Financial Fair Play (FFP) has it’s believers and it’s skeptics. I for one, am currently pulling splinters out of my backside from sitting on the fence for too long. Unfortunately, I’ll be doing it for a while longer because I am still perched on that fence. Irrespective of whether or not FFP has been a success or failure, it definitely has had a significant effect both on and off the field for European football.
Take the cases of Manchester City and PSG. Both teams are usually the big spenders, the playboy billionaires who throw money around and end up with a plethora of gold diggers at the head of their class when it comes to manipulating balls. Over the years, both have stockpiled so many players they could probably win their respective second divisions with the sheer array of talent they have. Do you remember the next big thing out of Everton, Jack Rodwell? Signed for £21m now jettisoned to Sunderland for £10m. How about Alexander Kolarov? Another £20m man who signed a new contract to sit on the bench. Before FFP, City signed players every summer with reckless abandon. This summer, Manchester United’s noisy neighbors are very quiet indeed. Fernando and Willy Caballero have come in quietly as if shown in through the backdoor of a shady night club. Elaquim Mangala will become a city player for 30m or so and that will likely be it for the Citizens. They’ll be looking to offload deadwood contracts as they’ve done with Joleon Lescott and hopefully Micah Richards follows. This is surely down to the restrictions on their squad and spending capabilities brought on by FFP.
Given Alvaro Negredo’s injury and Sergio Aguero being in and out, we surely would have seen a bid for unsettled PSG forward Edinson Cavani if it were not for FFP. City would love to sell Edin Dzeko, Javi Garcia, Nastasic and we know that James Milner is evaluating his future. Problem is, no one wants to pay their wages. This puts City in a tough position, and the only way out is a garage sale type clear out. Slash their prices ridiculously allowing potential buyers to deal with the wages or begin to negotiate at least. One thing is for sure in City’s case, FFP has changed the way they are thinking about the game. If they don’t want to risk removal from Europe next season, this new thinking needs to become action.
Paris Saint Germain are in exactly the same boat as Manchester City, except they are trying their best to go out in a haze of cocaine induced insanity like Tony Montana. Did they not get the FFP memo before they went and spent 50m on David Luiz? After his abysmal performance in defense (honestly, it looked like he was high) for Brazil in the World Cup, I’m sure PSG wish the transfer came with a return or exchange policy – Kurt Zouma anyone? Unfortunately they are stuck with him and now will likely sell a real asset in Marquinhos just to balance the books. The stupidity of this move in tandem with their FFP slap on the wrist is incredible. They can’t even buy Serge Aurier for £10m! The boy had to be brought in on loan with the option to buy after the season is complete. Don’t even get me started on Angel Di Maria. Real Madrid’s obsession with galacticos caused them to grossly overspend on the World Cup’s best player James Rodriguez. Now the Champions League Man of the Match and possible MVP of Real’s season won’t get into the team. The signs point to a cut price deal of £35m for a player that Liverpool would bite your hand off for right now…I wonder where they got that from. PSG can’t afford the deal without incurring more FFP wrath. The reason being David Freakin’ Luiz. Their best bet is another season long loan with an option to buy. To make even that possible, they’ll have to have a garage sale of their own. The items they’d love to move out the most are Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Lucas Moura and they could be swayed to let go of Edinson Cavani. Unfortunately for PSG they have the same problem as Man City. They paid these overrated players more than any other sane person outside of Ed Woodward (Wayne Rooney, you genius) would pay in wages. Just like City, we should expect some very low prices for these players as they move the dead wood out in order to make Monsieur Platini a happy boy.
If all goes to plan and my crystal ball doesn’t fail me as it did with Roberto Soldado and Shinji Kagawa (I might have predicted that they would be roaring successes), I see some clubs knocking at City and PSG’s door and scooping up some decent players. The playing field may just be getting a little more level. Who am I kidding? Barcelona and Real Madrid will spend, spend, spend then sell a few players making themselves look good without really balancing the books, and UEFA won’t say a word. Just when I thought I would be splinter free for a while. Back to the fence I go.