The football world went crazy a few years ago. All that has happened since is that it has become steadily more crazy with each passing season.
It started, more or less, when Cristiano Ronaldo was sold to Real Madrid for £85 million. This became the benchmark for the world’s “top” players and, at the time, only Lionel Messi would have fetched the same or slightly more.
Fast forward several years and Gareth Bale has now become the world’s most expensive player. This is not because he is the best in the world, he isn’t, in fact he is only in the top ten at present. The price was more a representation of his age, potential and natural inflation over the period since Ronaldo’s transfer.
There is now talk of Paul Pogba becoming the most expensive player in the world to move between two clubs. What is remarkable about this potential move is that it is likely to be to a club he only left four years ago. More remarkably, he left for a compensation fee of around £800K having run down his contract.
Another unusual fact, for a player being touted for such a high price, is that he is not recognised as a goalscorer. He will score the occasional goal but he is, ostensibly, a midfielder. The knock-on effect from this transfer, should it happen, is that the price of world class strikers would rise dramatically as they have always been prized above any other position on the pitch.
An example of this has already materialised in the ridiculous fee being mentioned for Gonzalo Higuain, a vastly overrated player who’s manager has already said is too fat! Any interested club can enter into negotiations with his club as long as they meet the buy-out clause of £78.5 million. This for an overweight 29 year old who’s last achievement, unbelievably, was keeping Sergio Aguero out of the Argentina team during the Copa America.
Unfortunately, unless a form of transfer cap is brought in by FIFA, there will be no end to the spiralling fees. If a maximum could be placed on what a player may be sold for, then he will have a straight choice between one club and another. Of course, some clubs will always offer a better pay package than others, whether that be in bonuses, or commissions on shirt sales, etc.
This should not make a lot of difference as, at the top end of the scale, the best players will move because of an ambition to better themselves rather than more money. The majority of them already have more than they will ever spend.