It’s been three years since Manchester United last won the Premier League title. It’s been two for Manchester City. Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are the new managers of the city rivals, and per tradition from their previous working places, are getting plenty of money to spend in order to end these short droughts.
By completing (finally!!!) the signing of Paul Pogba for a record breaking £89 million, Mourinho becomes the first manager to oversee the signing of players for a sum that goes over €1 billion. Mourinho obviously doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with that, and maybe he’s right. He spent last week deflecting criticism from Arsene Wenger and Jurgen Klopp about the money and sums being thrown around. For Mourinho, it’s always about where he is, and not his actual opinion. Not that United have ever been shy about spending big, but it seems that the last three years have seen the dam being shattered, nothing holding back the club from showing its financial strength.
Last season felt like City hitting a rut, with a squad that became a bit too old, too slow, and not hungry or good enough. Guardiola arriving to work on the sidelines is only half the job. So far, they’ve signed players for a total of £151.7 million, as John Stone of Everton accounted for almost a third of it. Mourinho and United have bought players for £143 million, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived for free. Unless Mourinho is BS’ing everyone, which wouldn’t be surprising, the Red Devils are done adding players to next season. However, unlike Man City, they weren’t under pressure to add new signings before the Champions League registration deadline.
On a more macro kind of note, the Premier League is slowly becoming a version of the NFL. It’s dependant on money from outside sources (TV rights abroad), but it seems to be operating in a bubble. The more money comes in, the further the top English clubs seem to be from the rest of European football. The list of managers working in England is probably the most impressive in Europe, but if Guardiola and Mourinho’s spending sprees don’t elevate their clubs back to around the top (in United’s case) or sustain (in City’s case) something they finally managed to do last season, it suggests that there’s a deeper problem in the Premier League and English football when compared to the rest of Europe’s elite.