All eyes on the money as spend­ing in­creases

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL stars Mario Balotelli, Moussa Sissoko and Jack Wil­shere were all re­port­edly poised for moves yes­ter­day as the clock ticked down to­wards the Euro­pean trans­fer dead­line. Spend­ing by English Pre­mier League clubs has bro­ken through the 1 bil­lion pound (US$1.3 bil­lion) bar­rier in one win­dow for the first time, fuelling trans­fer ac­tiv­ity across the con­ti­nent.

Balotelli, Liver­pool’s way­ward Ital­ian striker, was on the verge of join­ing French club Nice on a sea­son-long loan, hav­ing spent last sea­son on loan at for­mer club AC Mi­lan.

“If the sit­u­a­tion works out, maybe late in the day it will be done,” an of­fi­cial from Nice told French sports daily L’Equipe.

“If we don’t agree with Liver­pool, he will leave again.”

New­cas­tle United mid­fielder Sissoko was given per­mis­sion to leave France’s Claire­fontaine train­ing base in or­der to com­plete a trans­fer.

New­cas­tle, rel­e­gated from the Pre­mier League last sea­son, were re­ported to have re­buffed an ini­tial 16 mil­lion pounds bid for Sissoko from Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur.

Sissoko, 27, was France’s stand-out player in the hosts’ loss to Por­tu­gal in the Euro 2016 fi­nal and had ex­pressed a de­sire to join Real Madrid.

Arse­nal mid­fielder Wil­shere, 24, was re­port­edly mulling over loan of­fers from Bournemouth and Crys­tal Palace af­ter slip­ping down the peck­ing or­der at Emirates Sta­dium.

Arse­nal spent around 50 mil­lion pounds on Au­gust 30 to sign Ger­man de­fender Shko­dran Mustafi from Va­len­cia and Span­ish striker Lu­cas Perez from De­portivo La Coruna.

Wil­shere’s Eng­land col­league Joe Hart, mean­while, is due to com­plete a loan move to Ital­ian side Torino af­ter be­ing frozen out by new Manchester City man­ager Pep Guardi­ola.

The blond-haired goal­keeper was pic­tured pos­ing with a Torino shirt on Au­gust 30.

City striker Wil­fried Bony, who has also failed to win over Guardi­ola, was pic­tured at Stoke City’s train­ing ground.

Bony tweeted, “It’s a new day and I look for­ward to a new ex­cit­ing chal­lenge.”

Samir Nasri, an­other City out­cast, was thought to be close to join­ing Sevilla, while Eli­aquim Man­gala was re­port­edly due to sign for Va­len­cia.

Le­ices­ter City, Eng­land’s fairy­tale cham­pi­ons last sea­son, were re­ported to be clos­ing in on deals for Sport­ing Lis­bon pair Is­lam Slimani and Adrien Silva.

Both deals would be ex­pected to eclipse Le­ices­ter’s 16.6 mil­lion pound club-record move for Nige­rian for­ward Ahmed Musa last month.

Else­where, In­ter Mi­lan and Barcelona paid top dol­lar for Brazil’s Olympic gold medal-win­ning striker Gabriel “Gabigol” Bar­bosa and Va­len­cia for­ward Paco Alcacer re­spec­tively.

In­ter con­firmed the sign­ing of Bar­bosa on his 20th birth­day late on Au­gust 30.

“Gabigol is an In­ter player,” the Serie A gi­ants said in a state­ment, an­nounc­ing a five-year con­tract.

In­ter did not re­lease fi­nan­cial de­tails, but the Gazzetta dello Sport web­site re­ported In­ter had paid San­tos 27.5 mil­lion eu­ros for “Gabigol”, who has drawn com­par­isons with his coun­try­man Ney­mar.

Alcacer, who turned 23 this week, joined Barcelona from Va­len­cia in a 30 mil­lion euro, five-year deal, the Cata­lan side an­nounced.

The Spain in­ter­na­tional, who scored 13 goals in 34 league ap­pear­ances last sea­son, will heighten com­pe­ti­tion in the Barcelona front­line al­ready led by Ney­mar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

An­a­lysts pre­dict Euro­pean spend­ing will eas­ily be the high­est yet when the two-month trans­fer win­dow closes, be­tween 1600 GMT for the Bun­desliga and 2200 GMT for the Pre­mier League.

Flush from the pro­ceeds of a new 5.14 bil­lion pound do­mes­tic tele­vi­sion rights deal, English clubs have led the way.

Manchester United set a new world record with an 89 mil­lion pounds deal to bring French mid­fielder Paul Pogba back to the club from Ju­ven­tus.

Chris­tian Hei­del, sport­ing di­rec­tor for Ger­man club Schalke, said the Pre­mier League has forced up prices ev­ery­where.

“If English man­agers are on the phone, then the sums are au­to­mat­i­cally higher,” Hei­del said on a talk show for Kicker mag­a­zine.

“If the ne­go­ti­a­tions are within Ger­many, then it is of­ten dif­fi­cult to ex­clude the higher sums from Eng­land.”

Photo: EPA

De­portivo La Coruna’s striker Lu­cas Perez (left) is the lat­est in a record-set­ting spend­ing spree among Pre­mier League clubs.

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