The top players want to play in Spain:
- Kaka, Christiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema moving to Real Madrid, with Franck Ribery wanting to join them there, despite interest from English clubs. Ribery is quoted as saying “It will be Real or nothing”.
- Barcelona continue to be linked with Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas and Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano.
Despite top players leaving or being lured from England, none seem keen to move England. The leading English clubs have mostly been buying players from other English clubs:
- Manchester United have signed Antonio Valencia from Wigan Athletic, and Michael Owen, who had been released by Newcastle United.
- Liverpool have signed Glen Johnson from Portsmouth.
- Chelsea have signed Ross Turnbull from Middlesbrough, Daniel Sturridge from Manchester City, and Russian International Yuri Zhirkov from Dynamo Moscos.
- Arsenal haven’t signed anyone yet.
Whether or not Terry is prepared to announce publicly he will be staying at Chelsea seems to rest on whether he is satisfied with the prospect of becoming the club’s best-paid player with a £25,000 increase to his £130,000-a-week salary.
He would also like to hear from Abramovich or Kenyon that at least one big summer signing will be made and that the Blues are prepared to compete with City, Real Madrid and Barcelona in the transfer market.
But [Manchester City] remain confident Terry is interested in the massive £220,000-a-week deal they have drawn up for him and still believe they can convince Chelsea to sell.
Although they remain in the hunt for Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery, who is also being chased by Real Madrid and Barcelona, it now seems increasingly unlikely Chelsea will have a marquee signing on board with them for the flight to America.
Of the English clubs, only Manchester City can afford to pay the over-the-top salaries now expected by top players, and even then, they’re having to settle for pursuing and signing players from other English clubs. They’ve finally given up on Eto’o, although they’re still closing in on Carlos Tevez, who was on loan with Manchester United last season.
Even lesser players are moving to Spain:
- Jermaine Pennant to Real Zaragoza after being released by Liverpool following his loan spell at Portsmouth last season.
The “Spain drain”?
No matter what the reasons given by the players themselves for wanting to move to Spain instead of staying or moving to England, “the pound’s fall in value against the euro” must be a factor.
Raphael Benitez bemoans “crazy transfer fees”. It only looks crazy because the pound has lost value against the Euro.
It wasn’t so long ago that the top players were rushing to England. The pound was strong then.
Nothing much changes. It’s just the favoured destination that changes from time to time. Currency exchange rates can be an important factor.