1. Buy, Buy, Buy!
There has never been a better opportunity to invest in real, thoroughbred International Superstars. Just like Florintino Perez said, at the moment Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo are cheap.
Because interest rates are low, (as the banks want people spending rather than saving), there has never been a better opportunity to borrow money. Perez just happens to be a fantastic position to take advantage.
Real Madrid are the top club in Europe when it comes to revenue and have the added financial muscle of their own, bumper TV deal. Add to that the boost from projected shirt sales; Real Madrid could easily secure enough money in loans to cover record-shattering raids on some of their biggest European rivals.
The key is being able to secure the money at low interest rates. When Liverpool's owners took out loans against the club to fund Rafa Benitez's Premier League ambitions, they entered into fixed agreements between 4.5 per cent and 6 per cent, just before the banks cut the interest rate to 0.5 per cent. This led to the crippling interest repayments that forced the club to curb its summer spending plans and restructure their loans.
If you’re smart, there has never been a better time to get heavily into debt.
2. Make way for the Nouveau Riche
Chelsea are old news. This summer, the buzz is about the clubs that are loading up for a run at the Champion's League positions.
Everton, Aston Villa and Manchester City will be expending all their energy (and budgets) in an effort to crack the Big 4's hold on the Champion's League places. All three have big eyes and talented young managers hungry to make the jump into the big time.
The key for Everton and Villa is going to be getting the most for their money. This time last year, both teams were struggling to secure signatures for reasonable money and ended up paying more than they probably wanted for the likes of Marouane Fellaini and James Milner. Finding some bargains that can help them would go a long way.
Manchester City have no need for bargains - they need quality, and lots of it. City improved last season after Nigel de Jong bedded in, and adding quality to certain positions should see them become more consistent. However, if they continue to insist on poaching talent from their direct competitors, it could become a very expensive summer.
3. Invest In Potential
Why is Glen Johnson worth £17 million? Even after his best Premier League season, one that also saw him solidify his place in Capello's England side, many people raised their eyebrows at the fee Liverpool settled on for their first summer signing. Even when you account for Liverpool's £7 million discount for the outstanding Peter Crouch money, it seems pretty steep for a player with no track record of performing in big matches.
On the other hand, at 24 Johnson has more international and Premier League experience than other youngsters that have made big money moves to top clubs, such as Theo Walcott (£12 million), Ryan Babel (£11.5 million) and Nani (£14 million). On the face of it, these fees seem a bit steep considering their contributions to their teams this past season, but these players weren't brought in to make an immediate impact. Teams have to speculate in the hope that they’ll save money in the long run when these youngsters develop into quality Premier League and International performers.
Is Glen Johnson the missing piece in Rafa's infernal puzzle? It's highly unlikely, but he is just a year away from performing on the World's biggest stage in South Africa and he is the most marketable out of the players that Portsmouth were probably offering Liverpool in an attempt to settle their debt.
When this approach doesn't work, teams look stupid. If you listen to the rumours, Spurs are keen to cut their losses on Darren Bent and Roman Pavlyuchenko, who cost them about £30 million combined. They'll be lucky to get half that back right now though, as it's clear that Harry Redknapp wants to wash his hands the two and nobody wants to be overpaying. Spurs' problem is that they "invested" in Bent for the same reasons that Liverpool liked Glen Johnson. They thought that by now Bent would be an established England international and a twenty-goal-a-season striker, and therefore would be a bargain at £17 million.
Two years and eighteen goals later, and still just 25, £17 million now sounds like a lot of money.
4. Snap Up The Bargains
If you look very closely, even is an economy as bloated and backward as football's, there are always bargains to be had.
And no, I'm not talking about Michael Owen and his bad knees/back/whatever. Even if he cost Man Utd nothing, he could never be fit for a game and still (allegedly) cost the club £5 million in wages over the next two years. In four years at Newcastle, Owen only played 68 Premier League games.
Instead, what about Sean Davies? 274 games, 29 years old and signed up for the next three years sounds like a good deal to me. What about Sami Hyypia or Andre Ooijer, two serviceable veteran centre-halves who were allowed to move for nothing?
The trick is not to overpay for your bargains, so to speak. Be patient. Why pay £1 million for someone like Paul Robinson, when you know West Brom probably don't need him next season and probably don't want to be paying him to sit on the bench?
And what's the difference between Robinson and Jonathan Spector of West Ham, Paul Konchesky of Fulham, Nicky Shorey of Villa, or Julio Arca of Middlesbrough? Why wouldn't these players be available for the right price?
Although the TV money is already set for the next few years, smaller clubs could start to feel the pinch next season if they struggle to get fans through the turnstiles. Being smart in the transfer window is going to be more important than ever this summer, because financial weakness often goes hand-in-hand with poor results. Just ask Newcastle or Portsmouth how hard it is to get back on track after a rough transfer window.