Belfast Telegraph

Heidel wary of English threat

The general manager of Bundesliga club Mainz is becoming increasingly concerned that the English Premier League is going to threaten clubs like his.

Thanks to a new lucrative television rights deal, Barclays Premier League clubs can look forward to far greater income in the coming years and Christian Heidel feels Mainz are no longer going to be able to compete in the transfer market.

Mainz sold Shinji Okazaki to Leicester for 11million euros this summer - a fee they simply could not turn down.

"You are getting clubs like Leicester who are now capable of buying Mainz's best player," Heidel told the Die Welt newspaper.

"Okazaki's turning 30 and he's only got one year left on his contract, yet they are still prepared to pay a double-figure million fee for him.

"This new situation is mostly going to affect the clubs from the middle and lower regions of the Bundesliga.

"England are our new rivals. The amounts they pay their players by the week are the same as what we pay by the month."

The Premier League's new television rights deal is almost four times greater than the Bundesliga's, although the German league overtook the English one in UEFA's five-year rankings this season.

The Premier League risks falling behind Serie A next year and consequently losing one Champions League place.

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