Saudi Mega Money: The New Normal

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Since the advent of financial fair play rules, the richest clubs now get to stay just that, with rules in place to stop other investors buying success by sinking billions into a club: Newcastle are in the ironic position of being unable to spend even though they have owners with some of the deepest pockets on the planet.

So, buying raw or undervalued talent and selling on at a profit is going to become a bigger and bigger part of every technical director’s job description. It isn’t possible just to keep asking the billionaire owners for more blank cheques, so the money must come from within. Stories linking the cream of our team with lucrative moves to Saudi or even to ‘top six’ teams are going to become increasingly commonplace: Trading players for profit is something we are just going to have to get used to instead of blindly relying on player loyalty and hoping they stay.

Shrewd business sense inserts high buy-out clauses into player contracts, so that if a bid comes in for twice or three times what we’ve invested in a player like Mo Kudus, (Gonzo’s content, C and H, Thursday) – however disappointed we are as fans with the ‘loss’ of our prized player, we are going to have to expect more of these sales as FFP requirements dictate transfer policy every bit as much as the appointment of a new manager or coach.

For the player – who can blame him? Would any of us turn down a life changing amount of money to make a move during what is an incredibly short playing career that could end any day? Of course not. Even playing in sterile, empty stadia week after week would not deter any but the richest from cashing in on their success, to set themselves and their families up in perpetual financial stability. It stopped being ‘just’ football long ago. Its business. 

Enjoy them whilst they are wearing claret and blue and then wave them goodbye like a teen bride waving her sweetheart farewell as he heads off to war on the troopship.  Then – bank that profit and submit great looking balance sheets. Repeat. Grow. And hopefully succeed along the way.

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Like everyone else, lifelong WHU fan and season ticket holder in old BMU stand at Upton Park from 2003. Billy Bonds these days with my adult son and impatiently waiting for my Grandson to be old enough to initiate him before his mum grabs him for Man U. All opinions are my own very biased ones.


  • John Ayris says:

    For a player of the calibre that this article is talking of yes they can earn more in Saudi but what they earn here sets them up for life too. It’s not the be all and end all factor that the article makes it out to be.

  • Frank Reedee says:

    That last sentence, epitomises what is wrong with these ****es, sorry sites, I’m not even going to explain it to you mate , but just maybe with a surname like yours that’s where your future is, on an island with no internet/tv connection, are you really a West Ham fan with that kind of pathetic attitude

  • Bonzo says:

    In the premier league the players are already making life changing amounts of money. Play for a few months, tuck another million away in the bank. When half these players, like Kudus no doubt come from poor backgrounds you’ve got to be happy with that haven’t you. Going for the big bucks in Saudi is just about greed for me. Not a great footballing decision. Not a good career move. Go there after the age of thirty by all means but not in you’re twenties.

    • michael says:

      “is just about greed”

      Who are these fans who imagine they would not take a job opportunity for bigger money? Especially when a football career can end at any moment?

      And how do they imagine smaller clubs feel when West Ham comes in to take their best talent? Is West Ham then greedy? How about the player who comes to West Ham? Is he greedy? How about the fans that want the owners to open their wallets? Greedy? Or just fans?

      You might call it greedy hypocrisy.

  • John Sharp says:

    Quite a disturbing attitude.

    You may accept this as the new norm Mr Treasure, but to most of us it signals the end of the National sport that we know and love.

    Before long, decency in football will only be found in the lower leagues.

  • D says:

    This is garbage. Seen it all before, new leagues offering lots of money and after a couple of seasons they fade away because players can’t bear staying in these places. Anybody who is not at the end of their career who goes there isn’t worth investing any time in. Within the next few years Arabia will be impossible to live in because of the weather. If players want to go there then you can let them go and milk it for the transfer fee, but we have to have a team that can compete. At this rate we won’t have any players

  • Bonzo says:

    Saudi has deep pockets. They’ve already bought boxing and now they want football. Premier league has been buying up foreign leagues best players for years though so can we really complain when someone else try’s to do it?

  • Frank Reed says:

    Excuse me bozo, when did you last go to a boxing match, or maybe live golf. We are talking English Premier League Football here, the premiership is the pinnacle of league football. Saudis/whoever comes in and takes players away for the filthy lucre have no real route into the success or history of football because they have no common,

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