Football has gone mad. The days when players would stay loyal to one club for their entire career are long gone. Anything between $40,000,000 and $50,000,000 has become a normal price tag for a player in the transfer market. What does this imply for the future of football?
Take the example of Paul Pogba, who left Manchester United in 2012 to join Juventus at a young age in order to gain more experience since he was not getting enough playing time at United.
He played with superstars such as Buffon, Pirlo, and Marchisio who helped him develop as a player. Pogba gained worldwide attention, and United, going through a crisis at the time, took note of that. Four years later, Pogba was the most expensive player last summer after his $125,000,000 transfer from Juventus to Manchester United.
If United had made use of his potential, this large sum of money could have been spent elsewhere. The money spent on him, however, is not a complete waste. Since his return to United, the team added a few trophies to its name. Still at the beginning of his prime, Pogba is set to stay for many years to come.
However, there are other cases where such huge fees are very questionable. Gonzalo Higuain, for example, transferred from Napoli to Juventus for around $105,000,000. Higuain was 28 years old at the time, the peak age of a footballer. Juventus cannot profit from him in his later years as his performance will decline.
There are many factors to take in when comparing prices now to prices 20 years ago such as TV and media rights, shirt sales, social media, and brand deals which all give clubs more revenue to spend.
This summer, Neymar was sold to PSG from Barcelona for $263,000,000 which is more than double the previous world record held by Pogba. Neymar’s transfer is considered a game changer in the world of football. Soon after Neymar’s transfer, the market took advantage of the situation. Borussia Dortmund sold Ousman Dembele, a 20 year old fresh player, to Barcelona for $170,000,000.
At the end of the day, no matter how much is spent on a player, if they own up to their price, fans will forget how much was spent and look at the gain made by the club.