COVID-19: Decrease in footballers’ market value imminent

Ralph Hasenhuettl, manager of English Premier League club side Southampton, says the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could mean a decrease in the market value of players when the transfer window reopens.

Hasenhuettl, while speaking on Monday, however, said Southampton were prepared for all eventualities.

Professional football had been suspended indefinitely across Europe since March.

But countries and leagues were now planning for a return to training and competition without fans in attendance in May or June when restrictions are relaxed.

With nine rounds left to be played in the Premier League, the season would spill over into June and possibly July, when the traditional off-season transfer window opened.

The Southampton manager said the window could be shorter this year as a result.

“We are prepared. We know that it will be an interesting transfer window, maybe a shorter one.

“The surroundings are also changing because the values for the players will go down, I think.

“We can’t say what impact this will have on the transfer market, but we are prepared for it and we have the time now to get in contact with everybody,’’ the Austrian said.

“The good thing is that we all know it will start again and that, step-by-step, we will come back to normality again.

“Therefore, you have to be prepared and to use this time now is absolutely helpful, ” Hasenhuettl said.

Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen, on his part, said free agents would be coveted more when the window opened as clubs look to rebound from the financial crisis.

Meanwhile, Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward said clubs would not spend “hundreds of millions” on new signings, even though Hasenhuettl said clubs desperate for new recruits could spend more.

“You have to remember that the players we want to sell will also be worth less money. It has an impact on every club.

“In the end, when the transfers are starting, and you have some issues, you will do everything to get the player you want.

“I don’t see the prices dropping that far but the selection would be a more critical one and, therefore, you have to be prepared,” the 52-year-old added.

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