Isn’t it always the case that we look for something that’s larger or better or even flashier than what we previously when we think of replacing or restoring or upgrading?
For instance, bigger cars, large houses, smarter (and expensive) smart phones.
Over the last few years there’s been a lot of high-priced movement of players between various club’s. Modest-priced players are being replaced by those nearly twice as expensive.
The new replacement(s) aiming to stand out among the many that exist around him.
Yet part of me keeps questioning, why, why so expensive, why pay so much?
Of course, the answer revolves around the club’s “return on investment” and overall marketability which is justified during the period when due diligence is done before moving in for the kill.
This growing high spending financial steroid of a shot deep within the game plays out globally, unfortunately.
And hence it plays into our football-ing conscious, as well, and eventually into how certain fans look forward to the change in ownership rather than the club’s transfer market activity, which in itself was a taboo, decade ago, to the faithful.
Real Madrid brought in Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur for a world-record transfer fee of £85 million last year. Responding to the ridiculous sum of money paid for Bale’s services, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger referred to it as “a joke of the FFP rules set in place.”
A joke, indeed. I am not disrespecting the abilities of Bale as a footballer nor am I in a position to discuss the “true value” of a very talented individual like himself. But £85 million?
Real Madrid has the most expensive team, a glimpse of which we saw when Ancelotti fielded his first XI in the 2-0 UEFA Super Cup victory over Sevilla in mid-August, is the most valuable sports team of the year worth $3.44 billion and, as other clubs might argue, has the biggest ego. So of course they will be the ones who would aim to seek and destroy each and every opponent. However, the rhetoric had been different considering their performance against teams of top caliber, in the beginning of the season.
Coming to think of it, the showing off of a club’s financial might kicked in suitably in 2000 with the £32 million transfer fee paid by F.C. Internazionale Milano to Lazio for the services of Italian Christian Vieri. Since then apart from Hernan Crespo moving from Parma to Lazio in 2000, Real Madrid dominated the transfer records in pounds via Figo, Zidane, Kaka, Ronaldo and Bale.
The main reason why the football industry seems on a path that will spiral out of control is that it is run by a small number of enormously affluent people who often pay attention to a specific athlete player. When these buyers aim to get their hands on that individual, their true financial might show up.
In this progressively increasing global market of football which caters to billions of fans, only few clubs have the ability to compete for consideration. And the presence of these distinguished players can indirectly influence a fan’s decision to attend a game, spend on food within the stadium and buy a scarf or a jersey or any of the other memorabilia of the club. And it is proven via the likes of David Beckham, that one prominent star can have a significant impact on a club’s marketing goals.
So it makes sense.
In the recent transfer market activity, according to a report from Deloitte, Premier League clubs have spent a stupendous £835 million compared to £630 million last year. It is paradoxical that these clubs have gone on a spending spree given that the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules set by UEFA were supposed to do the exact opposite.
Certainly, all of this must come across as some bit of killjoy droning, wishing for a simpler existence that never was.
Unless strong measures are taken to care of this financial anomaly, the clash for star players will only strengthen. Yet, as it stands today, a club’s fascination with bigger and expensive, under current economical condition, will eventually raise questions that need to be answered. But till those are raised, it won’t be long before we hear of the next big transfer to hit the market.