24 August 2016
This summer’s transfer window has undoubtedly seen some major big money switches that have got every stakeholder in the football business talking.
First it was Manchester United’s acquisition of Paul Pogba from Juventus for a world record transfer fee of £89m making him more expensive than the likes of Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
Then it was Manchester City’s acquisition of John Stones from Everton for £47m making him the world’s second most expensive defender after David Luiz at age 22.
With these huge and questionable transfer fees already paid for unproven talents, clubs across Europe have started inflating the asking price for their players to the frustration of top English Premier League (EPL) managers.
Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger is one of the top EPL managers who have expressed their frustration.
Goal.com quotes Wenger as saying: “today, in Europe, you have two markets. One for the English clubs and one for the rest of Europe.
“When the buyer is English, it is true that it multiplies the transfer by two or three – or sometimes by 10.
“If an English club does not come in, he is worth £5m (€5.8m) but, if an English club comes for the same player, he is worth £35m (€40.6m) or £40m (€46.4m) or £50m (€58m).”
Wenger here is talking from a very recent experience. He had initially been hopeful of signing German center defender Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia for £20m (€23.2m) only for the sellers to more than double the asking price to a reported £50m (€58m).
Other cases in reference are the acquisition of Christian Benteke from Liverpool by Crystal Palace for £27m (€31.3m) after a disappointing spell at Anfield and Everton’s acquisition of a distinctly average Yannick Bolasie from Crystal Palace.
Sitting on a huge deposit of cash to spend in the transfer market, Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, has also grown increasingly frustrated with the status of the transfer market.
Conte said: “It’s possible to be asked for £55m (€63.9m) for a player of medium quality.
“For this reason, I said it’s a crazy, crazy market. It’s very difficult to do anything in the market with these prices and these conditions.”
From Conte’s words, it can be deduced that he has no issues paying these transfer fees if they are for top quality players, not on average ones.
Recently, Conte has had to back out of deals to acquire Romelu Lukaku, Kalidou Koulibaly and Alessandro Romagnoli due to the amount for which their respective clubs are asking.
Apparently, Conte does not think these players are worth what their clubs want to take for them.
Liverpool’s manager, Jurgen Kloop, who is in such dire need to strengthen his leaking defence following a dismal start at the season that has seen them concede five goals in two EPL matches, is also not ready to pay what the market is demanding of him to acquire a defender.
Kloop is so frustrated he can’t wait for the transfer window to close so he can focus on improving his squad instead of facing distractions from fans and the media who are asking about transfer activities.
“I really wait for the day when finally the transfer window closes because I can’t believe how obsessed you all are with it… You don’t believe for a second in things like improvement on the training pitch,” he said.
If an end does not come to the payment of these extortionate fees, it is only a matter of time before fans also start getting frustrated.
When and if this happens, this might spell the beginning of the end for the beautiful game since fans are the lifeblood that keeps the game going.