Chelsea today announced the signing of Barcelona forward Pedro for £21 million, beating rivals Manchester United to his signature, but it highlights the fall in the Premier League’s pulling power.
There is no doubting the quality of the man who boasts three Champions League medals, five La Ligas, one World Cup and a European Championship among others in his collection, but he has only come available once deemed surplus to requirements at Barcelona following the arrivals of Neymar and Luis Suarez in recent years.
One of Jose Mourinho’s big money additions last summer Cesc Fabregas arrived in England under similar circumstances, leaving Catalonia after only winning one La Liga and one Spanish Cup domestically back home as well as Ivan Rakitic pushing him out the eleven.
Not only that, but back in 2011 he departed the club that gave him his professional debut, Arsenal, as soon as boyhood team Barcelona came calling again.
Arsenal’s big money moves from recent seasons, Mesut Ozil (£42.4 million) and Alexis Sanchez (£35 million) were too both castaways from La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
The Gunners are currently too in the hunt for Madrid’s Karim Benzema, a talented striker, but one that scored just 15 goals last term, 33 behind leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.
Even giants Manchester United are losing the ability to attract the biggest talents on the planet. Angel di Maria joined from Madrid this time last year for a British record fee of £59.7 million after he found himself out of favour due to political reasons of not being as globally marketable as James Rodriguez who shone at the 2014 World Cup prior to joining the Spanish capital.
Di Maria flopped at Old Trafford and promptly signed for PSG, the club he reportedly wanted to be at instead of Manchester United, earlier this month.
Louis van Gaal’s side added Bastian Schweinsteiger to their ranks during pre-season, but his ex-manager Pep Guardiola has said the German is past his best so was evidently happy to sell the one time World Cup winner.
Fellow Bayern Munich man Thomas Muller is also being targeted, but the chances of signing Bavaria’s favourite son will be slim, with a £60 million bid already rumoured to have been rejected.
Attempts to sign Sergio Ramos too were rebuffed, while first choice goalkeeper David De Gea is also likely to leave if Real Madrid show the desire to sign him.
The Premier League may well be the most watched and most competitive league in the world, but when it comes to the transfer market, the world’s elite would rather stay at home.