It is the summer transfer window in club football and football fans throughout the world are excited. Why? Because this is every team’s chance to buy and trade some of the most talented players around the world and strengthen their team’s squad. And in the past few transfer windows, in particular, the amount spent on players has gone bonkers!
Earlier the players were traded for a pretty cheap price but just like any other thing in this world, the cost of transferring players between the clubs has risen tremendously. Earlier only the Spanish club Real Madrid was known to spend astronomical amounts to buy ‘Galacticos’ but in the past few years, other teams haven’t turned away from the spotlight. If you are to consider the list of the top 10 costliest players of all time, it is Real Madrid who has spent the top dollar to get the players into their squad. Before last year, Real Madrid held the record for costliest transfer of all time when they bought Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspurs F.C. for £85.3million and before that, they were still holders of the costliest transfer of all time when they bought Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United F.C. for £80m. But in the summer window of 2016, Manchester United broke that record when they bought back Paul Pogba from Juventus F.C. for £89.3m. Again, if you were to have a look at the top 10 costliest transfers of all time, you will notice that majority of the transfers were done post-2014. Earlier, spending such mammoth amounts on players would’ve been considered criminal, morally at least. But nowadays, the teams aren’t hesitating to spend big as their earnings have progressively increased in the past few years.
Talking of earnings, Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid is the highest earner in world football as he earns $93m per year closely followed by Lionel Messi of Barcelona who earns $80m per year. Now, these earnings include the money they receive not only for playing football but also from endorsements, advertisements, etc.
In the past year, the Chinese took the footballing world by surprise when they started spending humongous amounts to attract top players from European football. And for the amount they were willing to pay for the players and to the players, it is really difficult for the players to decline the deal. Carlos Tevez of Shenhua FC gets paid £615,000 per week in world football which is roughly ₨5,18,16,678 and is the highest earner per week in pure footballing terms. Closely, Oscar of Shanghai SIPG follows. He earns £400,000 per week. Now this money excludes all the money from endorsements and such. The situation is pretty bad though. It has gotten out of hands as the clubs cannot afford to pay the players their weekly wages! And they have been threatened to be booted out of the league if they do not honour the contracts.
It can be understood that China being such a financially able power looks to attract top players to increase their clubs’ popularity in world football. A few years back Russian clubs faced a similar situation when they signed players up for crazy amounts and when they eventually couldn’t pay the players their dues, they were booted out of the league. But these are just clubs looking to build themselves a name.
Nowadays it’s the top clubs of Europe joining in the madness by throwing away huge amounts just to enhance their positions. The transfer window of 2017, in particular, has seen teams pay huge amounts to get players of their choice. It almost seems like you are playing in the virtual world of EA FIFA! The fans’ demands, the clubs’ revenues, their fan following has all shot up tremendously.
The latest rumours have it that 25 years old Neymar Jr. of Barcelona is looking to move away from them to Paris Saint Germain of France. The player has a release clause of £222million i.e., Rs. 22.2crores! And that’s just the release clause which the club has to pay to get a chance to buy him. To complete the transfer, PSG, as per the rumours, is very much ready to cough up £500m. Just look at the atrocity of that. For that amount, you can build a new football stadium! Another rumour is that rising star of Monaco FC Kylian Mbappe has reportedly agreed to a deal of £166m, and he is just 19 years old! That amount of money for even a kid with great potential seems nuts!
It is very sad to see football become a business. Earlier loyalty used to be a huge part of club football. Loyalty to a club made players living legends. But today, such money thrown around makes it difficult to refuse. There is no shortage of talents in the footballing world. But with money associated so heavily with it, importance starts to fade away.