Repeat it out loud, do it several times. Again and again.
This is the amount of money spent by Premier League clubs this summer, so far.
Considering that today it’s July, 20th and there’s still over a month to go before the transfer window shuts down, this amount could even double when deadline-day madness kicks-in.
I’m not here to slam the immoral spending of Premier League clubs but you have to admit it, this is just insane and – most importantly – it won’t last long.
One day this unsustainable bubble will burst and several Clubs will fall apart, including some very big ones; of course, the first to pay the price of living it large will be the small-to-medium ones but no club will be safe when TV will stop pouring money – and they will, at some point.
You know when something is wrong when Manchester City splashes up to £ 50m for a right-back and another £ 30m for his back-up; you sense the craziness when promising goalkeepers go for £ 34m or £ 25m and you feel the madness when an average 28-years old Austrian player moves for £ 24m.
In a market where Alexis Sánchez costed £ 30m, how can Marko Arnautovic command a similar fee?
This is what shocks me the most.
It’s not the £ 100m spent on Gareth Bale, it’s the £ 50m spent on Kyle Walker.
It’s not the £ 90m spent on Paul Pogba, it’s the £ 35m spent on Éderson.
It’s not the £ 80m spent on Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s the £75m spent on Romelu Lukaku.
When players like Nathan Aké, Nabil Bentaleb or Marko Arnautovic are purchased for a fee in the region of £ 20m, you see that the market is becoming a joke – a very dangerous one.
It is difficult for us not to have our heads turned by the latest world-record fee agreed for this or that player, especially when our club is involved in a bidding war – I know it’ a feeling we barely know, at the Arsenal – but the highest the fee goes, the more it puts our club’s future in jeopardy.
When talks about a potential arrival of Kylian M’Bappé for over £ 140m emerged, I was both excited and worried: excited by the idea that Arsène Wenger and the club could win the race to the most coveted player in the world and worried that it might prove to be a step too far for us, financially.
I know it’s not my money and definitely none of my business but I can’t stand the idea of seeing the Arsenal – its history, its tradition, its name – cancelled because of a crazy transfers strategy.
Now more than ever, we must evaluate our signings based on what the show on the pitch and not their price tag; I don’t want to rub salt in our wounds but we all know how close Arsène Wenger was to close a deal for both Thomas Lemar and N’Golo Kanté from Caen – two illustrious unknown players whose arrival would have been welcomed with indifference, at best.
Two years later, one is the reigning Player of the Year and the second is valued at over £ 60m, with Arsène Wenger still determined to land his signature.
The market is changing rapidly but we should avoid being sucked into this auto-destroying game, for once it will be more than justified not to follow the example of fellow top clubs; instead of buying big, we should buy smart like smaller clubs learned to do: they either mould their own star players through their academies or unearth hidden gems and sell them for big money – two things we were really good at, once.
Today, we’re a club unable to produce top players, who spends big and sells their assets for peanuts.
Look at how cheap Wojciech Szczesny has been sold to Juventus, it’s the same price we paid for 33-years old Petr Čech two years ago; look at Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs, who could go for a similar fee, or even Olivier Giroud – who could be on his way out for as little as £ 25m.
As it is set-up, the Arsenal are in a very weak position and in danger of being blown away when the bubble will burst.
Thirty-something Italian, currently in Switzerland. Gooner since mid-ninties, when the Gunners defeated my hometown team, in Copenhagen. Twelve years ago I started my own blog (www.clockenditalia.com) after after some experiences with Italian websites and football magazines. Debate, don’t insult or you’re out.