Football agent Jon Smith says there could be a flurry of transfer activity from the top Premier League clubs before Euro 2016 gets underway.
The director of player representation agency First Artist, Smith says Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City are expected to be the busiest English clubs in the summer transfer market and they could all swoop earlier than they have been known to do in recent years because the Premier League will pay its 20 clubs earlier than usual.
Smith told Sky Sports News HQ: “The interesting thing is that the Premier League have decided to pay the clubs earlier this year, partly, I guess, because of the European Championships.
“It’s going to be a bit convoluted. What will happen is you’ll have a spree and then a decline of activity as people wait for the European Championships, and then it will pick up again towards the end of July.
“Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City will be the busiest I suspect. Of the ones coming up, probably Middlesbrough. The rest will be prudent. It’s about the valuations of football clubs and how people want to build their businesses, not just about success on the field any more.
“You have the top five, six clubs very well organised and well owned, and then you have a number of very interested parties around the world looking at Premier League clubs at potential investments.
“So the clubs in the middle – for example Stoke, West Brom, Swansea and Southampton to a lesser degree – are going to look at their balance sheets and not want to degrade those by overly spending too early with player commitments on their books. They want to keep their books in good shape just in case one of these ‘high-net-worths’ come up.”
Smith also suggests that Chinese investors are actively looking to invest in Premier League and Championship clubs and make English football richer via revenue streams in the Far East.
He added: “We got very close with a Championship club with some Chinese individuals. It didn’t quite happen but the main income stream was to come from China. The UK income stream was just consequential to wash its face.
“There’s a huge market in China and don’t discount other markets like India. It’s not there yet; cricket is still the number one sport but football is catching on. Those markets are going to become more important to our Premier League and Championship over the coming years.
“The home, base market has to be nurtured. We can’t have empty stadiums. There’s a great argument for decreasing ticket prices as income from around the world increases. But the market for saleability and profit is going to come from other corners of the world such as America and Asia.”