Football: the coronavirus does not extinguish all the follies of the transfer window



Until the end, everything is still possible. It is the tradition of “money time”, these few hours before the close of the transfer market, set this year for Monday, October 5 at midnight. Last minute bargains, a high-flying deal that strikes the spirits: football loves that late-game adrenaline rush. Except that this year, the coronavirus pandemic turns things upside down.

→ THE FACTS. Covid-19: rooms and gymnasiums closed, a severe impact on the sports world

In France in particular, with a championship stopped before the end of last season, and which, since its restart, has seen its stands empty more and more, perhaps until the general closed session in the coming weeks. In fact, the French market has been quite sluggish all summer long.

The increase in television rights under the new broadcasting contract for the period 2020-2024 (from 748 million euros to 1.21 billion euros per year) is certainly noticeable this year. At best, however, it only compensates for the losses linked to low-mast ticket offices and very reduced services for partners and sponsors. The shortfall is estimated by the Professional Football League at more than 190 million euros for the French clubs in Ligue 1 and 2. Suddenly, even the big teams have only very moderately taken out the checkbook.

French clubs cautious

PSG at the dawn of the last day has paid for one of the ten biggest transfers of the summer, but by only settling the contract of 50 million euros already signed for the arrival of the Argentine, Mauro Icardi. Otherwise, the recruitment of left side Alessandro Florenzi is only a loan with option to buy AS Rome. Ready still, that the coming announced Sunday, October 4 of the young striker (20 years) Italian of Everton, Moise Kean. On the side of the Canebière, we tried to recruit smart, with five arrivals for 16 million euros, including especially the 18-year-old Brazilian Luis Henrique, won for 12 million euros. “We had a very good transfer window, welcomed the coach André Villas Boas. We spent almost nothing and we found a player for the future. “

For the other Olympic, in Lyon, the big blow this year fell on September 30 with the officialization of the purchase from Inter Milan of the Brazilian midfielder, Lucas Paqueta (23 years), for 20 million euros and five years. OL then still imagined separating from two of their pearls, the Dutch striker, Memphis Depay, or the middle, Houssem Aouar. But its president Jean-Michel Aulas slammed the door on October 3, noting the lack of material in financial offers from foreign clubs interested in the two players.

England still above the rest

This is the other side of the story: the French clubs, often modest buyers, have they at least sold well? If Lyon can be disappointed, Brest is pleased to have signed a record sale for Ibrahima Diallo, the international Under-21s who has just joined Southampton for 15 million euros. And what about the debutant Wesley Fofana (19 years old), a real jackpot for Saint-Étienne who released his young central defender at the English club Leicester for 35 million euros (plus 5 million possible bonuses), the player being unable to prevail than twenty matches in Ligue 1!

This is a bit of the current paradox. The English Premier League anticipates more than € 600million in losses this season. The Italian League announced at the end of September a shortfall of more than 500 million euros. “The whole system is on the verge of collapse”, even warned its managing director, Luigi De Siervo. It prevents. Clubs from both countries did not hesitate to do their shopping consistently.

England stands out with nearly 1.2 billion euros in spending this summer. Chelsea hover above the lot with 248 million euros in purchase, including 80 million (and 20 million potential bonus) for the only Kai Havertz, 21, German attacking midfielder from Bayer Leverkusen. On the Italian side, Juventus Turin and Naples have released more than 70 million euros each to secure the services of Brazilian Arthur and Nigerian Victor Osimhen.

We could point 16 transfers to more than 50 million euros last summer. There are still 9 this summer. The decline is significant. But sticks badly to the grim picture portrayed by some actors. Football is in crisis. But it is not yet devastating. One last dance on the edge of the abyss?

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England also panics transfers of women’s football

Voted best player of the year 2020 by UEFA on 1er October, the first to win this award for the second time after his coronation of 2018, Danish striker Pernille Harder joined Chelsea this summer, after three seasons at Wolfsburg. A transfer of more than € 300,000, according to the British press. The sum may seem ridiculous compared to the amounts that ignite the male transfer window, but it is nevertheless a record for women, which confirms the ambition of the British league.

This season, five American world champions, including superstar Alex Morgan (in Tottenham) or the revelation Rose Lavelle (in Manchester City), have also crossed the Atlantic. Jean-Michel Aulas, the president of the Women’s Olympique Lyonnais can rage, he who has not managed to attract such talents to his European champion team. He also lost the English Lucy Bronze, returned to his former club in Manchester City. On the Blue side, Montpellier striker Valérie Gauvin did not resist the English sirens either, joining Everton for an estimated amount of € 100,000.

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