FIFA, the governing body of world football, have finally put their foot down for the Madrid clubs following an investigation concerning the registration of young players. As a result, a transfer embargo affects both Atletico and Real Madrid, two of Spain’s biggest clubs. Neither can sign players until the summer of 2017. A question many may ask, however, would be: to what degree does this strengthen the dominance of English football, particularly the top clubs of the Premier League? During the close season, Pep Guardiola will take the reins at Manchester City, whilst a record-breaking television deal looks ready to significantly strengthen the financial resources of all Premier League clubs. With squad improvements for two of Spain’s wealthiest clubs on pause until 2017, will some of the Premier League’s best players choose to stay at their respective clubs? Who else, perhaps excluding Barcelona, would have the financial backing to persuade the likes of De Gea or Mahrez to move abroad?
The embargo is also likely to mean that Los Blancos will reaffirm their grip on the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, who looked increasingly likely to move to Paris Saint-Germain this summer, and Gareth Bale, with whom the speculation never ceases. Their neighbours, Atletico, are also unlikely to weaken their hold on their big names such as Antoine Greizmann and Jan Oblak, at least until next January - closer to the eventual date with which newly-registered players can be fielded to replace any departures at Real or Atletico. This may, alternatively, bring a halt to the big bucks splurged at the hands of Real Madrid, instead focussing on the rearing of academy players. The transfer embargo may also force the respective managers to focus on the tactical approaches of the two Madrid clubs as opposed to simply buying future success, at least for a year or so.
With an inconsistent record in the Champions League over the decade, there is the possibility that this embargo may in turn strengthen the chances of English clubs in the UEFA Champions League. With two of the usual European suspects weakened by the embargo, can an English club finally get their hands on the big prize after that serendipitous 2012 Chelsea win, which seems a lifetime ago?
The arrival of Pep Guardiola to the Premier League should greatly strengthen the overall attraction of the league, considering the pulling power which his fame and style of play will offer. His appointment is likely to greatly empower the fortunes of Manchester City both domestically and within Europe.
Overall, the greatest benefit of the transfer ban would be the reduced competition for the signing of top-level players. This will greatly benefit the chances of prestigious English clubs, with a complete Barcelona squad unlikely to make a move for the likes of Paul Pogba and the like. Domestic fans will look forward to the possibility of such big names grabbing the opportunity to play in the ever-wealthy Premier League.
So whilst Real and Atletico look set to miss out on improving their squads, the rest of the football world waits with great anticipation to see how the next few years of top-level football unfold.
Original image by Robert Barrow