‘Financial brute force’, to put it as bluntly as it’s named, is the tendency had by sufficiently wealthy clubs to settle transfer negotiations by recklessly bidding lucrative fees in order to sign the players they want.
It’s something that’s been going on in the Premier League for ages. Clubs see a big name and conclude the only way to attain this player is with big money. After all - if you have such a sum of money at your disposal - why would you bother haggling a desired player’s price? It’s so much easier to prize a club’s grip on that player and fill the now-empty palm with a big wad of bills.
The appeal of this approach comes from its ability to simplify negotiations with the simple brandishing of a wallet. If a club slaps a hefty price tag on a player they deem surplus to requirements, potential buyers who can afford the designated price have the options of either: 1) outright meeting the required fee. 2) Having a longer, more tedious negotiation process which may well involve various futile attempts at compromises, only to maybe get that player on the terms they want. Or 3) pursuing a different target for a lesser fee.
If a club can afford to do so, the first option becomes far more appealing than the others. It guarantees simple, straightforward transfer business that gets you discussing personal terms with the player as soon as possible.
It doesn’t take much scrutiny to notice that this is becoming an increasingly popular transfer policy too. It seems that more and more Premier League teams - from top to bottom of the pecking order - are finding themselves in positions of wealth where they’re able to utilize financial brute force.
Watford were able to land Andre Gray from Burnley for the astounding fee of £18.5m, and Burnley themselves hurled £15m at Leeds and took Chris Wood amid the shower of notes. You wouldn’t say either of these buyers are particularly ‘big’ clubs at all, would you? Yet they’re able to throw around gargantuan fees on players with quality that doesn’t quite justify their price tags - simply because the sellers can name their price and wait for the buyers to buy. Simple. Straight to the point.
It’s not even particular to the Premier League anymore, either. Look at Reading - £7.5m for bloody Sone Aluko!
Because of financial brute force’s increasing popularity, it’s well on course to becoming the rule rather than an option. The desperation to get players over the line outweighs a need for tact when you’re well-off, so clubs will continue to peddle players for extortionate fees knowing full well that this is the case. A vast amount of money is seen as the only surefire way of gaining quality players.
And clearly this isn’t the only way to do business. Sunderland Association Football Club, for better or worse, is living proof of that.
It’s infuriatingly impressive that we’ve managed to buy ten players for a whopping total of £1.25m when teams around us can buy one player for quintuple that on a whim.
All things considered, we haven’t done that badly, have we? Aside from not buying a striker, we’ve done well given our budget. Aiden McGeady for 250k? Callum McManaman on a free? That’s good business.
We managed feats like these in our Premier League days, too. Jan Kirchhoff for three quarters of a million was worth every penny for the half season of quality and subsequent survival he contributed toward - and I don’t think swapping Jozy Altidore for Jermain Defoe needs any further explanation.
I’m not saying we should be happy with the fact that Bain and Short chucked Grayson a crumpled fiver and a freddo and called it a transfer budget, but it should be apparent that you don’t necessarily need to be rich to succeed.
At least, unlike a certain gaffer up the road, we don’t have a man in the hotseat who’s throwing a temper tantrum because he doesn’t have another £60m to play with. A well-connected, resourceful helmsman can steer his ship for far less than that - it’s been done before, it can be done again.
Money does makes life easier but it’s not the only life a football club can live. This, at the very least, should be a small comfort to us.