When Manchester United broke the transfer record for a defender on Rio Ferdinand way back, everyone thought it would take eternity for such to happen again in football, little did we know it would amount to nothing in years to come. The transfer window, especially in Europe is one millions of fans observe religiously, the follower-ship goes beyond the ordinary, permutations of what their respective clubs needs and what they require to even up on rivals’ activities, for some it’s always buzzing, busy and productive which ultimately reflects on their performances in the season ahead but for some it’s a tale of anguish and what ifs, notably when your club announces huge war chest and you see little or no activity.
Factors that determine how much is spent on a player vary from age, ability and years of contract left to the bargaining power of either side, and there’s also a place for some demigods in the mould of super agents, two big names come to mind, the sensational Jorge Mendes and the eccentric Mino Raiola- one passionately hated by arguably the best gaffer to grace the premier league, Sir Alex Ferguson. In times past we’ve had tussles of back and forth, the days of Luka Modric to Real Madrid, John Obi Mikel to Chelsea eventually after the one year court ruling as regarding his previous contract with Manchester United, the protracted David De Gea fax brouhaha, the hard fought Gareth Bale move to Real Madrid, the aborted Suarez to Arsenal and the famous return of a certain showman to his old club in what remains the world record; while there are loads of sleek noiseless moves, the world of football wont forget in a hurry some that lingered to much frustration for the fans and the clubs alike.
Today, the paradigm has shifted completely from players’ willingness to move to how much is on offer, there are instances where a player’s destination has been ultimately decided by how much money his parent club wants, presently in the case of Alexis Sanchez, it appears the player would love to stay if the club matches his wage demands, if they don’t he likes to go to Manchester City where he’s sure of a more ambitious challenge and mega wages, either side it’s still down to money. Romelu Lukaku is on the verge of being unveiled by Manchester United, weeks after he was being touted to have been signed by former club Chelsea, news broke out late that the Red Devils have hijacked the transfer as Chelsea lingers on agency fee which was due to the super agent Raiola, money! Then you ask, how much is United splashing on Lukaku? £75m! Just approaching his 24th birthday, you’ll say age is on his side but for a player that’s notably known for one leg and half and some infamous first touches you begin to wonder what has happened to football.
Everyone is spending big, AC Milan are trying to return to the force they used to be, the petrichor of their history is now so stale they need to rejig, they’ve done some shrewd businesses and still counting but at how much? Let’s throw some names in and the price tags; Real Madrid seems to have paid back Manchester United with the Alvaro Morata 79 staggering million pounds price tag, Alvaro who? Yes he’s young but he could also be out till next April with just one Stoke City tackle, Liverpool were hot on the heels of Virgil Van Dijk but they heard the Saints aren’t playing with their center back and they want £50m, Arsenal have just broken their transfer record with the unveiling of £52m Alexander Lacazette and it’s being rumoured that either Lemar or Mahrez will join also for mega bucks, United aren’t done in the market, they most definitely will add and it won’t be cheap, Chelsea have been quiet, Lukaku is off their grasps but they will still likely spend above sixty million on Costa’s replacement, BVB have splashed almost 80 freaking million pounds on Aubemeyang and Monaco are not even on the five digits with anyone on nineteen year old Mbappe, hey… will money eventually wear socks and boots and take to the pitch?
The cliche, money isn’t everything certainly doesn’t make sense to the football world, if Manchester United could shell £89m for a player they let go for nothing and the same manager that saw Lukaku being surplus to requirements having him back for three times the amount he sold him for or more, with Barcelona yet to sign and stalling on their big money big for Marco Verrati, be sure they won’t go easy on their account officers when it’s time to bring out the cheque books. Questions must be asked of financial fair play rules, despite all the big bucks flying around, no one has been punished or even prosecuted, double standards or lips service? Whichever way, these players aren’t worth the amount being bandied around and they shouldn’t be forgiven if tax collectors find them guilty anytime soon whether they’re angry or nah.