Premier League chief executive Richard Masters will reserve judgement on Chelsea’s spending until seeing what they do in subsequent transfer windows.
After a busy first window following the May 2022 takeover by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, Chelsea went even further in January, signing eight players for an approximate total of £300million, including a Premier League record £106.8m on Enzo Fernandez from Benfica.
Speaking at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit, Masters was asked about the Blues’ spending, and was not in the mood to pass judgement.
“I’m not here to defend [them],” he said. “The new owners have owned the club for less than a year, they’ve had two transfer windows, and you need to judge the football club after three or four years.
“They might have bought, they would argue probably… a different transfer policy to the previous regime, buying younger players and [signing them to] longer contracts at low wages. And obviously, within our rules, it’s a test that is over a 12-month period.
“So the question is whether they’re going to sell some of their existing players in the next window. And I don’t know the answer to that question. I’m not here to defend them, but you have to judge these things over a period of time.”
Masters also spoke about the UK government’s recent white paper on reforming football governance, outlining a plan to introduce an independent regulator for clubs in the English football pyramid.
“It is a significant moment for English football, things are going to change,” Masters said. “The review process has concluded, the white paper is finally out and we’re all getting the opportunity to reflect upon it.
“I think from the Premier League’s perspective, we’ve always accepted that there needs to be stronger regulations, more independently enforced, and the white paper offers to deliver that… we would like to protect everything that’s great about English football, including the Premier League, but sit on the top and make sure that the system doesn’t run too hot.
“It’s dealing with football [through] sustainability, ownership, and fan interests. And who can argue with those three objectives?
“Our concerns would be clear; it’s an independent regulator with a lowercase i, it reports to politicians, and can be instructed by politicians. And so we would be worried that over time, football might become the ultimate political football.
“… I think the league should continue to write its own rules and continue to govern itself, and the regulator hopefully will only step in as and when necessary, when regulation is seen not to be performing, or the clubs are financially overheating to the point where the regulator needs to step in.”
Masters was also asked about recent comments from Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira on the lack of black coaches in the Premier League.
“There’s always more that we can do… Patrick is right,” Masters said. “If you look at the diversity on the pitch, and it’s not just in the Premier League, it’s throughout the academy system, it is incredibly diverse, but that isn’t translating into opportunities for people from ethnic backgrounds, not just in coaching but in other employment pathways as well.
“We have a number of schemes in place at the moment. Player-to-coach pathways, player-to-executive pathways. We launched this last year. We have seven ex-Premier League players and WSL players who are participating in that.
“So Patrick is accurate to say there’s an issue and to raise the point and to put pressure on football authorities to do more, and we’ll always look at that.”
Jordan Ayew equals John Paintsil’s Ghana record
After earning his 91st appearance against the Central African Republic in the final round of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers, Jordan Ayew hit a significant milestone in his Ghanaian career.
The 31-year-old gained further honors when he assumed leadership of the team in the absence of his brother Andre Ayew. He entered Ghana’s encounter with his head held high after winning the Crystal Palace Player of the Month award for August.
Mohammed Kudus’ outstanding free-kick goal and Ernest Nuamah’s late goal for the Black Stars—who was making only his second appearance—in the 88th minute helped Ghana, led by Jordan Ayew, come from behind to defeat their opponents 2-1.
In terms of Ghanaian internationals with the most outings, Jordan Ayew is now tied for fourth place with Andre Ayew (114), Asamoah Gyan (109), and Richard Kingson (93).
The former Olympique Marseille player declared after the game that he was prepared to raise his total with other contests.
He added, “I still have games left to play.”
Ayew, who has played for the squad consistently since his debut in 2010, has scored 19 goals and is expected to play a bigger role in Ghana’s upcoming games, including those in the 2026 World Cup qualifications and the 2023 AFCON competition, which will take place in Ivory Coast next year.
Neymar claims Saudi league could top Ligue 1 already
According to Brazilian captain Neymar, the football league in Saudi Arabia may already be more competitive than Ligue 1 in France.
The 31-year-old attacker left Paris Saint-Germain in August for approximately £77.5 million with add-ons for the Saudi Pro League.
In a transfer window that saw Saudi teams spend more than £700 million on foreign players, Neymar signed with Al-Hilal.
I wouldn’t be astonished if the Saudi league is superior to the French, he remarked, given the names that were sent to Saudi Arabia.
According to data from the football governing organization Fifa, Saudi clubs’ spending on foreign agreements this summer was second only to the Premier League, whose teams spent just under £1.6bn on foreign transactions.
Although Al-Ittihad was unable to lure Mohamed Salah away from Liverpool, other Premier League players, including Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino, and Fabinho, moved to Saudi Arabia.
Karim Benzema of Real Madrid, Georginio Wijnaldum of PSG, and Sadio Mane of Bayern Munich were also courted by Saudi clubs.
Marcelo Brozovic, the captain of Inter Milan in the Champions League final, Franck Kessie of Barcelona, Jota of Celtic, and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic of Lazio are among more players who have made the move to the Saudi Pro League.
A brand-new transfer world record might have also occurred. After making a £259 million offer, PSG allowed Al-Hilal to speak with Kylian Mbappe. However, the forward chose to stay with the French champions, and Neymar was instead sold.
Although Neymar’s tenure in Paris was limited by ankle ailments after transferring from Barcelona for a record sum of £200 million in 2017, he assisted PSG in winning five Ligue 1 championships.
While representing Brazil internationally, Neymar said: “I can promise you that Saudi Arabian football is the same. We have goalposts, and the ball is spherical.
“There is no mystery. There, we practice hard because we still have a strong desire to win.
“I want Al-Hilal to win championships. Not much has changed.
Saudi Pro League, according to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, poses a greater threat than not.
The Saudi deadline, which ended over a week after the top leagues in Europe, drew criticism from a number of Premier League managers.
Jurgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool, stated last week that the Saudi Pro League felt more dangerous than not. According to Klopp, it’s important to “protect the game and ensure that European leagues remain as strong as they are.”
Henderson, a staunch ally of the LGBTQ+ community, claimed that criticism of his transfer had “really hurt” him.
Given that same-sex sexual conduct is prohibited in Saudi Arabia, some LGBTQ+ activists have questioned his decision.
Richard Ofori and Jordan Ayew train with the Black Stars in Kumasi
Prior to their upcoming encounter against Central African Republic (CAR), Black Stars teammates Richard Ofori and Jordan Ayew arrived in Kumasi in time for their team’s first training session.
After landing in Kumasi, the team held their first practice at the Baba Yara Stadium with 24 players present (Joseph Paintsil was not there).
when previously reported by DEK360ghana, the squad held its first practice on Monday in Accra with only approximately 12 players present. However, most of the players eventually joined when they traveled from the capital to Kumasi.
While his teammates continue to train in Kumasi in preparation for the crucial encounter, Paintsil is the only unfit player who is considered present in Accra.
However, because the event was intended to be private, access to the Baba Yara Stadium was refused to both media and spectators.
As the pivotal game in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier approaches, the team is slated to hold another practice that will likely be accessible to the media.
Ghana must either win or draw to qualify for the tournament, which will be hosted by Ivory Coast’s neighbors the following year, while CAR must win in order to advance.
The game kicks off on Thursday at the Baba Yara Stadium at 16:00GMT