La Liga president Javier Tebas believes the Covid-19 pandemic will depress transfer fees and put paid to big money moves in the close season.

The 57-year-old made the comments at an online forum organised by the World Football Summit on Monday night, during which he fielded a range of questions on football post-coronavirus from Alfredo Matilla of Spanish daily Diario AS.

Of the eight players who have moved for at least 100 million euros (S$157.4m), only two transfers did not involve La Liga clubs, with the six most expensive transfers in history happening between 2017-2019.

They include Joao Felix and Antoine Griezmann’s moves to Atletico Madrid and Barcelona respectively last year.

This year, there has been much speculation that Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho will be the latest player to join the exclusive 100m euro club.

Tebas disagreed, telling Matilla: “There will be some transfers… But, big signings paid in money (rather than swop deals), we’re not going to see that.

“One of 100m euros is impossible. And those above 50m euros, we’ll be able to count on your fingers and mine.”

So far, the biggest moves include Bayern Munich paying Manchester City 49m euros for Leroy Sane and Chelsea signing Timo Werner from RB Leipzig for 53m euros.

Barcelona’s Miralem Pjanic and Juventus’ Arthur’s transfer fees exceed 50m euros, but they have largely just swopped clubs.

SUPER LEAGUE

Besides the impact on transfer fees, the prospect of a breakaway European Super League has been “weakened” by Covid-19, according to Tebas.

Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli, who also chairs the European Clubs’ Association, has long lobbied for the formation of a transnational league featuring Europe’s biggest clubs.

In 2018, German publication Der Spiegel published leaked documents that showed plans for the league were more concrete than previously imagined.

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger recently reiterated his view that the league will eventually come to fruition.

However, Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin told ESPN this month that only two teams had seriously discussed plans to form a Super League.

Tebas weighed in on Monday, saying: “I think that (the Covid-19 outbreak) has weakened the Super League project quite a lot because many clubs have realised that it is very important to maintain their national market and to save it during this situation…

“Together, we’ve tried to ensure the broadcast rights don’t lose value.

“We’ve realised that together we can do things a lot better, that Uefa and the big clubs should not go on their own.”

While Tebas did not want to be drawn into when La Liga fans could return to stadiums, he did suggest that venue capacities would be capped at 30 per cent of previous levels and, despite the “awkward” situation, he expected fans to throng back to venues when they reopen.

Spain has been one of the countries most ravaged by Covid-19, and Tebas said that the regimen that allowed La Liga’s return has been a template for others. The league restarted on June 11, with matches played daily until the season ends on July 19.

He added that even the NBA had sought advice from La Liga on its “sanitary protocols”.

The world’s most famous basketball league is set to resume at the end of the month at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.



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