Football is a seller's market. A quick look at the most expensive transfer fees of all time tells you that. James Rodriguez is worth £63m according to Real Madrid. David Luiz is worth £50m according to PSG. Liverpool once felt that Andy Carroll was worth £35m.
Mind-blowing sums of money are being exchanged for players as the commercial operations of the world's biggest clubs fight not only for football trophies or the biggest sponsorship deals but the greatest global fan base too.
The Premier League is not blessed with the same technical ability as La Liga. There are exceptionally technically gifted players, but on the whole we fall behind. We have always been, aside from a brief period towards the end of the 'noughties' that saw unprecedented Champions League success, the second best league in Europe.
The Italian league was - and still is - on the wane, as too was the German Bundesliga. Moreover, the Dutch, Portugese and French leagues weren't even close. We were watching football in an era when players moved clubs for footballing reasons, not financial.
When the idea of winnings trophies outweighed that the local city's nightlife. When £30m for a player still seemed like a lot of money.
In terms of competition alone you may argue that the Premier League surpasses all others. The Italian league has a contingent of strong teams with Juventus, AC Milan, Inter, Roma and Napoli all enjoying success since the turn of the century but that competition has dwindled in the last three of four years.
The Dutch and Portuguese leagues are dominated by two or three sides and see their best players migrate elsewhere. The French league has seen many different winners in the last ten years but with PSG's money - and now Monaco's too - it looks to be, at best, a two horse race for the foreseeable future.
In Germany, Bayern Munich are the dominant team with only Borussia Dortmund posing a credible threat. The same Borussia Dortmund that finished 19 points adrift in 2013/2014.
Spain has long been a duopoly and will continue to be so with last year's surprise winners Atletico Madrid already having lost seven first-team players since they were crowned Champions. This is in the same summer as their two rivals, Barcelona and Real Madrid, have purchased players for the third and fourth highest fees of all time.
It's only the Premier League, you could argue, that offers any kind of consistently exciting title race. Heading into 2014/2015 there are potentially five credible contenders. Yet despite the intensity and intrigue our league delivers, the world's very best players are either leaving or choosing not to come.
The three most expensive footballers of all time rose to prominence in the Premier League, but left as soon as they were offered a lucrative opportunity to move abroad.
There is a discerning split within the world's top clubs with Real Madrid and Barcelona breaking away to form their own league. Just behind them you have Bayern Munich and PSG, albeit each for very different reasons. Then you have the English clubs, cut adrift and falling further away.
If you consider PSG alongside Real Madrid and Barca, these three clubs are responsible for 12 of the 21 most expensive fees ever paid.
Real Madrid have spent a phenomenal amount of money while Barcelona add further weight to the notion that the two clubs are in a league of their own. PSG have spent a similar amount to Barcelona, though remain a notch below as their spend revolves around playing catch-up whilst competing in an inferior league.
Put simply, Barcelona and Real Madrid buy the world's best players. PSG spend money on many very good players because they are playing catch-up. Monaco, second in the French league last season, are still some way behind PSG and having just sold James Rodriguez to Madrid with further rumours of Radamel Falcao's departure to the same team are not operating within the same league as their Parisian rivals.
Lazio are somewhat of an anomaly as the capture of Hernan Crespo 14 years ago places them among the top European spenders. Likewise, we can discount Atletico Madrid as their purchase of Falcao was funded by the sale of Sergio Aguero to Manchester City.
Bayern Munich are conspicuous in their absence but are by no means strangers to paying substantial transfer fees. In recent years they have paid in excess of £30m for Mario Gotze and Javi Martinez and have been richly rewarded with the quality of homegrown stars like Philip Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller and David Alaba.
German football is 'flavour of the month' at present on the back of consecutive Champions League final appearances for Munich and the success of the national team at the World Cup this summer. Robert Lewandowski, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Thiago Alcantara are just some of the players who have spurned offers in England to remain in/move to the German league in recent seasons.
This leaves us with the five strong English contingent. Five clubs who have every right to believe that they can attract some of the world's best players. Five clubs who have the financial capabilities to afford the world's best players. Five clubs who do have some of the worlds very best players. But five clubs, who will are falling further behind their continental rivals.
Barcelona can afford to offload Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez, Real Madrid are believed to be prepared to offload Isco and Angel Di Maria and Bayern Munich can afford to offload Toni Kroos. Each of these six players would be/are among the very very best in the Premier League yet our continental rivals deem them surplus to requirements.
We are picking up their scraps. The key to all of this is one player, Angel di Maria. Someone who would undoubtedly improve each of these five English clubs, a player who himself may be forced out of Real Madrid, a player strongly linked with PSG. The same PSG who have been penalized by UEFA for breaching the Financial Fair Play rules, the same PSG who have already spent £50m on David Luiz this summer.
If Di Maria joins PSG, spurning the advances of various Premier League clubs it could signify the start of darker times for English football. The current giants of Europe have the muscle and impunity to collect footballers like World Cup stickers, and the financial might to disregard UEFA as if they were nothing more than a disgruntled neighbour asking you to turn the music down.
If a top level player prefers to join PSG and play in a league that offers no serious competition, collecting Ligue 1 titles like I do DVDs despite serious interest from the best sides in England what does that say for the future of our league?
If some of the higher profile transfer rumours come to fruition the five English clubs could have some pretty good front fours: Manchester City can boast Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, David Silva and Samir Nasri. Chelsea can boast Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Oscar. Arsenal have Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and potentially Mario Balotelli. Manchester United have Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and may eventually bring in Arturo Vidal. Liverpool have Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana. All five of those front lines are very very good.
Let's compare now to our continental rivals: PSG have Zlatan Ibrohimovic, Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and potentially Angel di Maria. Barcelona have Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta. Bayern Munich have Robert Lewandowski, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller even without considering the scorer of the World Cup finals winning goal, Mario Gotze. Real Madrid have Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema (plus Isco, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos!)
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