This September, the Premier League summer transfer window closed with clubs having spent a record £1 billion on new players.
Doubtless, in luxury car dealerships closest to the major clubs, the potted palms are being dusted off as dealers anticipate a surge of young, cashrich footballers keen to own the sport’s traditional badge of honour: a supercar. Especially for those players elevated from the lower leagues, such a car is likely to be a lot more powerful than anything they have driven before. This heady cocktail of wealth and inexperience doesn’t always have a happy ending.
Seven years ago, Cristiano Ronaldo, then 23 and playing for Manchester United, lost control of his Ferrari 599 GTB in a tunnel near Manchester. The car was wrecked but Ronaldo escaped injury. And earlier this year Diafra Sakho, the 26-year-old West Ham United striker, drove his Lamborghini Huracán through a garden wall.
In the intervening years, there have been a string of accidents involving young footballers at the wheel of high-performance cars. Bradley Busch, a psychologist and director of InnerDrive, a sports psychology company that works with elite athletes, says young people such as rising footballers are particularly susceptible to accidents. He says: “People between the ages of 20 and 23 are more likely to take risks, something that is magnified in the presence of their peers. Add to this the fact that once a week, a Premier League footballer experiences a huge adrenalin rush playing in front of a packed stadium and they may become addicted to experiencing the same rush, for example when driving.”