The Birth Of The Super League

All hail the new kings of club football?

Just in case there was anyone out there who doubted the spending power of the Premier League (PL), reports this week suggest that the league is expected to break it’s own summer transfer spending record of £870m which was set only last season. Total summer spending will possibly surpass the £1bn barrier and for the first time in a long time, a PL side was able to fend of other European giants for an in-demand player whose employers did not want to let him go.

The capture of Pobga represents a watershed moment in football history. It may have taken Manchester United breaking the transfer record fee to have the opportunity to unleash #POGBACK, their social media campaign welcoming their former academy player Paul Pogba unto the world. But in doing so, they have showcased the League’s ambition to be the best in the world. As mentioned, the PL leads the rest of the world when it comes to transfer spending. This spending is made possible by being the wealthiest football league in the world. With only the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) being the only professional sport teams that earn more, it should not come as any surprise that only the super-clubs outside of England can match wage offers from PL clubs.

Top players want to not only compete and test themselves against each other, but also want to play under the best managers. This season,fans will be tuning in not just for the players but for the managers as well. In a PL first, the top players will be sharing top billing with the managers as they represent the most impressive collection of managerial talent assembled to compete club football. From a purely entertainment point of view, this season has the potential to go down as the one of the more competitive and exciting seasons since the Premier League’s inception in 1992. The top footballing talent to be found among both the players and the coaches, coupled with competitiveness of the league and the ability of clubs to afford players and other club transfer demands all come together to create the perfect conditions for the PL to become a super league, and possibly the best league in the world.

It would be verging on stupidity to dismiss clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus who along with PL clubs are among the most valuable football clubs in the world. The aforementioned list is by no means an exhaustive list of football clubs that could beat a PL club to a transfer target. That said, the chances of that happening will be increasingly more difficult in the future. One key area the English sides have done comparatively worse compared to their European rivals is their poor European showing. Until managers are able to to not just mount a successful European run but end the season as Champions, there will still be challenges to any claim made that the PL is the best in the world — and rightfully so.

One lingering question remains though, in an era where transfer prices are generally agreed to be inflated and only clubs willing to meet the selling price are likely to walk away from negotiations with their man, should this much significance be placed on United signing Pogba? I am leaning towards a yes. Players will continue to sign for clubs where they feel they will be adored or wanted to play for as kids — sometimes a huge wage offer and sign-on bonus fee will not change that. But for those talented footballers whose only goal is to play with and against the best, the PL presents the ideal proving ground and opportunity to do so. When the next superstar player becomes available for transfer, the PL will be strongly considered as a potential destination, unlike the last two decades when it was only touted as an option because of a few clubs and the wages they were prepared to offer.

This ascension into stratospheric heights as football’s first super-league and the best on the world, is by no means guaranteed. Success in Europe is paramount and the PL clubs would have to keep a hold of their world-class managers and players as well as simultaneously look to improve on their squads and coaching staff by competing with the rest of the world for the top talents available. But who knows, in about a decade when the Premier League is far and ahead, the most dominant league in Europe and a Mecca for football talent, we will look back to #PogBack as the moment when the League begun the process of being the best in the world.