Another European transfer window swings to a close, and the story is no different from before. This summer's transfer spending has been dominated by clubs with wealthy foreign owners, as the dislocation of European clubs from their traditional owners continues. Whether for upwardly mobile clubs, or for those already at the top, foreign benefaction is increasingly necessary to transfer activity.
For once, Manchester City were not the heaviest-spending Arab-owned team in Europe. City, and every other club in Europe, have been outspent by Paris St-Germain. Just as City were bought three years ago today by the Abu Dhabi United Group, a controlling stake in Paris was bought by the Qatar Investment Authority Group in May.
Since then, Paris have spent with a swaggering ambition. Like City, they are keen to raise themselves beyond mid-table. They have not won Ligue 1 since 1994, but now have the means to challenge the elite of Marseilles and Lyons. In their upward pursuit, they have spent nearly £80m so far, £37m of it on Palermo's Argentine playmaker Javier Pastore, pictured. The biggest transfer in French history, Pastore turned down Chelsea to play in Paris.
"Paris St-Germain have real ambitions to become one of the most competitive clubs in Europe," Pastore said. "I'm honoured that their directors chose me to be one of the players to help them climb the mountain to where they want to be."
As well as Pastore, Paris have signed the best from other Ligue 1 clubs, a privilege usually enjoyed by Lyons. Blaise Matuidi (€7.5m) and Kevin Gameiro (€11m) have joined from St-Etienne and Lorient respectively. Yesterday they unveiled Diego Lugano, the Fenerbahce centre-back who this summer captained Uruguay to Copa America glory.
In terms of gross spending, Paris have left Manchester City in their wake. City, though, have focused on quality. Sergio Aguero from Atletico Madrid and Samir Nasri from Arsenal have been the headline arrivals, costing £38m and £25m respectively.
Then there is Malaga. Bought in 2010 by Sheikh Abdullah of the Qatari ruling family, they too have spent to speed away from mid-table. Malaga finished 11th in La Liga last term, but have bought enough quality to do much better this year: Santi Cazorla from Villarreal and veterans Ruud van Nistelrooy, Joris Mathijsen, Jérémy Toulalan and Joaquin.
Uefa's financial fair play rules, which demand that clubs can record only a maximum of €45m losses over the three seasons ending in 2013-14, are intended to restrict the impact of benefactor spending. In time, they may do that. But this summer's transfer spending has been dominated, again, by the ambitions of wealthy and distant owners.Reuse content