What has changed?
Well, when Russian billionaires and Arab Sheiks began purchasing European clubs, I knew it would only be a matter of time before teams virtually began purchasing trophies. Gone are the days when all the teams would place an emphasis on their youth systems and promote players into their first team from there. The battles today are won off the pitch. Modern day football has turned into a bidding war. David Luiz, leaving for a mammoth £50m simply highlights this problem.
It is evident as we see players have one good season and then get sold for astronomical figures. Teenagers are being sold in the region of £20m. In the last season's winter transfer window PSG had reportedly put a £44m bid for 18 year old Adnan Januzaj. Jesus.
A complete class player Yaya Toure cost Manchester City £24m and garbage like Maroune Fellaini cost £27.5m. Weird.
What the hell is happening?
I kind of feel for Ligue 1 teams like Nantes, Montpellier and Lyon who have been attempting to get into the Champions League for donkey's years.
In the year 1999, Christian Vieri (26) was sold to Inter Milan by Lazio for £32m. This transfer was at the time a world record and one could justify the transfer, as players generally peak at the age of 26. Today, incredibly, teenagers’ buyout clauses are much more expensive than this.
In 2009, when Cristiano Ronaldo was purchased by Real Madrid for £80m, most people felt that Real had overpaid for a 22 year-old. But today one feels that they haven't, as they have been rewarded with over 250 goals.
Mario Gotze at 22 years old cost Bayern Munich £37m and is the second most expensive German player, behind Mesut Ozil. Gotze is one of the few buys that makes sense as he had won over a hundred caps at his previous club, and also is a key member of the German national team. Bayern is not a club that sells easily and they can get their money's worth with this transfer.
Asier Illaramendi? I had never ever even heard of this guy until Real Madrid announced that they had purchased him for a fee of, wait for it, £38 million. Illaramendi: 24 years old and no matches in his national team. No league titles, yet costs more than a proven quality player like Gotze.
If this isn’t insanity, then what is?
Over the past 3 seasons there have been a few transfers that make the fans wonder: IS HE REALLY WORTH IT?
Take a look at these overpaid flops:
2. Andy Carroll: Newcastle to Liverpool for £35m: At that time a young talent but many raised eyebrows at his price, and he too could be considered as a panic buy as Liverpool had to replace Fernando Torres.
3. Fernando Torres: Liverpool to Chelsea for £50m: This was at the time when Torres was among the top players in the world. He was a feared striker whilst at Anfield and upon his arrival at the Bridge he went 903 minutes without scoring a goal. Disaster.
4. Kaka: AC Milan to Real Madrid for £65m: The holder of the title of the world's most expensive player at the time was a superb player at AC Milan and big things were expected of him at Real Madrid, and for four years he featured very regularly... on the bench.
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Inter Milan to Barcelona for £69.5m: A top class player but didn't fit in with Barcelona’s tiki-taka style. Wish Barca had thought of that before purchasing him.
On the other hand, did you know the entire Atletico Madrid starting XI costs a total of £32.5 million?! With the money used to buy Gareth Bale you could by this squad 3 times and have £2.5 million left over!
The transfer season this window has not yet opened but deals have already gone through. Marc Andre Ter Stegen has joined Barcelona. Vidic has left Manchester United for Inter Milan.
However, what takes the cake is PSG’s £50m fee for David Luiz. I mean seriously, £50m for a defender? Are PSG on a mission to buy the most expensive XI in history?
This makes David Luiz (yes, that average Brazilian joker) the world's most expensive defender in footballing history. Now, the PSG centre back combination costs more than the entire strike force of Manchester United.
The Bundesliga is dead with Bayern Munich having purchased most of the stars of the closest rivals, Dortmund. The Ligue 1 has only two teams PSG and AS Monaco that can compete for trophies regularly. The EPL however still continues to remain competitive, which allows me to say that football has not yet sunk to the madness of a bidding war but is now on the brink of it.
Thanks to Atletico Madrid this year (and Borussia Dortmund last year) there is still hope for the teams whose pockets are not as deep as those of PSG, AS Monaco, Manchester City and Chelsea. These two teams show us that with smart buys and a proper manager the financially weak teams can compete with the powerhouses.
However, I leave my readers with this question: Will football be competitive if rich teams follow the policy of “If you can’t beat them, BUY them”?
- Reubyn RF