Football’s deadline day for player transfers "struggled to replicate the frenzied activity of previous years," but English clubs "continued to dominate the market," with January deals set to surpass the £120M spent last winter, according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. On Friday, Chelsea Owner Roman Abramovich ensured Chelsea "made full use of the month-long transfer window" by paying around £12M ($20M) for 19-year-old Kurt Zouma from St. Etienne -- and then "immediately loaning him back to the French club for the rest of the season." Abramovich has already spent £34M ($55M) last month on winger Mohamed Salah. Football agent Jon Smith said, "The clubs are having to be cautious because financial fair play is round the corner." Chelsea believes that "it has complied with the first monitoring period of financial fair play," despite reporting a £49.4M loss last season. However, Premier League clubs "are reaping the benefit of the first season of new record-breaking broadcasting deals, which is enabling them to make the running in European transfer spending" (FT, 1/31). The SCOTSMAN reported France’s top clubs "were the second heaviest spenders in Europe in January," according to Deloitte, although their total outlay was only around 40% of the EPL. Italy spent 30% and Germany 20% of the Premier League total, while the spending of top-flight teams in Spain -- a country still gripped by the economic recession -- "was exceeded by the emerging markets of Russia and Turkey" (SCOTSMAN, 2/2). GOAL reported of the £130M ($212M) spent by Premier League clubs this January, £65M ($106M) (50%) went to foreign clubs, with £55M ($90M) (42%) being spent on players from fellow top-flight sides and £10M ($16M) (8%) going to Football League teams (GOAL, 2/1).
Spanish Superior Sports Council (CSD) President Miguel Cardenal said on Monday that the combined debt for La Liga and the Spanish second division has been reduced by €150M ($203M) over the last two years, according to EL CONFIDENCIAL. Cardenal "also emphasized that the Spanish third division is also showing positive signs in this regard, but did not offer any figures." Clubs "are spending less." Cardenal said that "clubs had made a 15% decrease to what they are spending on their rosters." On the "other hand, Real Madrid and Barcelona have increased roster spending, but not Atlético" (EL CONFIDENCIAL, 2/3).
Retired Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas’s predicament "is common to many elite athletes," according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. When they retire or approach retirement, "it can be a struggle to identify a second career that will give them the opportunity to excel again." In the U.K., however, "there are signs that this difficult transition for sporting heroes is becoming smoother." Some employers are targeting professional sportspeople "in the belief that the attributes that won success on the pitch or track exactly match the skills they seek in the jobs market." Citigroup is one. The financial services company used boutique recruitment agency Add-Victor, founded by ex-England rugby player Steve White-Cooper, to "identify sporting and military candidates." After looking at 40 individuals, "it has offered five sportspeople full-time positions after an internship." The attributes of the Citi interns that excited Global Head of Markets Paco Ybarra were “an excellent work ethic, the ability to perform as part of a team and being able to make good decisions under pressure.” The U.K. arm of insurance broker Aon "is also hiring ex-athletes." Athlete Career Transition (ACT) "is another boutique recruitment outfit acting as a bridge." Founded by ex-Wales rugby internationals and brothers Andy and Steve Moore, it "draws up psychometric profiles of sportspeople in the autumn of their playing careers and seeks to match them with companies." Former England rugby player Simon Halliday said that business success after sport "depends in great part on the individual." After retiring, he "worked in the City and held a senior role at Lehman Brothers at the time of its 2008 collapse; he wrote a recently published book, City Centre, about his dual careers." Halliday: “It’s a question of the sportspeople involved -- they have to want to buy into this” (FT, 2/3).