On The Ball: January EPL transfers will be the stuff of reality, not dreams

Declan Rice (second from right) was on Chelsea's summer wish-list but West Ham will not countenance a January sale.
Declan Rice (second from right) was on Chelsea's summer wish-list but West Ham will not countenance a January sale.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON - It is less than three months since the last spending spree finished. When it did, Premier League clubs had spent £1.26 billion (S$2.24 billion); more than their Spanish, German and French counterparts combined and an amount that appeared obscene in the worst recession for 300 years.

That sum forms the backdrop to this month's transfer window, but there are other relevant numbers: the thousands of empty seats at grounds every week. With fans kept away and clubs bleeding money even the Premier League surely cannot carry on spending, even if that was said last summer.

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