How much is your “average” top flight footballer worth these days? I am not talking about a world beater, or someone who will constantly put in game changing performances. Just somebody who has flashes of brilliance, but does not have the consistency that would take them to the next level.
Everton have just signed Yannick Bolasie for £25m from Crystal Palace. Other transfer fees this summer include West Ham splashing out £20.5m on Andre Ayew and Georginio Wijnaldum joining Liverpool from Newcastle for £25m.
These are players who impressed in the Premier League last season, they did okay. But none of them did enough to be worth that amount, surely?
Bolasie’s Crystal Palace won two of their 16 top flight fixtures in 2016 and finished 15th, although the winger did spend some time out injured, Ayew’s Swansea were three places higher and Wijnaldum and Newcastle were relegated.
Now, of course one player does not impact every result, but how many times have Tranmere fans said things like “If it wasn’t for player X, we’d have finished nowhere this season.”
The three names listed above are all attacking players who would, or maybe should, be expected to have a major say on each match they play in, especially at those transfer fees.
You would think that such huge sums of money put pressure on new signings to put in a string of good performances to win fans over.
But it seems that £25m, or thereabouts, is now the “going” rate for a decent player. Can you imagine that a few years ago?
Of the 50 biggest transfers of all time, 40 have happened since 2008. That includes the recent world record of nearly £90m for Paul Pogba’s switch from Juventus to Manchester United, as well as Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo joining Real Madrid for £86m and £80m respectively.
The amount that clubs are paying continues to rise. There is more money at the top of football than ever before.
I was speaking to one former Everton striker a few weeks ago who said players never thought they would see the day when £10,000 was a standard weekly wage – let alone the £300,000 some lads are getting now.
It really is ridiculous. I know I’ve mentioned money in this column before, but the transfer fees are getting out of hand.
A lot of it is down to the huge TV package that clubs negotiated a few years ago and came into play this season.
It gives chairman or agents a strong hand. They know the cash is there, so can demand bigger payments.
But it is sometimes difficult to get your head around just how much is being paid.
I have nothing against the three players listed earlier; Wijnadum, Ayew and Bolasie. All are solid attackers who can offer goals and assists.
But when you consider Michael Owen cost Newcastle £16m when in his pomp, or Ruud van Nistelrooy moved to Manchester United for less than £20m, it really does put things into perspective.