Football: Spain is where the big money now reigns
Friday 15 August 1997
In July alone Spanish clubs spent pounds 150m (English clubs spent pounds 120m in the whole close-season) with "lesser names" such as Athletic Bilbao, Deportivo La Coruna and Real Betis involved almost as heavily as Barcelona and the two Madrid clubs.
As in England, television is the progenitor of the spending frenzy. Barcelona received pounds 23m from television last year, with 54 of their matches being among the staggering 724 games transmitted live (Sky showed 230, including 40 Spanish games).
The prospect of playing in Barcelona's glittering side (net worth listed at pounds 400m), with Stoichkov, Giovanni, Dugarry, Guardiola, Reiziger, Figo et al is sure to tempt McManaman, however happy he is on Merseyside. So, too, the chance of working with Louis van Gaal.
McManaman is smart enough to realise that his game needs developing. Since Euro 96 it appears to have stagnated. He is yet to successfully deal with man-marking, and his goalscoring needs work. He remains a very good player but his potential is not being fully realised. The danger is that he may become a fringe player in the Barcelona side, so strong is their squad. This would not be good for him or England.
For all the reservations about his game he remains, however, a fine player, one of the best at breaking down defences in the English game. It thus seems odd that Liverpool are apparently prepared to sell him. It ought not be for financial reasons. They have spent pounds 12m on transfers in the summer but received pounds 7m for Stan Collymore. They have spent heavily on the ground, with the rebuilding of the Kemlyn Road end completing a thorough overhaul, but received some assistance from the Football Trust and, of course, are about to receive another pounds 7m from Sky.
This should mean they can replace McManaman, but with whom? Darren Eadie and Trevor Sinclair are the obvious candidates in England, Alessandro Del Piero an overseas possibility.
Latest in Sport
Robin van Persie: Manchester United may have more joy if striker is dropped by David Moyes
England 29 Wales 18 match report: Stuart Lancaster's men enjoy their day in the sun at expense of weary Wales
FA Cup semi-final draw: Arsenal to play Wigan at Wembley, Hull paired with Sheffield United
England 29 Wales 18 player ratings: Who was the star man at Twickenham?
FA Cup semi-finals: Lukasz Fabianski will start in goal for Arsenal against Wigan
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 3 North Korea elections: Kim Jong-un wins 100% of the vote
- 4 David Cameron resorts to paying for Facebook fans because not enough people like him
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client is a leading digital agency bu...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Charter Selection: Global leader in its respective ...
£130 - £161 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Do you have a qualificatio...
£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: The school is much la...