Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

17.13 21 May 2020


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Martin O'Neill has predicted one big change to the football industry in response to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The former Republic of Ireland manager has been questioning the size of transfer fees in the current market and whether clubs will continue to trade players for such exorbitant amounts when football returns to normal.

Last month, some Premier League clubs were forced to row back on plans to avail of the UK government's furlough scheme which would some of the wage bill for non-playing members of staff subsidised by government funding.

O'Neill highlighted a glaring issue that could have come back to bite those clubs if they had taken that option.

"To begin with, some Premier League clubs were asking for government help," said O'Neill on beIN Sports.

"Some of the major clubs, in the end, found themselves embarrassed into not doing that, [to pay] members of staff.

"Wouldn't it be strange then finding out, if we do get a vaccine, that they spend 65 million pounds on a left-back. I think that would be kind of crazy."

The fees paid by Premier League clubs for new signings in recent times are regularly in the tens of millions.

Just last summer, for example, Arsenal spent £72m on Nicolas Pépé, Chelsea paid £40m for Mateo Kovačić, Youri Tielemans cost Leicester City £40m and Newcastle spent the same amount on Brazilian striker Joelinton.

The former Aston Villa and Sunderland manager believes that something will have to give once clubs start to assess the financial impact of the pandemic.

"The one thing that this virus has done, it has made us all think about a lot of things - made us think about life in general, sport in particular," added O'Neill.

"But the sort of transfer fees that were being bandied around and have been played out in the last number of seasons, they're just astronomical.

"You would never have believed that this was possible. Very average players going for 50 or 60 million pounds.

"I think there will be something [introduced] in terms of transfer fees which I think can only be good news for football."


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Joelinton Martin O'Neill Mateo Kovačić Nicolas Pepe Premier League Republic Of Ireland Youri Tielemans

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