As the new season approaches and the transfer market really begins to hot up, I am going to look into whether or not the BPL has started to resemble its Italian counterpart Serie A in the transfer market. In the not too distant past it would have been inconceivable to believe Robin van Persie, the darling of the Emirates, would make the transfer to Manchester United. But as Chelsea bid for Rooney and Arsenal for Suarez is this a trend we are likely to see more of.
An argument has been put forward in recent times that the premier league has weakened and it may be the case that the “big 4” clubs are looking for better value for money on their big money signings. No better way to achieve this is to take the low risk, but high cost approach to transfers and try to sign proven Premier League talent. It would remove the “time to adjust to English football” argument or excuse often given to players coming in from abroad and therefore be a huge benefit to the team.
Over the years the league has seen immense rivalry between several clubs vying for Champions League places and league winners medals. The animosity between the clubs fans and hierarchy may be a factor in why we have seen so few big sales between these clubs. It seems however to be much less of an issue with Italian clubs, whose willingness to give up their prized assets to other big clubs or neighbours, seems to be part of the culture.
Here are a few examples of players in Italy moving from club to club:
Seedorf from Inter to AC Milan, Ibrahimovic from Juventus to Inter, Salas from Lazio to Juventus, Gilardino from Parma to AC Milan, Nedved, Crespo, Batistuta the list goes on and on with some players playing for multiple clubs in the League.
When you compare it to the Premier League there are some notable big names trading one club for another but the list took far less time to research than the one above.
Campbell Spurs to Arsenal, Ferdinand Leeds to United, Torres from Liverpool to Chelsea, Ashley Cole from Arsenal to Chelsea and Tevez from United to City are proof that these transfers do occur, but when you look at the time scale these transfers happen over there is no comparison in frequency with Serie A.
There has always been an argument to say that clubs get better value for money when dipping into foreign markets and there is plenty of evidence to support that claim. So are transfers like Van Persie to United likely to become more common place and a sign of things to come from the big clubs in England? Or are we likely to remain shocked when players trade one Premier League amphitheatre for another? Only time will tell but if Arsenal’s bid for Suarez and Chelsea’s for Rooney is anything to go by, it would appear clubs are getting braver and players too.