Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs offload record transfer signings.. no wonder Europe talks of ‘stupid English money’

    AFTER Arsenal agreed to farm out Nicolas Pepe on loan to Nice, an extraordinary pattern of transfer activity was completed this summer.

    It meant that Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and the Gunners have all allowed their club-record signings — who cost a combined £313.5million — to depart without a single penny being recouped in transfer fees.


    Paul Pogba left Manchester United for nothing earlier this summer


    Paul Pogba left Manchester United for nothing earlier this summerCredit: GETTY
    Chelsea recently loaned out record signing Romelu Lukaku


    Chelsea recently loaned out record signing Romelu LukakuCredit: GETTY
    Arsenal have done the same with flop winger Nicolas Pepe


    Arsenal have done the same with flop winger Nicolas PepeCredit: GETTY

    There is little surprise that those four members of England’s ‘Big Six’ have been left trailing in the wake of Manchester City and Liverpool in recent seasons, with such haphazard and shambolic recruitment.

    And no wonder that clubs on the continent talk of ‘stupid English money’, knowing they can fleece filthy-rich Premier League sides in the market.

    First, United’s £89m man Paul Pogba was allowed to leave Old Trafford for Juventus on a free — for a second time — after a largely miserable six-year spell for the French World Cup winner.

    Then Chelsea sent £97.5m Romelu Lukaku back to Inter Milan, after a single season at Stamford Bridge, for a modest loan fee of £7m — so desperate was Thomas Tuchel to get the big Belgian striker out of the building.

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    Last week, Spurs loaned their most expensive recruit, Tanguy Ndombele — a £55m buy from Lyon in 2019 — to Napoli. There is an option, but no obligation, for the Italian club to buy the French midfielder next summer.

    And Pepe’s loan move to Nice completes the set.

    The Ivory Coast winger was a £72m purchase from Lille in 2019, even though Unai Emery insisted he wanted to buy Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace instead.

    Nice are paying only half of his £140,000-per-week wages and, again, there is no compulsion for a permanent move.


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    He made just five Premier League starts last term and it was clear that Mikel Arteta wanted rid of a player who was a relic of a previous regime.

    Arteta, unlike predecessor Emery, is in tune with the club’s hierarchy, including recruitment chief Edu, and his side boasts the top flight’s only 100 per cent record.

    Spurs can also argue that they are doing things differently — and more effectively — under Antonio Conte and his fellow Italian, football director Fabio Paratici.

    The deals for Richarlison, Yves Bissouma and Ivan Perisic were decisive and early, with boss Conte unusually content with life and Spurs currently unbeaten.

    Ndombele is a gifted player but, under four Spurs managers — Mauricio Pochettino, Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo and Conte — he has shown his talent only fleetingly.

    His final Spurs appearance, before he was loaned to Lyon last January, saw the Frenchman substituted — and loudly booed — with his side 1-0 down at home to Morecambe in the FA Cup.

    Across town at Chelsea, the expensive, scattergun approach continues under new owner Todd Boehly.

    This summer’s £62m deal for Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella, in particular, suggests the Blues are still willing to gamble big.

    United’s long-term status as transfer market mugs is well-documented — 31 different players were signed for £10m or more during Ed Woodward’s eight-year reign and not a single one has been a cast-iron hit.

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    The arrival of defensive midfielder Casemiro from Real Madrid is exactly what United need. Yet the Brazilian is 30, so a fee of up to £70m is staggering.

    No wonder they continue to talk of that ‘stupid English money’.



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