Rewind to 1973, a certain Johan Cruyff made his world record breaking switch from boyhood club Ajax to Barcelona for a microscopic £922,000. In 1984 Diego Maradona completed a new record transfer, joining Napoli as they parted with just £5 million. Alan Shearer became the most valuable player on the books in 1996 as his Premier League winning season with Blackburn Rovers was rewarded with a £15 million move to Newcastle United.
Arguably the most significant transfer in history took place in the name of Zinedine Zidane. The French legend cost Real Madrid £46.6 million to be prised away from Serie A side Juventus. Zidane’s fee proved to be the most expensive for a total of eight years, a record in itself which can only be beaten as far back as 1932 when Argentine Bernabe Ferreyra swapped jersey from Tigre to River Plate.
Of course, in the more recent decade’s player valuations have ascended due to football’s industry becoming richer through TV rights, the growth of fan bases, merchandise selling at higher rates, Sponsorship, competitions etc. So in many regards, this is very much a natural development. However, what cannot be ignored is the extent in which player’s price tags have inflamed. Forget the superstars who have always demanded top fees, 2017’s window (which is only three weeks old) has been nothing short of staggering, particularly in the Premier League.
Two transfers which were both in similar time periods have quite possibly provoked the rise of fees today. Cristiano Ronaldo announced in 2009 that he would be wearing Madrid white. Whilst Gareth Bale followed in Ronaldo’s footsteps for an extra £2 million than Real coughed up for the Portuguese international. A yet again world record breaking £85 million move was finalised. The pair of these transfers seems to have worked like trendsetters, as any attack minded individual who scores and assists can be expected to cost in excess of £60, £70 million.
Thus far we have witnessed Manchester United’s blockbuster capture of Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian will cost the best part of £90 million (almost two Zidane’s) once add-ons are counted for. Prior to this, Alexander Lacazette traded Lyon for London as Arsene Wenger splashed out £53 million on the striker. Most recently we have seen an agreement reached between Real Madrid and Chelsea for Alvaro Morata in a deal worth up to £70 million. There aren’t many doubters that the Spaniard is a great player, but it is a seemingly controversial price for someone who hasn’t been a regular starter.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 19, 2017
Elsewhere in Europe, there has been plenty of speculation linking players with mega money moves. Monaco‘s boy wonder Kylian Mbappe has been making the headlines ever since the 2016/17 season finished. Although now it looks likely the 18-year-old will be staying put at Monaco, it was rumoured Manchester City and Real Madrid were sniffing around his £120 million price tag.
Over to La Liga, speculation has involved Barcelona’s Brazilian winger Neymar with a switch to Paris Saint-Germain. A whopping £195 million has been reported as the figure the Parisians are prepared to fork out. It seems in the last 24 hours talks have cooled down, but even so, this news just emphasises the inflated value of the modern day player.
How much longer will it be until these such bids become standardized in world football?