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Are Football Clubs Blinkered By Big Transfer Fees?
Footytubeblog (Blog) 4 years ago
We are at that stage in the Premier League season when we start to witness the impact, if any, every club's summer signings are making. After every window slams shut all eyes are on the biggest signing of the summer, while the ones that go fairly unnoticed regularly suffer the same fate of being ignored throughout the season.

We all know about Fernando Torres' disastrous £50 million move to Chelsea from Liverpool and Andy Carroll's equally disastrous £35 million move to Anfield from Newcastle. Both deals have turned out to be bad business and a complete waste of money.

But what about the players that have moved clubs for small fees; or even on free transfers that are working wonders at their new clubs. They are players that never get the limelight they deserve and this begs the question of whether big name players are really worth their over-inflated price tags.

Take West Ham's Mohamed Diame, for instance. Sam Allardyce snapped him up on a free transfer from Wigan in the summer and he has arguably been their best, most consistent performer in their highly impressive start to the Premier League campaign. You could also argue that he has been one of the best performers in his position in the top-flight, too. He has gone unnoticed by many because it wasn't a big money deal and it didn't involve two of the biggest clubs in the top flight.

This season we have also been introduced to Michu. Swansea signed the Spaniard from La Liga side Rayo Vallecano for £2 million and he has repaid them by scoring eight goals in 14 appearances in all competitions. Now that is good business! I am guessing he would have been signed for 10 times that amount if one of the more wealthy clubs in the league knew how good he really was.

Now let us look at Stewart Downing's move to Liverpool from Aston Villa in the summer of 2011. He was bought for a reported £20 million and, at that time, was regarded as one of the best attacking wingers in the Premier League. Since his move he has scored four goals and assisted five in 61 appearances in all competitions. That works out to be £5 million per goal and a huge £4 million per assist. That, for a player bought for £20 million is a poor return and, subsequently, poor business.

The list of players who have been signed for next to nothing over the years and have gone on to become top Premier League performers is endless, while the list of players signed for big money and have become well known top-flight flops is even bigger.

That brings me on to the oncoming January transfer window. Chelsea are reported to be prepared to pay around forty, fifty or even sixty million (depending on what paper you read or believe) for Atletico Madrid's Radamel Falcao. If that is indeed true and they pay that sort of money, you will have to sit back and ask why they hadn't learnt from their Torres mistake.

They wasted £50 million on a player that was performing well for Liverpool but couldn't replicate his goal scoring prowess at Stamford Bridge, so what is to say paying a similar amount for a player who has never played in the Premier League will have the same outcome? It is a debate that will have two very strong arguments on both sides, but if clubs like Chelsea can't learn from their mistakes then what lies ahead for them?

Price tags on popular names in football are being inflated not only to scare teams off other club's prized assets, but to trick them in to believing that paying over the odds for them will reap them immediate rewards. But how often have we seen that happen? Sergio Aguero at Manchester City is one, while Wayne Rooney at Manchester United is another deal worth mentioning as money well spent.

But with so much at stake in football these days I fear clubs signing over priced players will never end, but I think it is about time clubs starting taking a more careful approach to their transfer policies. Whatever happened to scouting up and coming players, bringing them in and watching them shine?

It is all about immediate success these days and that is why we are seeing ridiculous price tags being slapped on the foreheads of typically average footballers. It will always be a case of 'that club needs a striker and we have got one who has scored a lot recently so they will have to pay 10 times his worth to get him.' That is, unfortunately, the sorry truth of most transfers in football these days.

I'll end on Wilfried Zaha's reported move to a Premier League club in January. He is a class act, of course, but with no Premier League experience he already has a £20 million price tag on him, even at 20-years-old.
Worth £20 million? No way. But because the Crystal Palace owners have given him that price tag, the Premier League's elite will be prepared to pay it. Blinkered, I tell you. Absolutely blinkered.

Written by James Jones

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