Are football transfers pricing themselves out of the game?

THIS week has seen the end of the transfer window and we have to ask ourselves the question, can the football clubs afford the high transfer fees?

The Argentinian midfielder Angel Di Maria was handed over to Manchester United from Real Madrid this week for a whopping £59.7m (€74.63m). The highest fee ever paid by a British club for a player transfer.

The CIES Football Observatory, who use a formula to predict the transfer fees, estimated that Di Maria was worth in the region of £36m (€ 45m), so why did Manchester United pay nearly £24m (€ 30m) over the top for this international player? According to Raffaele Poli, the co-founder of The Football Observatory, the explanation is simple; a bad season for Manchester United last year and the bad beginnings of this season coupled with the fact that Di Maria didn’t really want to leave Real Madrid would have pushed the price of the transfer through the roof.

United also paid around £13m (€16.25m) too much for midfielder Ander Herrera, who signed for £29m (€36.25m). The teenage left back Luke Shaw cost around £27m (€32.4m), but he moved for that amount plus an extra £5m (€6.25m) in add-ons. Therefore according to the Football Observatory, United overpaid by nearly £42m (€52.5m) on those three transfers.

Whilst these figures look extremely high and we ask ourselves if the transfers fees are climbing into oblivion, we must also accept that the Premier League needs to pay these amounts if they want any chance of competing at the top and for fans of the top clubs, there is only one statistic that will justify a player’s transfer fee at the end of the season – the number of trophies they help the team win.

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