What’s it Worth- a retort

January 28, 2010

Now I knew Ross would write a piece after our little debate on Monday, and it’s only right for me to respond in kind. Let’s be clear on one thing; I find it hard to accept that anybody is worth £25 million. The money in the game is getting utterly ridiculous, and it’s only a matter of time before there is a financial slump similar to Serie A in the 90s.

However, whether we like it or not, transfer fees have now inflated dramatically, especially for forwards. This is because it is generally accepted that putting the ball in the net is the hardest job in the game, and it would seem £25 million is the going rate for a quality striker and goalscorer. It’s the difference between being succesful, competing for trophies, or fighting against relegation at worst, or mid-table mediocrity at best.

Carlos Tevez has scored 18 goals so far this season, and considering we’re only in January, that’s a good start in anybody’s book.

But the inflation in players prices because of goal scoring isn’t new, even if it’s just a season of goals. It has happened for years and years. From Collymore to Shearer, to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, it’s far from new even in the crazy, Premier League era. Shearer doubled the transfer record when he went to Newcastle, and it is a terrifying prospect what a 25-year-old Shearer would be worth these days. But what is it that these players have in common? Goals, and lots of them.

If you look through the Premiership, there aren’t many 20 goal a season players. In the bottom half of the table as it stands, I can think of only one: Darren Bent. The reason these clubs are in the bottom half? Generally, because they have a lack of goals. A club might survive with a 10-12 goal striker, but if they want to get anywhere, they need a striker who can hit 20 to go with their 10, 12, 15 goal forward.

It’s interesting that Ross points to Beckham, and says his value was £25 million which wouldn’t have been paid unless he was the world’s most recognised player. I’m not so sure, as he may have been worth more to a club on the field if he wasn’t trying to set up his “Empire”. Certainly, Sir Alex Ferguson thought so. Indeed, had it not been for the “Beckham Empire”, he may have never left Manchester United.

With Beckham being a wide midfielder, it’s unfair to quantify him by goals alone. That being said, he must have made 20 goals a season with his crossing, and scored 10 or so, which certainly contributes to his team’s success.

However, Christiano Ronaldo has certainly raised the bar, and his £80 million transfer fee certainly demonstrates that. Now some of this fee is certainly just inflation, but what is the big difference between Ronaldo and Beckham? Both are widely recognised faces. Both are wingers. Both create a lot of goals. However, Ronaldo will score 20 goals plus for his side. Indeed, his 44 goals in a season were instrumental in United winning both the Premier League and European Cup.

And if clubs want to continue being succesful, they need these 20 goal a season players. Manchester City bought both Tevez and Adebayor believing that they would be players of that calibre, players who would help them get into the top 6 at worst. If they achieve this aim, Tevez will have been worth every penny. Just like a Torres, Rooney, Drogba or Van Persie are, all of whom are 20-goal players.

As for the facetious comment about Robert Earnshaw, if he did score 20 goals in the top flight I’ve no doubt Forest would stay in the division. Considering clubs earn £30 million through just being in the Premier League, I’d say the £18 million Ross suggested for Earnshaw would be a good deal all round.