Burnley boss Sean Dyche on the potential transfer market 'crash', a reset on players' wages and the club's prudent financial management

Sean DycheSean Dyche
Sean Dyche | jpimedia
Sean Dyche is curious as to how the Premier League transfer market will be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, if at all.

Analysts have suggested that around £1.8bn will be lost in terms of the value of players in the top flight.

And that figure is more than the £1.6bn owed in transfer fees by Premier League clubs, according to figures compiled by Kieran Maguire, a football finance lecturer at the University of Liverpool.

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Dyche expects the elite clubs to cope with a potential collapse in the market, and said: "It depends how quickly this turns around, and if the season can be completed, that makes a big difference to it as well.

"You've still got multi-billionaire owners of football clubs who, of course, will be affected probably through their businesses as well.

"But if you're talking multi-billions, it's highly unlikely they lose all of their wealth, so there will still be really wealthy owners out there.

"It could cause a difference in the market, we don't know what that is yet - a difference in many different markets, not just football.

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"I honestly don't know which way that will swing, that will be a test of time."

There has been much talk as to whether the pandemic will be a turning point in terms of the runaway finances in football, in transfer fees and players' wages.

But Dyche points to the big sports in America, the NBA, NFL and MLB, whose stars' pay packets dwarf Premier League footballers.

The only footballers in the Forbes magazine list of the highest-paid athletes in the world as of 2019 were Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar, and Dyche noted: "People use this word 'daft' about footballers' wages, but they are only talking about a very small percentage of the actual Premier League.

"They're not talking about every single player.

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"A lot of figures get thrown around like the average wage in the Premier League, which I think is around £70,000 a week, and some are earning ludicrous numbers in people's minds, but not in a professional, world-wide sport.

"Some of these figures in football bring in astronomical numbers on the sales side, through shirts and things like that, or worldwide sponsorships etc.

"I look at it in the bigger picture, and some of these sports stars are global now, and that is why they get paid so much money.

"The numbers they create through their own name for clubs and for football at large, it's very difficult to measure that.

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"I think there are only a handful of players who get numbers so large it's so hard for fans and the media to get their heads round.

"You look at the basketballers in the NBA, they play a lot of games, the NFL don't play that many, but both get paid astronomical amounts of money, because the sport is so powerful.

"The Premier League is a very powerful league, financially as well.

"The big guns make the big stories, but there are a lot of people earning not as much, but really good money, but relative to the sport and the worldwide view of the sport."

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Burnley chairman Mike Garlick has already come out and said the club will not furlough any non-playing staff in the “short to medium term”, and will also not be asking the players or staff to take a pay cut.

Dyche feels Burnley's pragmatic financial management is serving them well in testing times: "I think when you look at the numbers that came out recently, the £87m wage bill, a lot of that is bonuses, and that's the whole club, not just the players.

"When you look at that side of things, we're still in a strong shape, turnover-wise.

"Those numbers drop enormously when bonuses, appearance money etc are not being paid.

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"So I think we're okay on that side of things, and the chairman has made it clear he doesn't want to use furlough.

"I think Gordon Taylor said if companies can afford to do the right thing, just do the right thing.

"I think, in a nutshell, that sums it up.

"If the cash in the club is sufficient to make sure everyone can continue in whatever form they can and get paid, and then make their own personal decisions to do whatever they choose then. that's the best way of doing it, as long as everyone can get looked after.

"And if there comes a time where life changes that drastically where that then has to be looked at, I'm sure every club will look at that, ourselves included.

"But at this time, we're in good shape because of the financial prudence of the club.

"It is paying us back as a club this time, even in these bizarre circumstances."