Transfer Window Anomalies

The end of another transfer window and it’s still another one that makes me constantly shake my head in shame at what has just happened. I say shame as I still can’t believe it. Some of the money spent is just laughable and I can’t see it happening anywhere else in the world to this extent except here. That’s what is shameful as I’m sure other countries are looking on and are completely bemused. There’s a weird curiosity about it and it’s strange that I’m among a minority here.

I read an interesting piece on Rooney not so long ago and it questioned whether he would be worth £50m if he wasn’t English. ‘Finally’ I thought, ‘someone fairly high up in the sporting journalism world has seen sense’. Of course he isn’t worth £50m. Nobody really should be either. In reading that piece, it made me think of something I wrote last season after Kenny Dalglish spent some of the craziest/funniest amounts on three players. £75m nearly and where are they now? One is on loan to a newly promoted side. One is playing left back to cover injuries and the other can’t even get in the side ahead of Jonjo Shelvey; a player that cost less than 1/10th of what was paid for him.

Now the window is closed, I don’t think it was entirely Dalglish’s fault. It’s the culture in this country and the air of superiority factor which has hampered nearly everything from top to bottom. Inflated prices as well as massaged egos has created this monster and I don’t believe it will ever change. Not even financial fair play will impact on the attitude or the valuations of some players in this country.

Is any English player really worth £50m? Especially one that smokes, tries his best not to be caught drinking and can’t control his own weight? Yes he is probably England’s best player but does £50m make sense when Falcao’s buy out clause is only £45m. I know who the better player is and this is just a small example when laughable figures are brought into the mix. A better comparison would be to look at Matt Jarvis who cost West Ham £10m. With only one cap to his name and relegated with Wolves, he commands a £10m figure. Capped once for his country and closer to 30 than 20, what makes him worth such an amount when Pablo Hernandez costs only £5m. Is Jarvis twice the player? Hernandez has been capped 4 times by his country and played for Valencia, not exactly a team that would be relegated. So this would lead many to believe the doubled price must be down to Premier League experience which is another flawed argument. Case in point, Michu, La Liga’s top goalscoring midfielder last season (15) cost an astounding £2m. Now he has had no problems at all adapting to the Premier League with 4 goals to his name already. Contrast that with Jordan Henderson who cost £20m and can’t get a game let alone score. I find it hard to believe that he is 10 times the player Michu is as, if anything, it’s the other way around. Another good example of the fabled adaptation argument can be used with Javier Hernandez. He scored 23 goals in his debut season for Manchester United yet only cost £6m. In comparison, Steven Fletcher who just signed for Sunderland for £12m and who, again, was relegated with Wolves is not twice the player Hernandez is. Andy Carroll is not 6 times the player either. It’s the Fletcher deal that is quite irksome though as I can’t fathom how he costs more than Podolski who is a free-scoring German international and known all over Europe. Fletcher is in fact English but plays for Scotland due to his Mother. Call me pedantic but I’m wondering if he was actually Scottish would this have had an impact on his fee.

Something I should mention here is that many clubs in Spain are in a lot of debt so it makes sense Michael Laudrup is going there to find some holiday bargains in Michu and Pablo Hernandez but I’m not sold on the fact that clubs here aren’t in debt either. Yes TV money is apportioned better here and clubs are run better but it still stands to reason that the figures compared above are, in essence, without merit.

Managers and club owners alike all complain about agent fees and how Chelsea and Manchester City have ruined the transfer market but an English mentality towards valuations of home-grown talent far outweighs what those two aforementioned clubs have done. Logically you’d have thought after Andy Carroll turned up in the top ten all time transfers on Earth that something would have changed and these inflated prices would take a tumble. On the contrary, it has snowballed out of control and I can’t see an end to it now or any time in the near future. Clubs will continue to be held to ransom and mediocre players will continue to be worth tens of millions more than is warranted and that is a crying shame.

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