The Premier League has reached a level of financial domination that leaves even teams like Real Madrid in the dust.
Within the Premier League, the ‘Big 6’ continue to consolidate their position at the top of the division. Sure, a West Ham or a Leicester may challenge for the Champions League, but they can never keep it up.
We have seen this phenomenon once before. It’s hard to believe it now but in the 1990s, the Italian Serie A was the dominant league in world football.
It featured the biggest stars, the biggest transfer fees and the biggest wages. As a result, players moving between all the top teams – even local rivals – became the norm.
Now the Premier League is experiencing a similar phenomenon, accelerated by the economic problems caused by Covid on the continent.
England’s top flight is fast becoming a self-contained market due to the ludicrous sums of money involved in buying a Premier League player.
As a result, we are seeing players move between rivals in a way that feels strange on English shores.
Chelsea have signed Raheem Sterling from City and are going back to Manchester for Nathan Ake. Similarly, Arsenal recruited Gabriel Jesus from Guardiola’s team and look set to complete the signing of Oliksandr Zinchenko this week.
This would never have happened before as it would be seen as strengthening your rivals. However, if a club at the top echelons of the league needs to move a player on, the teams in and around you are probably your only option.
It remains to be seen how far this will go. It’s hard to imagine players moving between Manchester United and Liverpool, for example – or indeed between United and City.
Although, we have seen it happen – Petr Cech, David Luiz and Willian have all moved from Chelsea to Arsenal. Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic from Chelsea to United.
The clubs involved certainly benefit, either from an established star joining the team or a hefty transfer fee. Ultimately though, it will probably serve to further remove the top 6 from the rest of the league.