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January Transfer Window

February 1, 2011

The transfer deadline passed yesterday with a big bang. Fernando Torres is now officially in the Top 10 most expensive transfers after his £50m move from Liverpool to Chelsea, while Andy Carroll’s £35m move from Newcastle to Liverpool is among the Top 10 in GBP terms but not in EUR (due to exchange rates). But just to put in perspective, Barcelona paid Valencia £34.5m in the summer.

Both deals were done in the dying hours of the transfer window, so it all smells a bit like a panic buy. But are they? Chelsea have been under performing the past months and urgently needed some fresh injection in the squad. Drogba, Lampard, Anelka, Malouda are all aging while Sturridge, Kakuta and McEachran don’t have the experience yet. There is a big gap between them and Abramovich (rightly) thinks that Torres can be the player they need to make sure they qualify for Champions League. These days qualifying for Champions League is (financially) as important as winning the league. Chelsea have been looking for a striker and now they have a World Cup winning one, although a tad bit overpriced.

Sensing this, Liverpool had to act fast to get in a replacement. They did secure Luis Suarez, however they also lost Ryan Babel. Before Suarez, with Torres leaving Liverpool only has one out and out striker, David N’Gog. With Carroll as target man and Suarez around him, Liverpool have quite an attacking force again. Sure, paying £35m for Carroll is way way too much, however they didn’t have much choice and as they have just been handed £57m (including Babel’s sale) they might as well spend it.

Chelsea just recorded a loss of £70.9m, so how will they comply with the UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations with these spending (they also bought Luiz for £20m)? Well, one way of doing it is by maximising their income. Therefore getting as far as possible in the Champions League this year and qualification for next year is a must. If they can win it then it will be easier to get the income necessary. But if they lose in the 4th round and don’t qualify for next year (which is possible considering they are fighting two remaining places out with Man City and Spurs) then there will be severe consequences.

Because the financial rewards of the Champions League is so high (at least EUR 20m if a team goes far), it is a big carrot on a stick for teams, especially big teams used to playing in it. It becomes a vicious cycle, as teams need to play CL to survive therefore will do anything to qualify for it. But not everyone can. Which makes me understand why Chelsea paid £50m for Torres. Still, it doesn’t make me understand £35m for Andy Carroll though.

Andy Carroll £35m???

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