Date: 15th July 2008 at 1:46pm
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The transfer market has been held in a logjam for a few weeks now as a number of high profile potential transfers are interdependent. Despite the ‘money no object` impression that some clubs give such are the fees and salaries commanded and demanded by players now that budgets can only be balanced if incomings are balanced by outgoings. Football might seem to live in a different financial zone from the rest of business but a ‘credit crunch` in an industry that borrows as heavily as football has to be felt there too. Funds are not so readily available and not quite so cheap especially if you are carrying debts not secured against genuine assets.

Peter Hill-Wood made reference to this in a Q&A session published on the clubs website saying ?maybe people need to be waking up to the realities of the world and that the days of easy money have come to a pretty sudden end. There is an awful lot of talk about big transfers and major demands of players but you will find throughout the UK and Europe that money is not quite as easy to obtain as it used to be. So I think a lot of these stories emanating from agents may not actually come to fruition. There is a lot of talk and not a lot of action.

Despite it`s posturing AC Milan has little money and is relying on little that requires significant up front payments. Much of this transfer logjam sits at Barcelona`s doorstep. They are the team with the biggest upheaval with a number of big money players set to depart including Ronaldinho and Eto,o. Committing themselves to big salaried acquisitions while these two remain on their books maybe beyond them especially as they have spent big already and recouped little on Deco. So hefty are the sums involved that few transactions can be completed without squaring the financial circle first. Once one goes down the others can and probably will fall into place.

Real will wait to see how far they can go with Ronaldo before perhaps entering the fray for other targets. If the Ronaldo deal proves possible virtually all of Reals financial resources are spoken for. If not then they may well enter the market. That may revise the potential destination of one or two players. The same decision probably also impacts on Fergie`s decision on whether to go for Berbatov or not. Without that sale, or the sale of Keane, Spurs may struggle to justify the £17m needed to go for Bentley. Whether Liverpool will go for Keane or Barry depends on outgoing sales. Now that the Alonso sale to Juventus has broken down the money and the space for Barry may not be quite there. The financial background for any potential Villa deal for Bentley becomes a lot clearer once they are clear on the deal they have for Barry. If Arsenal are interested in him it maybe only if Liverpool has had to withdraw and at a price that reflects that reality.

Hill-Wood seems keen for the club to hold its nerve. ?. a lot of people don`t seem to realise that in the long run you must run a football club on a sensible commercial basis. A lot of the figures bandied around at the moment don`t make commercial sense to us.

A number of players are being openly hawked around the transfer market. Arshavin having fallen in and out of love with a number of successive clubs all whom has been his ‘dream` move. So far without takers – at least at the price that his club aspire to. As the season begins to get underway squads will need to become settled. In the coming weeks prices will become more realistic and deals may be concluded. Who will blink first? Maybe we are reaching the point when realism begins to dawn in an industry that thrives on financial fantasy far too much for it`s own good.



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