Sheffield United are not alone in their lack of transfer activity.
The Championship has been a division of free transfers and savvy six-figure deals this summer as clubs look to refresh and replenish their squads.
The bulk of the business has been by those in the mid-table section of the league, with the Blades, Fulham, West Brom and Bournemouth all limited to a few deals.
With Premier League squads, it’s difficult to improve on what is already available to Slavisa Jokanovic. The recruitment team are looking up, rather than down, and with little money to spend, that has been the cause of inactivity.
West Brom have only acquired Alex Mowatt, a free transfer, and Matt Clarke, a Premier League loan. In reality, the top-flight loan market is where United will get the best bang for their buck unless there is a major sale that bolsters Jokanovic’s budget.
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Until recently, Fulham had been quiet after the late appointment of Marco Silva. They finally broke into action, in typical cavalier fashopm, at the weekend.
Fulham have heavily invested in their squad since their first promotion under Jokanovic in 2018. In all honesty, the vast majority of it has been spent very badly once reaching the Premier League, discarding those that were the backbone of previous success for more flashier and costly alternatives.
Given the parachute payments afforded to those relegated from the Premier League, Fulham’ have a couple of bites at the cherry before their boom-or-bust approach goes badly wrong each time around.
That’s why it is little surprise to see the club splash £12million on Harry Wilson, despite the fact the accumulative fees of the other 23 Championship clubs may not hit that figure.
Swansea City captain Matt Grimes is set to follow in a £4million deal, whilst Paulo Gazzaniga has been added to the goalkeeping department on a free transfer but handsome wages.
Parachute payments have become a reward for failure, no longer fit for purpose, to help clubs bridge the ridiculous gap between Premier League and EFL income. But that’s a debate for another article.
The fact is, United are using their resources to plug those gaps and live sustainably. If they fail to earn promotion at the first, or even the second, attempt there won’t be a panic-driven firesale or financial fair play court cases.
Fulham may well reap the rewards of their gamble, as they did under Scott Parker in 19/20 when they beat Brentford in the play-off final to secure promotion.
It underlines the difference in markets that the two promotion hopefuls are working in, as one drives for success and the other tries to balance on-field rewards with financial sustainability.
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