Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has bemoaned the financial chasm between the Manchester clubs and the rest of the Premier League.
Pep Guardiola spent a record £220m over the summer on the likes of Benjamin Mendy, Danilo, Kyle Walker, Bernardo Silva, Ederson and Douglas Luiz, while Jose Mourinho shelled out around £146m on Victor Lindelof, Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic.
Spurs, on the other hand, spent £93m in total on Serge Aurier, Fernando Llorente, Juan Foyth and Davison Sanchez – still almost double what Arsenal parted way with.
And Pochettino, speaking to beIN Sports, noted that competing with such financial muscle is a hard thing to do.
“The difference these days between clubs in the Premier League is that there are clubs, like City and United, who sign who they want and when they want,” he said.
“Then there are big teams, like us, who sign when we can and who we can. It’s the big difference today.”
As a manager charged with the responsibility of competing with the Manchester clubs, you can see why this would be frustrating. And yet arguing that you could be priced out of winning a Premier League title doesn’t really get you anywhere.
The financial sphere in football, like all capitalist juggernauts, can be viewed as a conspiracy of sorts – to set the bar higher and higher until, eventually, nobody can reach it – but one without conspirators. Even those at the very top, like Sheikh Mansour, have little control over these mechanisms of fiscal power anymore. Their job isn’t necessarily to drive it, but merely sustain it – to maintain a flowing circulation of capital.
This is the sad truth about institutions, and Pochettino can moan about it every week if he wants, but nothing, I guarantee, will change.