With the group stages of the UEFA Champions League having come to a thrilling end last week, an interesting dimension has been added to the upcoming January transfer window.
A number of Europe's top clubs like Manchester City, Manchester United, Valencia, Lille, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund have all bitten the dust. Along with the pile of cash they stand to lose, each of them has some major decisions to make. There are trophies to be won, next year's European competitions to be qualified for and players to be bought and sold.
But with the existing financial landscape in European football being the driving factor that it undoubtedly is, each of these eliminated clubs will view the remainder of the season with a different perspective.
United and City will obviously focus on lifting every possible piece of domestic silverware, and in spite of their public utterances, will definitely not prioritize the Europa League. They will also be on the lookout for new players in this transfer window; especially United, who are in the midst of a massive injury crisis.
Somewhat smaller clubs like Lille, Valencia and Ajax will have an equal focus on their local competitions, but will also have an eye on the pot of gold that the Europa League can bring. But more than anything else, they will want to ensure that they qualify for next season's Champions League.
On the other hand, the financial situation at these smaller clubs might tempt them to enter the transfer market and offload some of their brightest stars. Especially if someone is willing to pay over the odds.
So what does this mean for Premier League clubs?
Four simple words: Have money, will buy.
Moneybags City and Chelsea will always want to sign players, and more importantly, the desire will be matched by ability. United, as mentioned earlier, need players and will always be an attractive destination.
Tottenham consider themselves upwardly mobile, and Harry Redknapp is always on the lookout for a bargain. However, his purse strings show no signs of being loosened by Daniel Levy, and he will remain a bargain-hunter.
Liverpool are not in the Champions League, and are by no means certain to be there next year. The Club's history is definitely an attraction, but for the top players, titles and money are the real drawing cards.
Arsenal are in an interesting position. Their momentum is certainly upward. They are very much in the Champions League. They need one or two players. And they always say they have the money. Could Arsene Wenger do the unthinkable and splash the cash?
Read on for a club-by-club guide to the players who may be on the market as a result of their clubs' Champions League elimination. There are, as expected, no tangible rumors on Otelul Galati, Trabzonspor, Viktoria Plzen and BATE Borisov. Who??
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