“The professional football economy is not going to collapse”

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Author the Mercato: the football economy in the 21st centurye century (Bréal, 2018), the economist Bastien Drut does not expect a revolution on the transfer market this summer, despite the impact of the health crisis on the football industry. He nevertheless believes that the current situation is rather unfavorable for French clubs.

Should we expect a deflationary transfer market due to the consequences of the health crisis on the various championships?

The market will be wiser than in previous years. The shortfall for this season is obvious, but above all, clubs do not necessarily know what to expect for the next few years. Will the matches continue to take place behind closed doors? In what state will the sponsors get out of the crisis? Will the contracts be renewed and under what conditions? Uncertainty about future income will encourage moderation and caution.

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In 2018, you assure that there was no “speculative bubble attached to the transfer window”, that the clubs made large transfers because they had the means to do so. Is this still the case ?

In my opinion, there is no “bubble”. I think that European clubs have been “serious” for the past ten years, expenses (salaries, transfer fees) have increased overall in line with revenues. There was no excess, and that is what will allow football to start again without too much damage.

Ligue 1 players have not been “exposed” since March, with the end of the season. Can this cause their value to drop?

Yes, very clearly. The Ligue 1 clubs do not have a window to sell their players, while almost all the other “sellers” championships have resumed. This necessarily complicates things.

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Can the current situation call into question the “trading” strategy of certain clubs?

Some clubs in Europe [Lille, Monaco ou encore le Sporting Portugal] have embarked fully on “trading” strategies in recent years, lured by the sharp rise in transfer fees (and not only for superstars). The fact that prices are going down may be a cold shower in the short term. But I do not think that we are moving towards a sharp and prolonged drop in transfer prices, because the professional football economy will not collapse and the big European clubs should continue to grow economically.

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