Sport Editor Henry Edwards reflects on the staggering and ever-climbing numbers that we see Premier League footballers transferred and paid for.
In the January transfer window of 2011, Liverpool's talismanic striker Fernando Torres left the Merseyside club to join Chelsea in a then eye-watering £50 million deal. The fee smashed the previously held Premier League record figures spent on players such as Robinho, Shevchenko and Ferdinand. But Torres was, at the time, arguably the most potent forward in the division, leaving one giant club to join another. The money spent, however much it was, was somewhat understandable.
Fast forward to present day and it seems that to even consider bridging the gap between our own reality and that of the football we watch each week, the money spent on footballers should be ignored. In the last couple of years, the holistic increase in player value has skyrocketed to heights too dizzy to grasp. Even scanning the window's gossip columns demands breaks to simply stop oneself from levitating upwards into a cynical land of make-believe.
I think I say this every year, but the money banded about in this year's football transfer market is ludicrous.— Matthew Mckew (@Matthew_MckewNS) August 8, 2018
Just take a look at some of the players moving for huge money this summer. Richarlison, an uncapped Brazilian winger who was nonexistent for Watford in the backend of last season, can now somehow set Everton back over £40 million. Southampton are now able to spend around £20 million on a 25-year-old Danish centre-back who didn't even make a single appearance at this summer's World Cup. Aleksandr Mitrovic is quite a handful in the box, but when did he suddenly become a player worth £22 million? The value of every footballer has literally doubled in the space of just over a year.
The money circulating around the Premier League in particular has reached a farcical quantity. The shedloads offered to clubs in the English top-flight now means that even the minnows of the division seem to have more cash than sense. It is becoming increasingly difficult to listen to pundits speak of sides like Bournemouth as if they are gallantly punching above their weight when the Cherries just splashed out £25 million on a defensive midfielder.
It is not only the established top-division sides rolling in the big bucks. Promoted outfits Fulham and Wolves have spent crazy money since securing their status as Premier League sides. Fulham, once underdog Europa League finalists, have enjoyed a summer in which they have acquired midfielder Seri for almost £30 million, Swansea defender Mawson for £15 million and the aforementioned Serb Mitrovic for over £20 million.
Fulham have equally taken Chambers on loan from the gunners
There are no longer any 'small sides' in the Premier League. By virtue of simply being there, every club sits on a mountain of cash ready to throw illustrious contracts at any player, seemingly regardless of their tangible quality. Transfer windows are fast reaching a point in which attempting to rationally comprehend the numbers involved risks alienation and disillusionment from the human and dramatic elements of the game we love. Attempting to blank out the white noise generated by obscene rumours and dumbfounding deals may just be the best policy to employ next time around.
Featured image: Unsplash / Pascal Swier
What do you think of the monopolising increase of hefty pay cheque signings this football season? Let us know: