How high will the price of top English players get? The prices seem to be highly inflated and no end seems in sight. Every transfer window the prices go up and up for English prospects. It is not even for the top players, but it seems to be any player born in England or the British Isles. It made the headlines with Andy Carroll when he transferred from Newcastle to Liverpool for €41 million. This was he biggest price ever paid for an English player. Even after flopping at Liverpool, he still cost West Ham €17.5million. He would score 7 goals in 24 appearances on loan at West Ham and only scored 6 goals in 44 appearances for Liverpool. He is not the only inflated price though. Shaun Wright Phillips transferred from Manchester City to Chelsea for a whopping €31.5 million in 2005. He only lasted at Chelsea for 2 years before returning to City for a much smaller price (€11.25 million). While there are many flops, there are also some that have not been disastrous but still make you question the money spent. Joleon Lescott (€27.5 Million), James Milner (€22 Million), Stewart Downing (€22.8 Million), Jordan Henderson (€18 Million), Darren Bent (€24.75Million & €21.5 Million), and Glen Johnson (€20.5 Million) all had large transfer fees mainly because they are English. Even looking at the summer transfer window, we saw Luke Shaw move for €37 million and Adam Lallana move for €31 million. In the Luke Shaw scenario, he moved to Manchester United for €37 million while Alberto Moreno moved from Sevilla to Liverpool for €18 million. Moreno is 22 years old and has won the Europa League and played in the Champions League. Luke Shaw is 19 years old and has only played for Southampton and never in Europe. Moreno is currently valued at €15 million where as Luke Shaw is valued at €22 million. Last season before his transfer, Luke Shaw was valued at €13 million before his big money move. Moreno was valued at €15 million before his move to Liverpool. Are the English players worth the extra €20 million? It seems to be continuing as James McCarthy is rumored to transfer to Everton for €32 million, but his value on TransferMarkt.com (the source for all of these numbers) is €13 million. How much inflation will there be? Can it continue to rise? We will have to see but it just makes you wonder.
Roma continue to slide back as they drew 1-1 this past weekend at Palermo. The draw, coupled with Juventus winning 4-0 on Sunday, puts Roma now 5 points behind the leaders. This is the biggest the lead has been in a while. Juventus might be putting some distance between them, and Roma and will look to keep widening the gap. Napoli came away from Rome with a huge 1-0 win over Lazio. Napoli got the winner in the 18th minute. This sends them into the all important 3rd and final Champions League spot. This should be a good race to watch over the next couple months as Lazio, Napoli, and Sampdoria fight for the final spot.
In France, the top two both won this weekend. Lyon stayed atop the table with a 2-0 win at Lens. Marseille won 2-1 at Guingamp. St. Etienne couldn’t keep pace as they drew 0-0 at Rennes. PSG beat Evian 4-2. Their victory sent PSG into 3rd place in the league. They now sit 4 points behind the leaders Lyon and 3 behind Marseille. St. Etienne are 1 point behind PSG. Will PSG be able to hold off St. Etienne for the 3rd and final Champions League spot? Will PSG mount a comeback to win their third title in 3 years? Will Marseille win their 10th? Will Lyon win their 8th?
In Spain, all of the big teams stayed right where they are as they all came away with clean sheet victories. Real Madrid won at Getafe 3-0 behind 2 goals from Ronaldo. Barcelona won 4-0 behind 3 goals from Messi. Atletico Madrid won 2-0 behind a great team effort. Sevilla continued their climb up the table with a 2-0 win over Malaga. The race for fourth place in Spain seems to be heating up as Sevilla and Valencia are separated by just 1 point. Sevilla is also closing the gap on the top 3 as they sit just 2 points behind Atleti. Can Real win their game in hand? Is Barcelona still in crisis? Can Sevilla catch Atletico? Who will come in 4th? Who will win the league?
In England, Chelsea extended their lead in a 5 star, and 5 goal, performances as they beat Swansea 5-0. United need a formation change and a big Belgian to beat QPR 2-0 as Fellaini came on and scored the opener in the 58th minute. James Wilson added the second 4 minutes into stoppage time. Arsenal made the biggest statement of the weekend with their 2-0 victory over Manchester City. This helped given Chelsea a 5 point lead at the top and kept Arsenal 1 point behind United for 4th. Is this Chelsea’s title to lose? Can City right the ship? Can Southampton stay in the top 4? Can United stay in the top 4? Will Arsene Wenger last the year?
This week we have some cup action in Italy, England and Spain. The Coppa Italia resumes this week with their Round of 16. Half the field is set, but 4 more games remain. Roma will host Empoli on Tuesday. Fiorentina v Atalanta and Inter v Sampdoria are on Wednesday. Lastly, Napoli v Udinese is on Thursday. Four of these teams will join Milan, Lazio, Juventus, and Parma in the Quarterfinals. The League Cup Semi-finals first legs take place this week. The first one is Liverpool hosting Chelsea while Tottenham host Sheffield United. This will be a big game for Liverpool and Spurs. Spurs will look to secure a place in the final and Liverpool will hope to have a lead to hold onto at the Bridge in a week’s time. In Spain, the Quarter finals of the Copa del Rey will take place. The first legs of these two legged ties will happen on Wednesday and Thursday. The marquee matchup will be Barcelona hosting Atletico Madrid this week. Getafe travel to Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao to Malaga, and Sevilla to Espanyol. It will be interesting to see which four make it out with only one of the top 3 to be left after this round.