Premier League transfer embargo could follow wage cuts: Neville

LONDON (AFP) – Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville believes the Premier League may force clubs who are looking to cut player wages during the coronavirus crisis to accept transfer embargoes.

Clubs in England’s top-flight have requested players take up to a 30 per cent pay hit in cuts and deferrals to help soften the estimated GBP1 billion blow of potentially failing to complete the season.

A number of Premier League clubs, including Tottenham, have also been fiercely criticised for using public money to shore up the wages of non-playing staff before cutting the salaries of players.

Liverpool quickly reversed their decision to use the United Kingdom’s (UK) government’s furlough scheme, which guarantees 80 per cent of wages up to a maximum of GBP2,500 a month, after a backlash from supporters and the media last week. Neville said Tottenham striker Harry Kane would be the “perfect” signing for his old club Manchester United, but dismissed speculation over the England captain’s future in the current climate.

“The Premier League spent GBP1.4 billion last summer on transfers and the previous three summers they also spent over GBP1 billion. If you’re trying to get 30 per cent pay cuts from existing players, you may have to put a transfer embargo in place,” Neville told Sky Sports.

“Transfers are things the fans love, and we love players moving around, but it does seem to me to be awry when we’ve got such a behind-the-scenes war going on with respect to players taking cuts, the clubs needing support, and then in the next breath you’ve got a GBP200 million transfer speculation going on.”

Kane, who has been sidelined by a hamstring injury since New Year’s Day, opened the door to leaving Spurs last month.

“If I don’t feel we’re progressing as a team or going in the right direction, then I’m not someone to just stay there for the sake of it,” said Kane in an Instagram chat with former Spurs midfielder Jamie Redknapp.

Neville and Redknapp believe that Tottenham’s conduct during the crisis will not have sat well with Kane.

“He’s a clever lad and he’s not somebody who would get caught out if he didn’t want to say something. The little opening of the door that he left in that Instagram piece with Jamie was probably something that had something in it,” added Neville.

“In my mind, I think he would have been warning them and saying ‘just be careful because I’m watching you and it’s not something that we do’.”