With the silly season inching ever closer I can't help but look at the rumors and wonder how much farther this downward spiral of inflated player values can go. Soon the going rate for any old player will be 100M and only two teams on Earth can buy them, and it is those two teams that have turned the business of transfers on it's head. Now I am not saying what the Club's are doing is wrong, frankly there are no rules against it, and if a Club is foolish enough to pay exorbitant transfer fees, buyout clauses, and wages then they only have themselves to blame.
It is no secret, the two Clubs in question for me are Real Madrid and Manchester City, with Barcelona a close third. While there are still Clubs who do business proper, such as Manchester United, Arsenal, and even our very own Milan. It is the big teams with seemingly infinite supplies of money that are ruining it for the rest of us. Take the case of one Emanuel Adebayor, rumored to come to Milan in 2008 for around 15M Euros. He decides instead on a move to Manchester City, for 30M Euros, and incredible wages, can you blame him? Well yes, because first and foremost he hasn't played a meaningful minute in what seems like ages, and there is no way he was worth double what Arsenal were asking for. The problem though isn't the seller but the buyer, if Man City were foolish enough to over value Adebayor, what do you say? No, sorry, you are making a mistake just give me half of what you offered. Not to mention the wages are so high they can't even find a team willing to take the guy on loan, and in the process have created a completely unsustainable system of buying and selling. Now they are stuck with a guy who is worth a generous 12M Euros, they paid 30M, they want 18M and it just plain isn't going to happen.
Unless these teams with piles of funny money (and debt, looking at you La Liga) correct these actions things are only going to get worse. I mean is Alexi Sanchez really worth 40M, Pastore at 50M or the most audacious yet of Cavani at 100M? None of them are actually worth that price, but if Man City or Real Madrid comes in and writes the check the smart guy suddenly becomes the crazy owner who over valued his player and got close to what he was asking for. I mean even if Cavani helps you win the CL, mind you he has never played in the CL, will you really get a return on your dollar?
I also can't seem to fathom a team's willingness to pay very high dollars for relatively young talent. There was a time when you paid big money for actual talent, ie Zidane or even CRON, but now a guy like Neymar is being rumored to Chelsea at 40M pounds!? I mean here is a guy who probably weighs less in kilos than the amount he is being transferred for! A guy like Vidic or Dawson tackles that guy and he breaks into a million tiny little pieces, still not enough pieces to cover the transfer. What has Neymar done or accomplished to warrant that sort of value, star in a youtube video and a Nike commercial!? Are we paying actors or footballers? I wouldn't pay a dime over 12M for Neymar, and even then the risk is still high. Even Milan are seemingly falling into this trap with Ganso, coming off a rough knee injury yet still being valued at around 20M Euros with the Club still asking for more. Paying this high a price for young talent is a risk, but it creates a slide rule effect making real talent all that more expensive, not to mention setting a level of expectations for a 20 year old at levels beyond achievement. Will that player ever equal the investment, especially one who has a chance of failure equal to if not greater than a chance at success? Bad business all around...
So as the silly season comes upon us, read the over inflated player values with a bit of skepticism, because they aren't true. But if Clubs are willing to pay the only people left chuckling are the Clubs with the big checks in hand!