2 Feb 2011

The gap grows between have's and have not's in English football

6:23 am on 2 February 2011

English football's polarisation into a competition between a few clubs with massive transfer funds and the willingness to spend them whatever the wider economic picture was underlined again by Tuesday's transfer mayhem.

As Winston Churchill might have said if stepping in for a stint of analysis on deadline day, "Never before have so many been bought for so much by so few."

Liverpool and Chelsea paid out over 130 million pounds ($NZ 269 million) for the services of Fernando Torres, Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez and David Luiz to end a record-breaking transfer window.

When Roman Abramovich took over Chelsea, the Russian's millions led to hyper-inflation of fees and Manchester City took the baton and ran with it following their takeover by owners from Abu Dhabi.

City further distorted the market so players like Joleon Lescott, Gareth Barry and Wayne Bridge were elevated from solid Premier League performers into world-class talent on the basis of their cost.

City then paid a massive 32.5 million pounds ($NZ 67 million) for Brazilian forward Robinho and this month laid out 27 million ($NZ 56 million) on Edin Dzeko, a good but hardly extraordinary Bundesliga striker.

Their squad is so bloated that they currently have 15 players out on loan with a collective price tag of nearly 100 million pounds ($NZ 207 million).

There is no hint of a need to balance the books, despite the demands of UEFA's forthcoming "financial fair-play" rules and the government's austerity measures, as the owners have funds beyond the comprehension of most clubs.