As the summer transfer window has been closed for nearly four months already now, it is important to reflect on the transfers that took place and the impact this may have on leagues and teams. While there are more articles on the biggest transfers for the top teams in the world than pints being served at 2 pm on matchday it is easy to gloss over the business done by smaller teams; crucially the Championship.
This summer transfer window has seen more money spent by Championship teams than in any other, with some phenomenal sums being spent on individual players by the likes of Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers to name a few. Arguably the most shocking transfer of the window was John Terry’s move to Villa which would have been deemed laughable a few years ago. So, what changed? We are witnessing what can only be described as a ‘Trickle Down’ effect, meaning that recognized Premier League players have started to move to the Championship in search of pastures new.
While Terry, like many others who have made the move to the Championship, may be deemed ‘past their best’ there are still more players than ever making the drop to the second tier of English football who are far from nearing the end of their careers (Dwight Gayle, Darren Bent, Steven Fletcher to name a few). So why is this happening?
As Premier League clubs make more money each year from lucrative television and sponsorship deals they are able to spend big and sign top quality players from around the world. The likes of Everton spending over £100 million is a testament to this as it wasn’t too long ago that David Moyes was being credited for doing a great job with the Toffees with little financial backing. This is true of all Premier League teams now. They all have far more money to spend than ever before. This type of spending and ‘big-name signing’ has meant that Premier League teams no longer have space for what can be deemed as staple Premier League players and therefore actively aim to sell them on. Hence, Championship teams have been able to buy players that they would not normally have had a hope of signing. So what does this mean for the English Second Tier?
The Championship has become an incredibly competitive league due to the quality of players that these teams are able to purchase off Premier League teams. This ‘Trickle Down’ effect means that it certainly stands alone as the most exciting second tier in global football, one far removed from the likes of Serie B or Ligue 2. This has also made Championship teams become more attractive business propositions as many overseas buyers looking to invest in them as a legitimate and cheaper way to access the Premier League rather than forking out hundreds of millions for established Premier League clubs. Furthermore, this increase in the depth of Championship purses due to club takeovers has meant that Championship teams can also invest in quality players from abroad too. Take the signings of Neves and Braithwaite for example. This has also strengthened newly-promoted Championship teams’ chances of staying in the Premier League (Huddersfield anyone?).
In conclusion, this ‘Trickle Down’ effect has led to Championship teams signing Premier League players that in turn has lead to more interest from overseas buyers in buying Championship clubs while also facilitating their ability to spend more than they ever have done before, giving each team a legitimate chance of gaining promotion to the Premier League, and for some, staying in it.
Only time will tell if this ‘Trickle Down’ effect will have an impact on Leagues 1 and 2, though it does seem extremely likely. As for now, we can only sit and appreciate the positive impacts this has had on the Championship, truly making it an exciting league and frankly the best second division in the world.