It seems inconceivable to think that the new Premier League season will start in just over a week from now…I don’t know about you, but it crept up on me like a SkySports News reporter creeps up on a car window.
Perhaps it is because we’ve been too busy cheering on Team GB’s athletes at the Olympics, perhaps it is because it seems that it was only yesterday that Spain lifted their third consecutive trophy or perhaps it is because we’ve been treated to weather more apt to a FA Cup third round than a pre-season sun drenched pitch.
Whatever the reason, this summer has been peculiar, unique even, in football terms and for me this is because this summer has lacked one vital ingredient..the blockbuster transfer. The blockbuster is the kind of deal that grabs all the country’s backpages, gets tongues wagging and makes you secretly envious that your team didn’t make such a ‘Hollywood’ signing.
While across the Channel PSG have been shopping like a teenage girl who’s let off the leash with her Dad’s credit card, here in England the deals have been a lot more subdued than in recent summers.
Chelsea have been one of the busiest Premier League clubs after they signed Eden Hazard in the first big transfer saga of the summer, in addition to Marko Marin and recent the recent addition of wonder kid Oscar (we won’t count Thorgan Hazard), but even so their total spending for this year is £36m lower than in the 2010-11 season when Fernando Torres and David Luiz arrived at Stamford Bridge. Maybe a striker, like German International Schurrle, can bump it up?
United have flirted with a marquee signing all summer, but with Moura joining the ever-growing collection of players at Eiffel Tower United and Arsenal holding Robin van Persie to ransom, the “one or two players” that Fergie sought to add to the signings of Kagawa and Powell seem unlikely to materialise between now and August the 31st.
The £18.1m United have spent so far is the lowest total spending since the 1999-00 season, when they spent £17.8m on Fabien Barthez, Mikael Silvestre and Massimo Taibi.
Across town, even free spending Manchester City have tasted austerity this summer since, at the time of writing, the Premier League champions are yet to welcome a new face into the club, after spending around £485m in the previous four summers.
Even Liverpool, a club that no longer than 12 months ago splashed some £43m on Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson have kept a low profile, forking out only £10m to secure the signing of Fabio Borini from Roma. Joe Allen looks likely to be the only one who could raise their spending total after Liverpool triggered his £15m release clause.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have grown a reputation for being a “selling club” in recent years, but have spent around £40m (depending on the sources, the fee for Santi Cazorla fluctuates between £16m and £20m) to bring in Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla.
Spurs have completed deals for Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurdsson, cheap, excellent and competent players, but one can’t help but feel that Andre Villas Boas’ plans will be subject to radical changes, should Luka Modric finally be allowed to join Real Madrid.
The longer this transfer window goes on, the more the Modric and Van Persie sagas seem crucial to the balance of the market, so evenly poised that clubs – with a few exceptions – seem to wait for their opponents to make their first move. Maybe the North London pair holding out for big prices on their star players show that the market is a sellers market rather than a buyers.
Even for the rest of the Premier League transfer activity has been low, with clubs restricted to only one or two signings and not much is being splashed by way of transfer fees.
Maybe its the Financial Fair Play regs kicking in with clubs wary of spending or maybe we forget that the economy is still fragile and unless you have a sugar daddy or big sponsorship deal come in, there isn’t much money around.
Deadline day and the Sky extravaganza are still 23 days – and, more crucially, two league games – away and history shows that the last day of the transfer window is never short of drama (Robinho and Berbatov in 2008, Carroll and Torres in January 2011), but this summer really feels like it’s about to fizzle out, rather than exploding into life as we’ve expected for the past few months, leaving fans wanting more.
Olympic organisers were right, 2012 was always going to be a “summer like no other”
Have you been pleased with your clubs transfer activity? Which signings have excited you and will be going straight in your Fantasy Team? Let us know below. Make sure you follow us on Twitter and Facebook for a daily dose of football goodness…the Rascal wants you!