For some football fans, it’s already been a summer transfer window to forget; for others, an unforgettable window that’s still open for 3 more weeks.
From a once-unbelievable record amount paid for a certain Neymar to full-backs now costing well over the £50m mark, it’s no more surprising to wake up to headlines tagging the current summer transfer window with words like “crazy”, “incredulous”, among other nicely crafted expletives.
Crazy amounts have become the order of the day as football clubs now do all in their power to get the players they want. These clubs will usually have a back-up option – with the help of statistics and analytics – to the player of interest, anticipating either an over-pricing or a change of heart by the club coach/manager.
This was the scenario with Pep Guardiola and Dani Alves. Although it’s hard to really say what made Dani Alves to terminate his contract with the Italian giants, it’s unmistakable Guardiola was one of the driving factors behind that move.
With Alves almost assuredly on his way to the “Etihad City”, PSG swooped in and literally hijacked the move with their reported offer of a better salary package. For a player aged 30-plus who has pretty much been there and done that in modern day football, the prospect of building a project with a revered leader paled in comparison with the weekly pay being dangled by the state-run French side.
Luckily for Guardiola, there was a Plan B, C and even D (the only reason that makes the Danilo move sensible). Being back-up plans didn’t influence their prices though. One was bought for over £50m. Crazy football world you may say but it seems like it’s just beginning to get crazy.
With the kind of money made available to these football clubs – especially the Premier League sides – through TV revenues, it’s hard to not spend – except you’re a Tottenham side looking to use the money to expand your “Hart Lane” while you nurture the academy graduates with the crumbs that fall from your construction table.
It’s even worse if it’s a state-backed football club like PSG. Whether it is £198m or £199m, with billionaires on board, they can afford to spend any amount on any name that comes to mind. Now, the choice to either leave a club or stay put can depend on the player (Messi) or manager (Arsene Wenger-Sanchez).
So, maybe there’s still some sanity in the football world. But, with the world record transfer fee leaving the eight-digit region for the nine-figure arena, the effect of this shift is bound to be long-lasting and severe. Of course, the football world is big enough to cope with it but how exactly will this crazy summer transfer window affect football?
- No player is untouchable
Maybe Lionel Messi does not fall into this category. But using the Neymar transfer as an example, there’s no player that is off limits to any club at the moment, no thanks to the increased spending power of football clubs across Europe.
Yes, there’s the Financial Fair Play rule which is meant to check excessive spending. But what happens when club owners circumnavigate these rule and finance the club by having one of their companies sign a sponsorship or club-renaming deal with the football club – something some have called financial doping?
The account balance of the club is made fat. There’s more than enough to spend and the only two things to be discussed becomes the player’s preference and the asking price of the selling club. Barcelona and their fans are still reeling from the shock of losing Neymar. That kind of shock may gradually become a constant feature in the football world.
- Vague benchmarks
When Paul Pogba joined Manchester United, his inability to find the back of the net in his first few games was seen by many as a failure. Because he was the world’s most expensive signing at the time, the world judged a midfielder based on his inability to score goals.
But during the time, he was doing the job of a midfielder almost perfectly well: making accurate passes and creating chances. The direction in which the football transfer market is going will cause fans to be misled and expect way too much. Instead of enjoying the beautiful game, the focus will be on individual players.
- Even more ridiculousness
When rumors reported that Real Madrid had agreed to pay a fee of €180m for Kylian Mbappe, it sounded too ridiculous to even believe at the time. Who pays that much for a teenager? Then came the Neymar deal, setting a new standard in the process.
You can expect the figure to increase as time goes by. Selling clubs will try to take advantage of this by slapping huge fees on their players or inserting mind-boggling buy-out clauses in their contracts. There will also be a special searchlight to look out for clubs who are desperate. Prepare of the ride ahead ladies and gents because it’s about to get even more ridiculous.
The this year’s summer window winding down to a close, do you think your favorite club has bought enough or they still need to do business? How about the signing of the season? Which club do you think got the best deal this window? Leave us a comment and let us start a discussion.Tags: summer transfer window, transfer window