18+ | Commercial Content | T&Cs apply | Begambleaware.org
There may still be just under a month to go before the transfer window slams shut, but already chairmen and managers of the Premier League are tearing their hair out as the fees for players go up and up.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has dubbed the whole situation “crazy”, while Tottenham Hotspur chief Daniel Levy has warned such levels of spending are simply “unsustainable.”
So spare a thought then, for those clubs who are in the Premier League but not at the level of the division’s elite. If England’s top clubs are moaning about being priced out of the market, then what chance do they have?
“I think crazy is the right word,” says new Watford boss Marco Silva when discussing Mourinho’s views on the transfer market.
“It is really crazy in this moment, and when managers of the big clubs say that imagine what I can say because it is really difficult for us.
“We have our targets in our mind, and you look for them because you feel they are very good solutions for us, it is not easy after to achieve these targets. Of course we try and we keep trying, and we work hard in the market as well as a club.”
It is the concerns of managers like Silva that are seemingly being overlooked as the transfer window accelerates towards its conclusion.
As the new Watford manager says; if the Manchester United manager is finding the market expensive than what chance does he have.
The issue was perfectly summed up by Mourinho when he was dissecting the current window during United’s tour of the states. It is not the fees for the big players – the Kylian Mbappes or Neymars of this world – that are the problem.
The real issue is the money being coughed up for players below that bracket of quality.
“I think the problem is with the other group which is a big group because players like [Paul] Pogba, there are one or two [big] transfers [like that] per transfer window,” said Mourinho.
“The other level has 100 transfers and for me that is the dangerous area of the market.
“Some clubs don't buy because they don't accept the numbers that now rule the market. Others do it because they want to go to the same level and that's what worries me a little bit. We now speak about £30m, £40m, £50m in such an easy way.”
It is exactly these concerns Silva raised when he was officially introduced to the press for the first time as Watford manager.
Having worked in England since January, when he was appointed head coach of Hull City, the Portuguese manager is beginning to understand what it is like to try and strike deals in such a market.
However, he has now given an insight into just how extortionate transfers for Premier League clubs have become.
“In the normal Europe market maybe the value of a player is £5million – if you come from the Premier League it is double, the minimum is to double,” says Silva.
“Of course it is a big problem. Every club wants to stay in the Premier League and of course the clubs need to do something to achieve these players. But this year the market is completely crazy.”
In Silva’s eyes the cause of the problem is simple. The 40-year-old says he speaks to colleagues from around Europe and they will tell you instantly if they want to ship a player out there’s two places they want to sell to – China or England.
Both countries are considered the wealthiest in the modern game and if a club wants to get maximum value for their talent, there’s no one else they’d rather strike a deal with.
It makes transfer dealings for a club like Watford exceptionally difficult. Essentially they have been thrust into a game of high-stakes poker, when in reality they can't really afford the buy-in.
Silva even admits it was easier bringing in players when he was in charge of Greek champions Olympiakos as everyone assumed they had limit funds.
“Yes that is true,” says Silva. “When you start to talk with each club or the player, but more the clubs, they know if it is for the Premier League.
“If you go at this moment to ask the clubs in Portugal, Spain, Italy or whatever: ‘What club do you want to sell your players to?’ Everybody says China or the Premier League. It is because of the market at this moment. This is football and you need to be ready for everything.”
Silva will now just be hoping the crazy transfer window doesn’t stop Watford being ready for the new season.