter) said “no, not Arsenal, they’re like the Yankees, or the Red Socks, they just buy up all the talent in the world.” And now we have 17 year olds looking up to 20 year olds, how times have changed, eh?

Oh and hey, if you’re a red level member, now is the time to renew and make sure you’re eligible to get tickets next year. Get on it.


  1. Nothing wrong with having Theo as a role model. He is one of the smarter kids in football. He doesn’t dive, doesn’t whine and generally conducts himself as a professional. He is a regular fixture on the national team and has broken into the first team at the age of 19. Jack could do much worse.

  2. I had plans on traveling over for a game this fall, then I got laid off.

    What about Gibbs? I think he is ready for the starting role at left back, which would give us a back four of Sagna, Gallas (I think he is staying), Vermaelen, and Gibbs. I like it.

  3. Hey Tim,
    How do I become a red level member? I am hoping to catch a couple of games next season.

  4. It’s high time all of the football leagues impose a global transfer cap basically saying any club can only spend say 40M in any transfer window, Madrid have spend almost 140M in a week and it looks to be more with Villa being added for some other monstrous sum. This just destroys the market and is a prime example of why Arsenal can never buy the players they need/want. Sakho for 10M? W-T-F has he done to meirt that price tag? Play on a PSG team that choked for 4 months after being touted as possible champions? Even Vermaelen for 10M is alot considering that Ajax finished 3rd in a rather mediocre league. For all of Platini and Blatter’s moaning about English clubs and their money, they sure seem content when Real Madrid come to town to spend. They’re all talk and no action to stop these insane transfers that pollute the market value of players.

  5. Do you actually know Senderos isn’t staying at Milan?

    Disagree with the description of Cesc as ‘Arsenal through and through’. Yes, he’s loyal, he’s a fighter, he’d give 100 percent at any club he was at. But what he is loyal to is Wenger, in gratitude for the chance he’s been given, rather than to Arsenal as such. Why should he be committed to Arsenal for ever? He didn’t grow up in the neighbourhood; Cesc’s club is Barca, and that’s where, when Xabi retires, he’ll want to end his career. I’m not questioning Cesc’s commitment for next season and maybe a couple of seasons to come; just taking issue with a slightly lazy, clicheed description.

    Clichy? Would he want to go to Real? He too owes everything to Wenger, and I doubt if Real would hold much appeal for him. (For many poor French kids, especially those of African descent, English football, rather than Spanish, is the holy grail.) Whether we should sell is another matter, of course. At crazy money – say, 20 million – maybe we should, but only if Wenger has his eye on a versatile replacement. We already have Gibbs; we have Vemaelen, Sagna, Gallas and Traore – all of whom can play left back at a pinch. What we don’t have, if Eboue goes, is any cover for Sagna.

    Who else will leave? Toure, if Gallas is staying. Van Persie if he gets a flattering offer from a big enough club (but I don’t think he will); he seems to be stalling over his contract so I reckon he’s waiting to see who wants him and, more important, who else we buy. Ditto Ade, who must be chewing his nails and praying over his phone.

    On a brighter note, do we get money from whoever buys Aliadiere? How long to sell-on clauses continue? Hope for his sake it’s Wigan not Stoke. Poor, poor Ali-oh-dear.

  6. Also, it’s looking like every defender in the world is available this summer.

    Gooch is available, Andrea Dossena, some 15 year old Swiss dude…

    Lots of options…


  7. Mmm, so the Italian report I saw last week was right. I’d hoped it was still just a rumour as the 6 million would have been useful and I can’t see Senderos excelling as a Premiership defender. Also, as he prefers to be on the left – like Gallas, like Vermaelen, like Fish-head (assuming he’s staying) – he’s not going to get a chance to build up a partnership with Djourou – or even renew one with Toure. Worse, with the spoilt-brat booers at the Emirates getting nastier with each passing season, his confidence is not going to be high. Cesc will be happy, though – they’re good mates, and I suspect Cesc was a bit lonely last season with all his friends gone.

    Have just heard Philippe Auclair on the radio saying we may make a move for the Bordeaux striker. Very cheap, very good in the air, apparently.

  8. I doubt Clichy would leave, despite the crazy money. A lot of our young ‘uns owe Wenger too much to be pulled away by a bigger pay packet. Sure, it’s not universal across the entire roster, but Clichy was a young unknown, picked up from the French 3rd division wastelands. Wenger is the one that gave him and others like him their chances. They effectively owe him everything.

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