Premier League the biggest winner as talent pours in

Sep 02 2014, 23:40 IST
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SummaryThe giants of Old Trafford haemorrhaged almost 150 million pounds in the last few weeks, dressing the likes of Angel di Maria, Marcos Rojo and Falcao in red shirts.

For Manchester United, the answer to a slump in form or a crisis of confidence comes in 50 pound notes. Millions of them.

The giants of Old Trafford haemorrhaged almost 150 million pounds ($247.9 million) in the last few weeks, dressing the likes of Angel di Maria, Marcos Rojo and Falcao in red shirts.

The huge spending has given new Dutch manager Louis van Gaal an embarrassment of riches with which to fix his team's on-pitch struggles, even though critics suggest the money could have been spent a little more wisely.

Still, though, theirs is a glittering squad, its make-up largely mirrored across the city at their blue-shirted rivals, and at Chelsea, who either spent big on new superstar names or forked out to renew the contracts of their most influential players.

Liverpool, too, leaned heavily on their history and spending power to lure one of the biggest names in soccer to Anfield, snapping up Mario Balotteli from AC Milan for what is these days a paltry 16 million pounds.

SOCCER MORTALS

But for the mortals of the English Premier League, it takes a little more creativity to secure the talent required to challenge in the top flight of English football.

Southampton finished last season in eighth position - one below United in the league.

Then, in the space of a handful of weeks, one of the most exciting teams in the league was asset-stripped by bigger, richer rivals, who cherry-picked the Saints' jewels.

The first to go was manager Mauricio Pochettino, who quit for Spurs.

He was followed out the door by Luke Shaw, to United; and Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren to Liverpool. Shortly afterwards Calum Chambers set off for Arsenal.

The spine of the team was sold off, and Southampton again dominated back-page headlines - this time generally attracting the word "exodus" twinned with the phrase "relegation candidates".

The club appointed a Dutch footballing heavyweight of their own, Ronald Koeman, in what may well prove to be a masterstroke, as the former Barcelona superstar has already proved as influential in attracting talent to St Mary's as he was on the pitch in his heyday.

KOEMAN'S COUPS

On transfer deadline day, Koeman's latest coups were the capture of Toby Alderweireld and Sadio Mane. Both owed more to his powers of persuasion than those of Southampton's chequebook.

"I told him about our plans and our ambition... and the way we play is a little bit Dutch," Koeman said of his conversations with

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