Sometimes I think the Premier League clubs have done it to themselves. They’ve allowed the transfer market to go nuts.
I mean, Arsenal once signed a 16 year old unproven Theo Walcott for at least £5million, potentially rising to £12million – he hadn’t played a game in the Premier League yet. Shaun Wright-Phillips had played in the Premier League and for England, but £21million was paid by Chelsea for him to just be a squad player in 2005. Manchester City payed a then club record £19million for Brazilian Jo who had only managed to make a name for himself in Russia, to see him barely score or play. Manchester United signed a 19 year old Anderson for a reported £18million when he had barely proved himself in Portugal. David Nugent was taken to the Premier League for £4.5million after what was only an adequate lower leagues career and a surprising England call up where he stole a goal on the line in Andorra.
If you look around the Premier League, every club has paid record fees for previously unproven or unsuccessful players. Lots haven’t worked out. Should it really surprise us then that a player who followed an inspirational half of Champions League football against Inter Milan with a couple of years of personal reputation enhancement, whilst not translating this to real success for his team, is now the subject of a world record transfer bid?
The £85+ Gareth Bale deal is reportedly close to completion as I write this. All this money for a player who hasn’t won a trophy. He hasn’t even pushed his team into the top four of it’s division – he was fairly regular but not a driving force in Spurs’ 2009-10 season when they finished fourth. It was only in the back stages of this season that he found himself a regular in the position he would begin to tear teams apart from, before he was an attacking full-back who couldn’t find himself in a Tottenham winning team.
What about the signings coming in to the Premier League? How do they rank in this world of crazy money?
Well, the biggest deals have yet to be struck with Wayne Rooney still sulking and Luis Suarez not having promises kept to him. However, both are likely to move when money around £50million gets put on the table.
However, the biggest deal so far strikes of the craziness of the transfer merry-go-round. Manchester City have paid £30million for a Brazilian midfielder who has played most of his career in the Ukraine. Yes he has played plenty of Champions League football and has a UEFA Cup winning medal to complement all his domestic titles with Shaktar, but is a 28 year old with only 5 international caps who has never played in a top league really worth £30million?
City have spent biggest overall as well. Montenegro international Stevan Jovetic cost £22million from Fiorentina. Never won anything major, but experienced international and only 23 years old. Potentially overpriced. £20million went to Sevilla for Alvaro Negredo, a goal every other game striker with 14 Spain caps. 27 years old – compare it to the Spurs-Soldado I’ll discuss below and its probably quite reasonable, but otherwise its silly money. Around £15million for Jesus Navas isn’t lots by City’s standards and he has featured in Spain World Cup and European Championship winning sides. Vastly experienced in Europe and a top league, maybe this one is sensible.
Tottenham are looking to compensate for Bale somewhat by signing Robeto Soldado for £26million. Developed at Real Madrid and featuring at all levels of the Spain youth teams, he has some pedigree. A decent goal scoring record in a three year stay at Valencia and a goal every other game in his 11 cap senior international career suggest he could be worth the spend. Again though, he’s a player who hasn’t won anything during his career. All this money for a dependable rather than prolific goal scorer who hasn’t really led his team to much success. And at 28, is he going to improve to a world class standard?
Spurs’ other big money signing is Paulinho from Brazillian side Corinthians for around £17million. He has European experience, but only in Lithuania and Poland, but in his South American career he has some significant silverware – a Cope Libertadores and a FIFA Club World Cup. He also played a part in the semi- and final wins for Brazil in this years Confederations Cup in the warm up to next years World Cup. He’ll be keen to play well to keep himself in the national team picture for that world cup and add to his 17 caps so far. At 24, maybe this isn’t so ridiculous.
There have been a few other eye catching deals. Chelsea paid £18million for promise in terms of young German Andre Schurrle, but 7 goals for Germany in 24 games is impressive – just getting into that squad as a forward is good work. Its massive money, but compared to some signings that have been made this year and in the last decade or so, this one isn’t that crazy. Although, describing an £18million deal as not being that crazy just shows where we are.
Lower down the league, Victor Wanyama has only one season of major European football, playing and impressing in the Champions League with Celtic in 2012-13 season, but managed to command a £12.5miilion fee to take him to Southampton. A player worth less than a million two years ago is now apparently worth over £10million. Cardiff have arrived in the Premier League with a club record signing at £7.5million in Andreas Cornelius. Who? Well, he’s a 20 year old Dane and has come from FC Copenhagen where he was top scorer in their most recent season – his only full professional season. Yep, that’s right, one season in Denmark and he’s apparently worth £7.5million. In my opinion this could be the craziest deal of them all.
Does anyone have their own personal favourite modern extravagance of a football signing for the new season? And does anyone really thing any player, let alone one that hasn’t really done very much yet, should command the £100million Spurs are ‘holding out for’ in their negotiations with Real Madrid? Comment away football fans.
Big sports fan (Wigan Warriors, Manchester United, Pittsburgh Steelers, Lancashire County Cricket Club, St. Johnstone). Walking enthusiast.