A report in today’s Financial Times suggests the transfer market could be facing a hit of as much as €10bn, which could well mean big-money signings are gone for the foreseeable future.
This will have huge repercussions, both good and bad for clubs. While it’s hard to predict precisely how it will pan out, here’s an idea of what the new footballing landscape might look like…
More free transfers
With clubs less able to splash out big fees for new players, expect free agents to become more of a thing in the near future.
It could mean that in the very near future we see more interest in the likes of Willian, Adam Lallana and Olivier Giroud this summer than might previously have been expected.
Arsenal, for instance, face doubts over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future and are already a club that struggles to make too many extravagant signings – with Nicolas Pepe’s arrival last summer a notable exception.
Could that mean Willian and Giroud might suddenly look more attractive targets for the Gunners and other big clubs, whereas in normal times they might have expected to move down a level as they head towards the ends of their deals with Chelsea.
Having said that, could it also persuade the Blues to renew their deals as it might be cheaper than replacing them?
More emphasis on youth
Many teams, most notably the likes of Ajax and Borussia Dortmund around Europe, but also Liverpool in England, are already moving towards this model.
Those less able to splash the cash on established stars have done well to improve their scouting and recruitment and land some real bargains in recent times before selling them on for a profit.
This could give the Dortmunds, Liverpools and even Leicesters of this world an advantage going into this new era, but expect other big clubs to also focus more on signing the best youth before they become superstars.
Manchester United, for instance, have been strongly linked with Jude Bellingham in recent times, and he’s likely to be one of the more expensive names on their list if they go down that route, while they also recently signed French wonderkid Hannibal Mejbri – a player who might now be fast-tracked into the senior side.
Levelling the playing field?
This might be wishful thinking, but might teams now be able to hold on to their star players in a way that they weren’t before?
Aston Villa, for example, have long looked like losing Jack Grealish to Manchester United this summer, but with his price tag likely to be something in the region of £60-80million, is that still affordable, even for a club of Man Utd’s resources?
If the Red Devils have to look to youth instead, that might mean we see players like Grealish stick around and help smaller teams for a little while longer – at least until they run down their contracts, adding to the potential free transfers in the future.
The flip side of this, however, is that a team like Villa might actually just be under more pressure to sell someone like Grealish on the cheap in order to stay afloat, as their finances will surely be hit harder than United’s.
But even then, can MUFC afford Grealish without also selling Paul Pogba – and who will be able to afford his transfer fee and wages now?
It’s all hugely unpredictable, but what we do know for sure is that it’s going to be very different for a long time.