Global Times Mobile
btn_back
China
The last few days have confirmed the summer's second worst-kept secret: Kylian Mbappe will head home to Paris after swapping French champions Monaco for PSG. The only real news is that the deal has been structured as a season-long loan with an option to buy - an option that both sides expect to happen without question - for 167 million pounds ($216 million) next summer.

That the second-most expensive player of all time's transfer has been arranged that way purely to get round UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules points out how futile they are. The big clubs will always find a way round them and PSG have got the transfer off the balance sheet for a year while getting to play him in the meantime.

Next summer once the transfer goes through they can legitimately spread the cost of the fee over the course of his five-year contract, but more importantly PSG have a year's worth of Mbappe (not to mention Neymar) shirts and some shrewd business partnerships built on the one up front to offset the impending costs. They will also expect prize money from reclaiming the French title and - if their dreams come true immediately - winning a first Champions League.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, whose side face PSG in this season's Champions League, is on record as saying that if Mbappe joins the Paris side then you can rip up FFP as far as he is concerned. It's a viewpoint that is ­entirely framed by Celtic's lack of comparative financial muscle but that doesn't stop him being right.

This summer has seen the most marked inflation in both transfer fees and wages. If FFP was meant to stop ­financial doping then it feels this transfer window has been a free for all, somewhere between the Russian Olympic program, Tyson Fury and the Tour de France in terms of keeping clean.

Spending big is seen as a way into the elite. Manchester City and PSG have experienced their biggest success since foreign takeovers and then splashing that cash. That those clubs have also received FFP sanctions only adds to the argument that FFP was only brought in to protect the established hierarchy, those grand old teams of European soccer.

Times should change. There has been a recent flurry of investment and those clubs should be entitled to spend the money that comes with that. Even if there are enough sugar daddies to go round, spending is no guarantee of success: Wage outlay has been linked to results, transfer outlay has not. There are plenty of teams that have shown there is another way - not least the team that Mbappe is leaving for Paris. Monaco have sold plenty of last season's stars but seem to be coping fine: They beat Marseille 6-1 on Sunday.

So bin FFP and let the clubs decide their own path. But take a leaf out of China's book and make teams match transfer fees with a donation to the communal pot. Instead of youth development it could go to all of the grass-roots game. Let's face it, when we talk about the haves and have-nots solely in terms of professional clubs, we've already lost perspective.

The author is a Shanghai-based freelance writer. jmawhite@gmail.com