With the completion of Alisson Becker’s transfer to Liverpool for a world record fee for a goalkeeper for a stunning £67m approximately. It is fair to say that the football transfer market has gone nuts. Even worse is Southampton’s reported bid of £20m for Liverpool’s Danny Ings – wow, I’m speechless! Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon – a player recently promoted from the championship is currently valued at £50m. So where did it all go wrong?
Quite obviously there is more money in football now than there was 20 years ago – heck even 10 years ago thanks to Arabian money. About nine years ago when Cristiano Ronaldo moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid for a whooping £80m this was an astonishing fee at the time. It shattered the great Zinedine Zidane’s €77.5m transfer fee from Juventus to Real Madrid in 2001 but many fans and pundits alike thought it was deservedly broken. Afterall, Ronaldo was the footballer of the year at the time.
Economically, Ronaldo increased in value and has more than tripled the investment Real Madrid made on him, so much so that even nine years on Real still got €100m for his sale to Juventus – that is value. Reports also indicate his new club Juventus, have already made $60m from just his shirt sales.
Gareth Bale and then Paul Pogba had transfers to Real Madrid and Manchester United for slightly higher fees – but they were still within range – the market still had some ‘value’ and spending 100 million on a player meant you were at least getting one of the top 10 players in the world. Well until Neymar moved to PSG for a literally jaw-dropping fee of €222m. I first didn’t believe the transfer rumours – it was crazy – that was more than the value of 90% of all the professional clubs in the world – it just did not make any sense, despite Neymar’s quality at the time.
Anyway, the transfer happened and it had a ripple effect on the market and suddenly a little-known kid playing for Borussia Dortmund was bought for over €105m – but the excuse was that “he is a great prospect”. While in reality Ousmane Dembele should not be valued above €30m. Liverpool then sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona who now had unwanted booty from Neymar’s sale to PSG for €142m. Now clubs like Southampton and Roma are demanding £75m and £67m for players that should not cost half as much.
Let me put things to perspective here. The Godswill Akpabio Stadium – a wonderful 60,000 seater stadium in Uyo, Nigeria cost $96m – for the whole project. This is the way international football has gone MAD. Anytime I see these astronomical figures I cannot help but feel that the investment will be better spent creating networks of players like that in all the seven continents of the world.
So, enough of nagging, what is the solution? The European football market has to be regulated. No more American capitalist system for football business (the funny thing is American Sports has a socialist structure). We need some good old socialism for the football business to make sense.
What this current system does is that it reduces the level of competition between the top teams and the lower teams – when competition reduces – it affects the quality of football in the long run – which is entirely my own logic.
Parameters have to be put in place for every player to distinguish their value. Like appearances, age, number of seasons played, etc. with a general cap on the amount of money that will be spent by each club in a League or in Europe in a transfer window – we need some damn order.
Back to the age thing, no player younger than 24 should cost over £50m for example, and players will generally peak from 25 and above, so players over 25 will cost a bit more, and the fee will also drop at the end of their career.
I am not sure my thoughts are quite in order, but I think you can all get my drift. With this, a lot of money can be spent on more long-term capital projects and player remuneration. The market has gone nuts and the governing bodies have to see this. We need to wake-up from the Lala Land of Arabian money