Football transfer fees – Fictional bend to a rational sport

Football transfer fees – Fictional bend to a rational sport

The different unbelievable figures being bandied about as transfer fees or bids made for players is making it clear that football is no longer a rational game or better still; business.

Much more than ever, there is indeed a disturbing and growing illusory bend to activities regarding it.

Going back to the foundation of what could be argued to be unreasonable value demands in players transfers, one is essentially forced to the shores of English football; specifically, the Premier League.

Three transfers bordered on the absurd when considered against the background of related benchmarks at the time.

While the chosen examples could never be exhaustive of the ‘madness’ that characterized football transfers in the past 14 years; they at least reflect the crust of the tendency to pander to Nollywood like activities now bedeviling the game.

Shaun Wright-Philips/Ronaldinho

Shaun Wright-Philips transfer for the sum of £21 million on July 18, 2005 to Premier League champions Chelsea from Manchester City connoted a big move. That price, by all yards of measurement and grading was a huge sum.

However, when that transaction is compared to the fact that Barcelona  paid only £22 million to Paris Saint Germain for the signature of Brazilian Ronaldinho two years earlier, Wright-Philips true worth and contribution at Chelsea would be considered aptly disjointed.

Ronaldinho went ahead to become a legend at Camp Nou starring prominently in winning Barcelona’s first league title since 1999. The unplayable Ronaldinho won the LaLiga title twice and crowned it with the Champions League trophy in 2006.

On the personal front, he won two Barlon d’Or on his way to be creditably counted among the best in world football.

Meanwhile, Shaun Wright-Philips had faded – in prime and became more of a bit part player at Chelsea as he played only 84 times and managed a paltry four goals in three seasons at Stamford Bridge. He was sold back to City three years into his contract.

In retrospect, there was no basis for comparison when their transfer figures and impact are measured side by side!

 Andy Caroll/Luis Suarez

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 14: Andy Carroll of Liverpool celebrates with Luis Suarez as he scores their second goal during the FA Cup with Budweiser Semi Final match between Liverpool and Everton at Wembley Stadium on April 14, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

Andy Caroll moved to Liverpool in £36 million transfer in January 2011 to replace Fernando Torres who had departed to Chelsea in a mega transfer after a relatively successful stint at Merseyside.

Caroll, as far as performance records available, should never have cost that much. His career in Newcastle only showed a bit of raw but untested talent.

In over four seasons at Newcastle, Andy Caroll played 91 times and scored a credible 33 goals. Was that enough to justify the huge sum Liverpool paid for him?

Eventually, Liverpool’s bet on young Caroll didn’t pay off. He played 58 games and scored 11 times for the Reds before he was loaned to West Ham United where he seems to be finding joy.

Luis Suarez was signed in January 2011 from Ajax Amsterdam in £22.8 million move as Liverpool went seeking their first Premier League title in the modern era.

The Uruguayan came with modest expectations. No one, except perhaps, Suarez himself believed that a game changer had arrived the Premier League.

In slightly over three seasons, Luis Suarez scored a whopping 82 quality and logic defying goals over 133 matches for Liverpool to write his name as one of the best strikers to have graced the league.

Week-in, week-out, pundits and commentators ran out of superlatives to describe the Uruguayan’s undoubtable quality on the pitch. Suarez, like all great strikers was simply unplayable when in full flight.

It wasn’t any surprise when Barcelona came knocking on the door of Liverpool and on July 11, 2014 Suarez signed with the Catalans a five-year contract for a fee of £64.98 million. That move made him one of the most expensive players in world football history.

As Andy Caroll tries to make a meaning of his career with the Hammers; Luis Suarez is making waves in Spain with Barcelona winning one trophy after another.

Three seasons after, Luis Suarez has scored a massive 122 goals in 147 games for Barcelona. His record is almost a goal per game!

Fernando Torres/Karim Benzema

After three very successful seasons in terms of games played and goals scored, Fernando Torres was successfully poached by Chelsea in a £50 million January 2011 transfer.

Expectations was rife that the Spanish will better his 81 goals in 142 games for Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. However, the reverse was starkly the reality!

It took Torres 14 matches to register his first goal for the Blues as it dawned on the ever-critical press that there wasn’t going to be a happy ending to his move to London.

Torres left Chelsea after three miserable seasons on loan to Milan where he continued to struggle for form.

In all, he scored 45 times in 172 games for Roman Abrahamovic club. Hardly a decent return on a £50 million investment!

Karim Benzema moved from Olympic Lyonnaise to Real Madrid in 2009 for a transfer fee of £30 million. That transfer was considered high profile that year as Benzema was then considered the hottest property in club football.

The French went ahead to become a major part in the attacking unit of Real Madrid as Los Blancos won everything winnable in their sphere.

Pulling his record side by side to that of Fernando Torres revealed a major disparity in achievement or output.

Benzema over similar period scored 102 goals in 202 matches for Real Madrid. His goal per game is ration 1:2 trumping Torres clearly in a head-to-head comparison.

These are past and relatively fading examples. Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Paul Pogba have shifted the goal post in mega transfer fees.

Pogba’s movement to Manchester United from Juventus for a world record transfer fee of £89.3 million is still reverberating till now. Whether he has justified that fee is a discourse for another time.

Teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe getting ready to strike

Back to the present, unreal transfer figures of more than £95 million have been mentioned regarding teenage sensation, Kylian Mbappe.

Wait for this; it was reported that Ronaldo will cost his next club at least £155 million. Yes, you are reading right!

That is the touted sum to be paid for a 32-year-old who at most and barring any unforeseen circumstances has maximum four years left to play at the top.

What about some relatively unknown players that have been hyped up to be bought at ridiculous sums? Think of Virgil Van Dijk, Mohammed Salah, Mariano Diaz, Jordan Pickford etc.

These are players being mentioned in transfer sum ranging from £31 million to £50 million. Southampton was rumored to have demanded £48 million in the case of Van Dijk. Totally ridiculous to say the least!

Unfortunately, this is now the reality of the transfer market where reality is no longer functional.

The mysterious calculations of what could be is now projected and the gullible keep biting hard on the rotten meat!


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