The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has hit the world of football this year in more ways than one, reflected not only in the halt of European leagues to curb the virus’ spread, before they resumed behind closed doors.
The pandemic has also put a damper on the normally ebullient and high profile summer transfer market, which this year has taken a hit due to the economic crisis.
European football clubs have found themselves facing financial difficulties in the current period, due to the significant reduction in ticket sales and other income sources. This has the potential of leading to the end of the price bubble that has formed around many players in recent years.
The summer transfer market period normally sees prominent stars move, or have their names appear on the most wanted lists of the world’s major football teams and clubs.
Argentine star and key Barcelona forward, Lionel Messi, has yet to find any team with the ability to pay the penalty clause of €700m for his release from the Spanish side. This season has not been the easiest for Messi, following his announcement of his desire to leave the Catalan team, and his not completing the season’s remainder.
Barcelona has also not entered into a competition or sparring match, as is usual in every transfer period, for the inclusion of the Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) forward Neymar.
The Brazilian player moved to Paris team in the 2017 season for a fantastic value exceeding €222m, and there was some talk of his transferring to Barcelona. PSG also haven’t let go of one of their star players, the Frenchman Kylian Mbappé, on whom there had been talk of interest from Real Madrid.
The current summer transfer market did not see the same record-breaking deals as we have been used to in recent years. Most of the big clubs worldwide have suffered great losses due to the recent suspension of activity due to the coronavirus outbreak. These losses have been further hit by the halt in international competitions, which are normally a big money earner for teams.
Additionally, prominent stars who were the talk of the town in every transfer period have left the race in the current summer transfer window. These include including Paul Pogba, Levandowski, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Neymar, because their prices will not be able to be paid by clubs.
Mbappé remains the most prominent target for clubs and one of the most desired stars in the current period, particularly following his informing the PSG management of his desire to leave.
The Frenchman’s desire to move on saw Real Madrid, under the leadership of fellow Frenchman Zinedine Zidane, make one final attempt to win the services of the dangerous winger in the hope of closing the deal before closing the registration door.
The only major deals that did take place this summer include: the 21-year-old German, Kai Havertz, who joined Chelsea from Bayer Leverkusen for €80m; the 23-year-old Brazilian Arthur Melo, who joined Juventus from Barcelona for €72m; Nigeria’s Victor Osimin, 21, who joined Napoli from Lille for €70m; the 24-year-old German, Timo Werner, who joined Chelsea from Leipzig for €53m; and the 21-year-old Moroccan star, Ashraf Hakimi, who joined Real Madrid from Inter Milan for €40m.