How have the world record transfer fee's progressed and would we swap such monumental money for a financially stable game?
Steven Fletcher has signed for Sunderland in a whopping £14 million deal. To put this into context 20 years ago that would have made Steven the most expensive footballer in history and despite his goalscoring pedigree £14 million does seem like an astonishing amount of money. Now the most expensive Scot in football history Steven Fletcher has an accumulative cost of £24 million accounting for his previous transfers to Burnley and Wolves.
So how has the world transfer record progressed since 1992.
In 1992 Jean Pierre Papin became the world’s first £10 million player after moving from Marseille to Juventus and after being briefly broken by Gianluca Vialli the record was then passed to the much forgotten Gianluigi Lentini after he completed a £13 million deal from Torino to AC Milan.
The football world had come a long way in 10 years, when the record was Barcelona’s signing of Diego Maradona for a measly £3 million. That record stuck for 4 years until Alan Shearer’s huge move to Newcastle from Blackburn.
The record began soaring from that point onward with Ronaldo’s £19.5 million move to Inter Milan in 1997 followed by the astonishing £21.5 million Real Betis paid Sao Paolo for the over-rated Denilson.
A year later and the fee had jumped up an astonishing amount with Christian Vieri’s £32 million transfer to Inter Milan; before a year later Hernand Crespo beat it by a couple of million by leaving Parma for Lazio.
The last 4 records however have been set by Real Madrid; Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Kaka and now Cristiano Ronaldo at an astonishing £80 million.
The record is becoming harder to break with a worldwide recession and crackdown on overzealous club spending but the idea of the £100 million transfer does not seem so farfetched.
Who is to say, but if anyone was to ever try and prise Lionel Messi from Barcelona you would be looking at that sort of figure and the future progression of players such as Neymar, Wilshere or Bale could lead them to such monumental totals.
But can we complain about the money currently being pumped around the game. The money being spent may be to win trophies, fight relegation, score goals or whatever but when you strip it all back perhaps as far back as the first international record transfer, Uruguayan legend Juan Schiaffino’s £72,000 move to AC Milan from Penarol, the money is being paid for us.
Because success invariably entertains and sustains us in the modern game and the money these clubs fork out is the fruit of every subscriber, season ticket holder or homekit buyer’s investment.
That is why there is such uproar when clubs go bust in the pursuit of such success or when money is wasted on a flagging flop.
A large portion of the blame lies at our doors for the ever increasing transfer fees in British and World football, but would we change that? I am not quite sure we would.
image: © Jan Solo