Thursday, September 17, 2015

Premier League: Is the loan system being abused by clubs?

League spend during the summer transfer window, another statistic caught the eye from a club that was relatively prudent.
Chelsea's net outlay amounted to £38m - the fourth-highest in the Premier League - but Nathaniel Chalobah's move to Napoli took the number of Blues players out on loan to 33.
The club are not breaking any rules, and it is a pattern repeated across Europe, with Juventus reportedly owning an additional 58 players  not in their first-team squad.
Chelsea's tally could rise even further with the emergency loan window - which opens on Wednesday - giving Football League clubs the chance to sign players for between 28 and 93 days.
Clubs can only register a squad of 25 players for the Premier League - and some have been accused of "abusing"  the system by stockpiling talent to the detriment of rivals and the players themselves.
So why does a club recruit players in this way and what are the consequences?

What's the motive?

Clubs might not like this analogy, but it can help to think of players in terms of property belonging to a landlord.
If you can afford to own 58 players rather than 25 and no-one is stopping you farming them out, it might make financial sense to do so, especially as big clubs aim to comply with Uefa's Financial Fair Play rules which cap spending in relation to income.
The hope is such players will improve and eventually reach the first team, as Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois did. He was bought for £5m from Genk in 2011, sent on loan to Atletico Madrid for three seasons, and broke into the Chelsea side last season.
Even if they don't, the club may hope that a player's value will increase as he matures. Chelsea sent Romelu Lukaku on loan to West Brom and Everton before making a £10m profit on him when he was sold to the Toffees in 2014.
Best of all for the club bean-counters is the fact the loan club will usually pick up the tab for the player's wages.
"We don't send players out because we are trying to recover money, we send them because we want them to play and develop," Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo has said. 
"We felt it is better for players at 18-21 to go on loan somewhere where they get visibility and good competition."
Former Tottenham and Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli also believes clubs have players' best interests at heart, giving them the opportunity to play at a higher level than the current under-21 league, which has drawn criticism for its lack of competitiveness.
Comolli told BBC Sport: "I think Chelsea act in good faith, that they are concerned with the progress of young players. The number of players on loan is amazing, but for me there is no foul play."

Is the system fair?

Chelsea are not the only club to loan players out in this manner, but with great wealth at their disposal, they are certainly more efficient than other Premier League clubs.
Manchester City enjoy similar financial backing to the west London team, yet despite spending a record £160m in this window, they have 14 players on loan, including two who have agreed permanent deals for next season.
Liverpool have 15 players on loan, while Arsenal weigh in with 12, having extended Carl Jenkinson's contract before loaning him back to West Ham for another season. Manchester United only have six players being paid elsewhere this season.

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