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French Ligue 1


Big spenders out in transfer window

As the last day of the transfer window on Monday approaches, uncertainty still clouds a possible £86m transfer of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid. This is not just significant for fans of the two clubs involved, it could trigger other big money deals. Real could try to partially cover its investment in Bale by selling off some of its top players. If the deal does go ahead, it will be the fifth successive occasion that Real has broken the world transfer record.

The quest for a marquee signing

The current transfer window in Europe has been dominated by a quest for marquee signings. However, there are not that many really outstanding players available. When demand is strong but supply is limited and finite, strange things happen to price. Hence Real Madrid's willingness to pay over £100m for Gareth Bale, far more than he is worth.

How viable is AS Monaco?

Much of the recent commentary on AS Monaco has focused on its fight to preserve its tax privileges, but this interesting blog post argues that the club will face challenges building a fan base, regardless of how successful it is on the pitch.   The lack of presence of French clubs in English-speaking markets is also an issue.

Can a football club be a luxury brand?

How does one market a club like Monaco, newly promoted to France's Ligue 1? Given the size of the principality, it's difficult to generate big crowds. With a population of just over 36,000, Monaco is the second smallest country in the world and the smallest with a coastline. Only Vatican City is smaller.

Beckham's celebrity appeal

Whether David Beckham was a good or a great footballer has been debated on Radio 5 this morning, but he was certainly the greatest footballing celebrity of his generation. Having played at two of the greatest clubs in the world, Manchester United and Real Madrid, he then went to the ultimate celebrity destination, Los Angeles, and topped it off with a stay in the home of cosmopolitan chic, Paris.

Hollande scores own goal

France's President Hollande has decided to boost his dismal poll ratings by targeting French football clubs for extra tax payments. He might be better off considering whether allowing the French government to spend 57 per cent of GDP is a good idea when Germany manages to sustain its social model on 45 per cent.

Would Uefa's FFP rules stand up in court?

We have consistently taken the view that Uefa's financial fair play (FFP) rules are open to challenge in court.    It is therefore interesting to see Belgian lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont, who was part of the team who won the Bosman case in 1995, arguing a similar case in the Wall Street Journal.

PSG spend big and have small losses

Since the Qatar Investment Authority became Paris Saint-Germain's majority shareholder money has been no object in building up the club as one of the leading sides in Europe. £92m was spent in the first year of ownership and £128m this season.

It is therefore surprising that PSG made a loss of only £4.8m in the 2011-12 season which puts it on the right side of Uefa's financial fair play rules. Media rights, commercial income and match day revenue add up to just £84.5m, well short of spending.

PSG flex their financial muscles

Paris Saint-German, owned by the multi-billion pound Qatar Investment Authority, are contemplating making a bid for Manchester United's Wayne Rooney.

If they made a bid of £40m, as has been suggested, it would have to be considered seriously at Old Trafford.   At £250,000 a week, he is United's most expensive player.  Undoubtedly skilled and talented, he is 28, has a constant battle with his weight and has had injury and illness problems.  Whether he would adapt to Paris as well as the cosmopolitan David Beckham is an interesting question.

Sponsorship deal stores up problems for PSG

Last week Paris Saint-Germain not only signed David Beckham, but also concluded a five year sponsorship deal with Emirates worth £108m.   Given that their previous sponsorship deal was around £3.5m a season, it's a big leap forward, although it has to be set against a net spend of £208m over the previous four transfer windows.   It may also be storing up trouble for the future.