Liverpool are paying phony prices for players. The recently agreed transfer of Sadio Mane for a staggering £34 million is increasing evidence of inflated pricing in the English Premier League. Mane is in his own right a good young player, he has had success in the Austrian League with Red Bull Salzburg and at 24 is still to reach his prime. Mane can’t be held at fault for Liverpool paying a king’s ransom for his services.
Rumblings of discontent from Liverpool fans over the signing are mainly focused on the fee. Justification for this discontent focuses on fans perceived worth of an unproven player. Especially in comparison to other available players in a similar price range. Questions are quite rightly asked as to why such huge fees for unproven quality are being paid in the Premier League. Upon further analysis this may actually reflect upon the true quality of the league itself.
Liverpool Are Paying Phony Prices.
Historically, transfers in the Premier League over just the last four to five years have risen immensely. Close to five years ago Manchester United signed Robin Van Persie from rivals Arsenal for a fee of 24 million pounds. The player was at the time a proven international player and the then current Player of the Year. Van Persie was Premier League top goal scorer when Manchester United bought him. It looked at the time to be brilliant business and it proved so when Van Persie was instrumental in guiding the Red Devils back to the title in his first season at the club.
In comparison Liverpool just six months prior to the Van Persie signing had purchased Andy Carroll from Newcastle United for a huge £35 million fee. This young player was as yet unproven in the Premier League despite some encouraging performances for the Geordies. Since then, Manchester City signed Wilfried Bony for approximately £28 million. Add to this approximately £150,000 per week in wages and it soon adds up. The list of huge transfer fees paid for unproven players (at the very top level) by Premier League clubs is extensive. Players like, Jack Rodwell, Luke Shaw, John Obi Mikel, Anderson and Anthony Martial all signed after probably just one good season with their former clubs. And who remembers Baba Rahman the £21 million left back for Chelsea?
Overhyped, Overpaid, Overinflated.
Liverpool of course are prime culprits of over inflating Premier League transfer fees. Signings such as Christian Benteke, Adam Lallana, and Lazar Markovich have not proven overall that they have justified the money spent. Big money flops like Fabio Borini, Mario Balotelli and Andy Carroll are best consigned to memory as experiments that failed. Again, the players are not at fault here. At fault is the huge wealth the Premier League generates via television markets, sponsors, corporate and regular ticket sales and the influx of billionaire owners.
Competition Versus Overall Quality.
Leicester winning the Premier League and the recent League Cup win by Swansea proves how competitive English football is. On any given match day a so called lesser team can beat one of the traditional powers. La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, and the Bundesliga, are claimed to be not as competitive. One could comfortably place bets that Barcelona, Bayern Munich, PSG and Juventus would be first or second in their leagues for the next five years. However the overall superior quality of the very top sides from Spain and Germany is not in doubt.
Decline in European Competitions.
Paying high fees for players does not guarantee success. English clubs have struggled overall in the major European competitions since Chelsea’s triumph in 2012. The regular placement of English teams in the last four of competitions has declined since 2008. In contrast since 2005, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid , Barcelona, Sevilla and the emerging Atletico Madrid are regular combatants at the business end of big European competitions.
Failure against Iceland in this year’s Euros is further evidence of the decline in the overall quality of the English game. England’s alleged best talents such as Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Adam Lallana all have fetched or would fetch mega fees in the Premier League transfer market. It would be interesting to see how many of those players would be purchased by the big European powerhouses.
To quote Liverpool legend Didi Hamann and his comments post the Iceland v England game.
“’The Premier League is a fraud.’ ‘They sold a Skoda for a Lamborghini for the last 15 years.’ ‘Players should light a candle every night when they go to bed because if they were Icelandic, Portuguese, Dutch or German they would struggle to earn a quarter of money they’re on now.”
High Premier League transfer fees are evidently no guarantee of buying proven quality players.