The European Super League is already in England
By: Mark Aguilar 🇸🇻
Image via Premier League
With ongoing talk about a potential “European Super League” emerging among the biggest clubs in Europe, it could be argued that there already is one–The Premier League.
When comparing English club’s expenditures on player transfers with those of other European leagues, there is a noticeably large financial gap.
According to TransferMarkt, since the start of the 2022/2023 season, the Premier League has spent three billion euros on player transfers. This number dwarfs the second-highest-spending league, the Serie A clubs, who have spent 798 million euros on player transfers. Other top league spendings include Ligue 1 with 699 million euros,
La Liga with 558 million euros, and the Bundesliga with 553 million euros. These leagues are often grouped together as the “Top 5 leagues in Europe.”
That being said, why is it that the Premier League is able to spend significantly more than the rest of Europe?
There are many reasons why English clubs have the luxury of having greater funds to spend compared to other top clubs in Europe.
This includes how the Premier League has the most lucrative TV rights deal in the world and there are more cash-rich owners operating at English clubs.
Moreover, other leagues are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. These factors have contributed to the Premier League becoming the dominant league in Europe not just financially but on the pitch.
Due to the amount of money, Premier League clubs are able to spend on players, they are getting the best players in the world to play for them.
Gone are the days when top Premier League players were pitched by clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona. These historic clubs are no longer able to match the financial power of British clubs.
With this power shift among the European clubs, we are starting to see the huge success of Premier League clubs in European competitions.
In the past five seasons, there has been an English club featured in the Champions League final all but once.
Two of those finals were also between two different Premier League clubs. As the financial gap grows, the biggest trophy in Europe could seemingly be destined to be contended by the English clubs.
Image via AP (Pierre Philippe Marcou)
Along with being able to attract the best players in the world, the Premier League has been able to attract some of the best young players in the world.
During the January 2023 transfer window, we saw many young players make a move to a Premier League side for huge fees.
The 22-year-old recipient of the Best Young Player at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Enzo Fernández, made a 121 million euro move to Chelsea from Benfica, which was the biggest fee ever paid by an English club. 22-year-old Mykhailo Mudryk also made a move to Chelsea from Shakhtar Donetsk for 70 million euros, which could rise upwards to 100 million with add-ons.
Manchester United was also able to acquire the 22-year-old Brazilian winger “Antony from Ajax” for 95 million euros.
These are massive fees for players that some might argue have yet to prove their worth, and are being bought for their potential. Since the Premier League now has some of the best young players around Europe, they are future-proofing their squads to always be able to compete at the highest level.
With all this money being spent, especially by a club like Chelsea which has spent over 600 million euros since the 2022 summer, some might ask, what happened to Financial Fair Play? FFP was put into place by the Union of European Football Associations, or UEFA, to prevent clubs from spending more than they earn and from injecting money into clubs from cash-rich owners. According to FFP, wouldn’t Chelsea be in violation?
Chelsea was recently bought during the summer by billionaire Todd Boehly, who took charge of player transfers for the year rather than having a sporting director take that role like most clubs.
Chelsea has gone around FFP by giving their new players huge contract lengths, something uncommon with most clubs.
Enzo Fernández and Mykhailo Mudryk were given mega eight-year contracts. This was done so that Chelsea could report their massive transfer fees in smaller installments as their contracts run through instead of all at once.
For Fernández, instead of reporting a €121 million loss in their yearly report this year, it is reported as €15 million per year for eight years.
The same applies to Mudryk. Chelsea does this to keep their financial reports low and within the rules of spending.
Image via Getty Images (Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC)
With these apparent shady dealings that Chelsea has been getting away with, there have been calls for the UEFA or the FA to investigate their transfers.
A lot of people feel it’s unfair how Chelsea has been able to spend so much money, while other clubs can’t even scratch the surface of what they can afford.
Due to these expenditures, there have been calls for a new European Super League by other European club owners so that their clubs can compete with the financial power of English clubs.
This was an idea proposed in April 2021 when several top European clubs announced they were forming a new league to rival the UEFA Champions League.
Immediately, the fans protested against the idea as they felt it went against what the sport was about.
48 hours after the announcement, all the English clubs pulled out due to pressure from fan protests and apologized for their involvement.
Eventually, all the clubs backed out except for Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus, who are still working on a newly formatted Super League.
Image via Getty Images
It is clear the reason clubs outside of England wanted the European Super League: they were falling behind and wanted to be level with Premier League clubs.
Without the support of the English clubs, however, there is no Super League. The Premier League has pulled itself ahead of all the leagues around the world, and they’re all trying to catch up.