With the transfer market in full swing, and with the even bigger TV money flowing freely…it has become even more obvious that value for money is a concept that is less frequent when deals happen.
I have looked through all transfers in England, Spain, Germany and Italy so far and it has really struck me how in those other 3 leagues, players move for very reasonable fee’s – making it blatantly obvious that foreign clubs have ‘an English price’ and then a price for others, something the president of Villarreal made abundantly clear when Eric Bailly moved to Man Utd last summer.
A prime example of the Premier League’s overspending is Kyle Walker – £45m plus add-ons to Man City, yet when you look around the other leagues there are right backs who are probably just as capable/talented, but have moved for a fraction of the price. Rick Karlsdorf has moved to Roma from Feyenoord for £11m, while they have also signed attacking full back Bruno Peres for a similar fee from Torino. Andrea Conti has moved from Atalanta to Milan for £21m, and again is one of Italy’s most talented players.
The same can be said for the centre half position – Michael Keane costing Everton £30m – Omer Toprak cost Dortmund £10m, Nicklas Sule cost Bayern £17m, Benatia cost Juventus £14m, Musacchio cost AC Milan £15m and the same club signed Leonardo Bonucci – a world class defender, for an extra couple of million.
The only value for money English clubs are getting is when players are either very close to the end of their contracts, or there are clauses that allow them to leave for such a low fee – Sandro Ramirez and Florian Lejeune both prime examples costing Everton and Newcastle £5m and £8m respectively.
Bar those two, and maybe a few others such as Henry Onyekuru (£6.7m), Christian Atsu (£6m) and Will Hughes (£7m) – there are very few other examples! Man City have spent over £100m on Walker, Bernardo Silva and Ederson. Man Utd have spent similar on Lukaku and Lindelof, Chelsea have spent £60m+ on Rudiger and Bakayoko. Liverpool and Arsenal have spent obscene money on Salah, a Premier League flop, and Alexandre Lacazette.
Even the smaller sides are getting involved – Huddersfield spent over £40m so far on the likes of Mounie, Ince, Mooy and Depoitre – all completely unproven players costing on average £10m each, with the exception of Depoitre who was nearer the £5m mark after a poor spell in Portugal.
Premier League clubs may be earning much more than foreign counterparts, but in equal measure they are being ripped off and taken to the cleaners in nearly every transfer, and its worse when clubs in the Premier League deal between themselves – Lukaku, Pickford, Keane and Walker prime examples – £175m for those four alone!
Again, having looked through other leagues transfers’ there are some steals! Bruma has moved to Leipzig from Galatasaray for £10m, Gnabry to Bayern for £7m, Tolisso for £35m. Then there is Italy – Milan have signed Silva, Calhanoglu, Rodriguez, Musacchio, Kessie, Conti, Bonucci and a few more for around £140m – but rest assured if a British club was interested in any of them, the price would double – Bonucci linked with Chelsea for over £50m.
Some blame can be apportioned to the Chinese Super League and their hyper-inflation on wages and fee’s – but even their governing body are putting up taxes on foreign imports and limiting clubs to specific player quota’s.
As mentioned, unless there are release clauses, you are paying ‘The Premier League Premium’ – which is all well and good for many, but I’ve recently seen Norwich asking £16m for Jacob Murphy, with a year left on his current contract…although thats a mix of Premier League Premium and English Premium…so god help Newcastle in brokering a deal there!
It’s very clear that there is value for money about on the continent, but in England – it is dead and buried. Clubs are paying extortionate fee’s for bang average players and I think at some stage it will lead to a gridlock in transfers as eventually clubs will stop paying fee’s, players will start running down contracts and things may get back to normal…we can only hope.