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Rob Tanner: Why there will be no more Sven, spend, spend


The Leicester City squad that began pre-season training yesterday is virtually the same as the one that ended the last campaign – and that may surprise a lot of fans.

Usually, there are at least one or two fresh faces meeting up with their new team-mates on the first day of training. But not this year.

While they have not been as active in the transfer market under Nigel Pearson as they were under Sven-Goran Eriksson, it would appear strange that City have not completed a single transaction, in or out of the club, by the first day of pre-season.

But one glance around the Championship and it is clear City aren't the only club keeping quiet.

There has been a real dearth of transfer dealings so far across the division, with only a handful of clubs actually doing any business.

There have been a few free transfers done, especially at Blackburn, Derby Birmingham City, Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield and Burnley, while Bolton, who are in talks with Jermaine Beckford about completing his move from City, have added a couple of players too.

But there have been only half-a-dozen or so deals confirmed involving transfer fees paid by a Championship club.

Derby have paid £750,000 for Dundee United's Johnny Russell, Barnsley have shelled out £250,000 to Bayern Munich for Dale Jennings and an undisclosed fee for Sheffield Wednesday's former City striker Chris O'Grady.

Reading have paid an undisclosed fee for Dutchman Royston Drenthe from Russian club Alania Vladikavkaz, and another undisclosed fee for American Daniel Williams from German outfit 1899 Hoffenheim.

Huddersfield have paid an undisclosed fee for Adam Hammill from Wolves. And that is about that.

Of course, the window didn't officially open until July 1, but that doesn't stop clubs doing deals and simply ratifying them when the paperwork can be filed, but there has been very little of that.

There simply isn't the same amount of cash exchanging hands in the division and it is all down to the impact of Financial Fair Play.

FFP has been the big topic of discussion this summer and supporters must get sick to death of hearing about it. But it has had a huge impact in the game.

While the principle of FFP is good, to control the amount of expenditure at clubs to avoid more of them following in the footsteps of Portsmouth and facing financial ruin, it is going to take a few years for clubs to get in line with its rulings and adopt a working practice where they can, once again, start doing business with confidence.

But the days of big fees being paid outside the Premier League are over.

No-one is going to start spending the cash like they once did, City being the last club to really spend big under Eriksson in the hope of reaching the Premier League.

Only the clubs coming down at the end of this campaign will be reasonably equipped, courtesy of the £63million parachute payments they will get, and they may be tempted to gamble, ignore FFP and take the consequences.

FFP has frozen the transfer market outside of the top flight. To fall into line with its guidelines, clubs have prioritised getting players off their books first before recruiting.

Clubs are reluctant to add to their wage bill before they move players on in the fear that they will be unsuccessful and be lumbered with an even bigger wage bill.

And everyone is in the same boat. No-one is buying until they have sold, but they can't sell because no-one is buying. Stalemate.

Once the Beckford deal goes through, City fans might see manager Pearson making a move in the window and, don't forget, there are still two months to go until the window shuts.

If he can move several more players on who he has identified for transfer, he will have even more freedom, but even then he will not be splashing the cash.

The loan market may be the best option for City to strengthen ahead of another promotion push.

Rob Tanner: Why there will be no more Sven, spend, spend

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