Managerial merry-go-round means transfers can begin

Posted by Mark Payne

Robert Lewandowski is left to contemplate Dortmund's Champions League loss to BayernPA PhotosRobert Lewandowski: Wants to jump ship after making his name at BVB.

If this week has had a theme, it has been managerial unveilings. Pep Guardiola wooed the German crowds in "the biggest press conference in the club's history" on Tuesday. And the very next day, Carlo Ancelotti was confirmed as Real Madrid's incumbent, shortly before Laurent Blanc appeared in the manager's chair at PSG.

The knock on effect of this is that transfers will now start to get finalised. Three of European football's biggest cheque-books have new men holding the pens. And that is not to mention messrs Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho, recently installed at Manchester City and Chelsea respectively. There will certainly be a shift in the workforce over the coming month or two.

Chelsea and Manchester City comfortably lead the transfer league table over the past few years in England. City's net spend is £390 million and Chelsea's is nearly £230 million. The team in third place is Stoke, with a measly £80 million net spend on players since 2008.

Mourinho has been here before, he knows how to spend other people's money with the best of them. Pellegrini's fiscal experience is very different and he had to be thrifty to survive at Malaga. It is widely accepted that the problems at City are not to do with the quality of the personnel, more the atmosphere of the camp. Nonetheless, it would be a great surprise if either club didn't make a couple of big signings.

Ancelotti will need to have a look at Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain before he decides whether or not he is going to Arsenal. In many ways, that transfer could kick start a merry-go-round of strikers in Europe. Real will look to outdo Barca and Bayern will wish to consolidate their position at Europe's summit.

Manchester United's net spend in the past five years is only £57 million. That is less than QPR, Aston Villa, Liverpool and Stoke City. Even more remarkably, whilst at Everton, new United manager David Moyes spent less than 16 other teams over the same five year period. Despite these figures, the word is that United are willing to spend big this summer.

The champions continue to be linked with both Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo and both would command astronomical fees. The club can afford it though, and even if those targets cannot be acquired, someone of the level of Robert Lewandowski could certainly show up.

Wayne Rooney's future can't hang in the balance all summer, too many people could potentially die of boredom. The latest rumour linking him with Barcelona sounds difficult to believe though. If he were to arrive at Chelsea or PSG, United can be relied on to respond with a big move for one of the front-men mentioned above.

Laurent Blanc's arrival at PSG should be observed closely. Whether or not this means that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be agitating for a move remains to be seen. The idea that he might rejoin Ancelotti at Madrid to tackle Barcelona again is a delicious one. The Swede is not always the easiest player to please, and he will be aware that Blanc was PSG's third or fourth choice. The Frenchman will need to impress his squad quickly.

Guardiola diplomatically preached about allowing his players to express themselves and avoided all questions of transfer talk. It seems unlikely that the summer will pass without at least one big name making its way to Munich. They already have Mario Goetze, but Pep will surely want at least one player to prove that he isn't merely going through the motions with Jupp Heynkes' squad.

Most managers will hit the office full time on July 1, but expect mobile phones to ring in the meantime. With the managerial merry-go-round everyone expected all but over, the real business can now begin. Finding the players to fit their systems to help them challenge for trophies. Let the games begin.

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