The Sweeper: Where’s Your Wad Gone, Premier League?


Big Story
Spending in the Premier League this transfer window isn’t just down: it has shrunk to levels that one might even consider sane. The BBC’s Simon Austin recounts the numbers as we approach the transfer deadline:

“I’ve just been to interview a sports consultant at Deloitte. They estimate only £21m has been spent in the January transfer window so far, compared to £170m last year and £150m in January 2008. There haven’t been any £10m signings this year and only one for £5m, which Spurs paid Portsmouth for Younes Kaboul. There were seven £10m signings last January – three were made by Manchester City (Nigel de Jong, Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bridge), three by Spurs (Wilson Palacios, Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane) and one by Arsenal (Andrey Arshavin).

I suppose this ought to come as no surprise, given we’ve spent the past few months here writing non-stop about the financial crises at various Premier League clubs. Yet the sheer scale of that decline is rather remarkable: it would be very interesting to see how this compares across the continent, and to consider if this marks a turning point in the balance of power in spending across Europe.

Worldwide News

  • We asked on Saturday if anyone could offer us any reasonable defense for the decision of CAF to ban Togo from the next two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. Nobody did, but in a bizarrely short and weakly argued piece in the Times, the usually thoughtful Gabriele Marcotti spits out the following: “CAF’s announcement that Togo would not be allowed to enter the next two continental tournaments met howls of outrage. And, indeed, it is shocking, until you read CAF’s justification. Togo were banned not for withdrawing from the competition — given the circumstances, it would have been more than understandable — but because the decision to pull out was taken by the Togolese Government, which apparently overruled the players, who reportedly wanted to play. And CAF, like Fifa and Uefa, has strict rules about government interference in sporting matters: the decision should have been made by Togo’s football association and it should have been final.”  Not a word about the unusual circumstances to the “interference” in this case, nor the bizarre timing of CAF’s announcement.
  • The Philadelphia Union has pulled off an impressive sponsorship deal for their new stadium in this economy, with a $20m, ten-year deal with Pennsylvania Power & Light. The deal is in line with Rio Tinto’s deal with Salt Lake and Dick’s Sporting Goods in Colorado, though considerably more than the ten-year, $7.5m sponsorship for Toyota Park in Chicago.
  • Two Hundred Percent says pretty much all that needs to be said about the “John Terry moral conundrum.”

The Sweeper appears every weekday, and once at the weekend. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.

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