Premier League Chief Executive Officer Richard Scudamore defended record spending by teams in England’s top division and said it is “inevitable” that a player will be bought for 100 million pounds ($161 million).
Chelsea and Liverpool bought four players for more than 130 million pounds in a single day to take the league’s total outlay in the midseason recruitment period to 225 million pounds, seven times the figure it was a year earlier.
The London team broke the U.K. transfer record by paying Liverpool a reported 50 million pounds for Fernando Torres. The Reds used that income to make Newcastle’s Andy Carroll the most expensive English player of all time and paid Ajax as much as 26 million euros ($35 million) for forward Luis Suarez.
“Can I see it happening in the future?” Scudamore said when asked if he thought a 100-million-pound player trade was possible. “It’s inevitable. I would think that one day it would happen.”
He said that the proceeds of such a transfer would benefit several teams. Money could be used by the selling team to buy other players and “trickle down” across divisions, he said. Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo became the world’s most expensive player when he was signed for 80 million pounds from Manchester United in 2009.
Chelsea’s Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich spent more than he had in the last three transfer window’s to capture Torres and Benfica defender David Luiz for a combined 75 million pounds. Scudamore said the money paid to Liverpool should be seen as “inward investment” in the U.K. economy at time when the country’s finances are strained.
“I don’t know how we get out of the recession without spending money,” he said at the Premier League’s headquarters in London.
“At the end of the day, if this was any other industry where a Russian was bringing in 100 million pounds that then got recycled around, that then allowed Liverpool to spend the money at Newcastle and then allowed all these other things to happen, if we were in any other industry we would be going ‘oh, this is good investment.”
Manchester City, owned by an Abu Dhabi sheikh, has spent more than any other U.K. team in the past two years and added striker Edin Dzeko for 24 million pounds from Germany’s Wolfsburg. Rivals relying on bank finances haven’t been as busy because of increased difficulty raising credit.
Both City and Chelsea, which Abramovich bought in 2003, trail Manchester United and Arsenal, neither of which made a major signing last month. United still has the majority of the money it received for Ronaldo.
“We don’t currently have a league table where those with most money from benefactors are top of the league,” Scudamore said. The standings aren’t “in perfect correlation with those who spent the most in the last couple of transfer windows.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in the London newsroom on at firstname.lastname@example.org