When news emerged at the tail end of June that Leeds United were set to bank a staggering £11m for star striker Ross McCormack from Fulham, eyebrows around the Championship were raised as one.

How could a team in the second-tier of English football finance a move of such monstrous proportions having suffered relegation from the top flight?

The Cottagers hardly boasted a meagre wage budget last season either before their demise, with Maarten Stekelenburg, Brede Hangeland, Jonny Heitinga, Scott Parker, Bryan Ruiz and others all sure to have been sitting on a hefty wage packet.

Granted, many of their highest earners have since been moved on as manager Felix Magath launched a mass exodus of the flops which had been unable to preserve their status as a Premier League club.

And by offloading so many underperformers, it has gone some way to offsetting the deal for McCormack, but it also emphasises the disparity which has formed in the Championship thanks to parachute payments.

Cardiff City, Fulham and Norwich City 2014/2015 Transfers (Fee/Free/Loan)

 

The competitive nature of this league is at risk of eroding in the face of relegated top-flight clubs seeing their coffers swelled to the tune of a neat £60m, spread across four years.

While Huddersfield Town are sensibly adhering to the measures set out by Financial Fair Play, evidenced by the free signings of Joe Murphy and Lee Peltier and a loan deal for Radoslaw Majewski, the relegated trio's increased transfer budgets are aiding their cause.

Norwich City and Cardiff City - the other two teams to have dropped into the Championship - have also spent heavily, with the Canaries' two additions Lewis Grabban and Kyle Lafferty both arriving for fees.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have been slightly more frugal in terms of the cost of their transfers, but the fact they have brought in five players this summer suggests the windfall the respective relegated clubs have received is arming them with funds which the rest of the division can only dream of.

That is illustrated most by the way the others have conducted themselves in the market so far this summer.

Bournemouth, Brentford, Brighton and Hove Albion, Charlton Athletic, Derby County, Ipswich Town, Leeds United, Middlesbrough, Millwall, Nottingham Forest, Rotherham United, Watford and Wigan Athletic are the only other teams to have spent a fee.

Within that, there are noticeable caveats, with Bournemouth's move for Callum Wilson a direct consequence of Lewis Grabban's move to Norwich from the Cherries for instance.

Likewise, Sami Hyypia has spent a chunk of the money he accrued from the sale of Leonardo Ulloa to promoted outfit Leicester City on drafting in Chris O'Grady and Fulham's David Stockdale.

And just seven of those clubs have purchased more than one player during the close season. Rotherham United have been the most notable exception to the rule by being the busiest club in the window but they themselves have profited from a cash injection due to their play-off final win last term.

While not rating quite as highly as the Championship play-off final's sum of prize money, the Millers were able to enjoy a total of around £4m for their ascent to the second tier as various revenue payments rise.

Rest of the Championship 2014/2015 Transfers (Fee/Free/Loan)

 

But that pales into insignificance when you assess the money being bandied about at the top end of the league.

It emerged in May that Premier League clubs are attempting to alter the way in which parachute payments are staggered, with the four-year plan supposedly flawed by the lofty wages that Premier League footballers command.

Teams want this shortened to two years to equip them with the requisite funds to compensate for an increase in wages but there must surely be a real fear amongst Championship clubs about what this means for them and the gulf it is creating.

Payments across two years would supply the three relegated sides with £30m immediately and what is considered an insurance policy against freefall down the footballing ladder may soon be about to swing back the other way and allow clubs an easy ride of it in the Championship.

As recently as 2012, clubs were receiving £48m across four years, so the calls for a two-year plan seem audacious in the extreme.

Signings like McCormack, Grabban and Adam Le Fondre are byproducts of such lavish parachute payments and they are increasing the disparity between those operating sensibly in the transfer market and those who are being effectively rewarded for failure.

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