Eden Hazard is being touted as a transfer target for a number of Premier League clubs at around £43million – is this too much for an unproven player?
Lille’s Belgian winger is not the only player to come from one of Europe’s smaller leagues and to have a large price tag attached to them.
Porto forward Hulk has been tipped to be the next world record-breaking transfer, with his club putting an £84million release clause in his contract and his agent claiming it is not too much.
Manchester United have been linked with a move for Ajax playmaker Christian Eriksen and reports have suggested the Dane may cost anywhere between £20-£25million – a whopping price for a 20-year-old who is only just starting out.
While there is no suggestion that these players have not shown exciting potential and obvious talent, there is a legitimate question over whether they have been tested at the highest level.
Ligue 1 is clearly an exciting competition, as is the Primeira Liga, but it is a fact that many of the best players taking part in it leave soon after coming to prominence.
It is even more so for Porto and other Portuguese teams, who do not a have a large turnover and depend on player sales for a large proportion of their income.
It is not unusual for players to move from these leagues and do very well in England, Spain and Italy, but they could not possibly have performed against strong enough opposition on a regular basis where they currently ply their trade.
It is not their fault that the countries they make their names in do not have the resources and competition that are present in Europe’s more prestigious domestic competitions.
The reported price tag is not always the fee paid for in the deal but it seems as though the figures being suggested are becoming more and more unrealistic, as well as being unreflective of the quality of the player.
Now, there is no doubt that inflation will have played a key role, but it seems as though the transfer market continues to grow even in a time where, globally, most people and companies are having to watch what they spend.
If the £83million mooted to sign Hulk is true, then he will become the most expensive player ever – and for what? What has he actually done to deserve a fee of that size?
The Telegraph have reported that Chelsea are in negotiations with Porto for a reduced fee of somewhere around £34million, but even that is over the top.
At least Hulk has won two Portuguese titles and a Europa League, but a domestic double in France is all Hazard has done, which makes the £43million seem ridiculous.
Many will trot out the line that players are worth as much as people are willing to pay for them, but that is not true; players COST as much as people are willing to pay for them.
Before there is an argument over this, recall that Zinedine Zidane cost Real Madrid £45.6million when he moved from Juventus in 2001.
That was over a decade ago, but has football changed so much in ten years that a 21-year-old who has won double, can cost nearly as much as a World and European Champion?
For greater relevancy see Kaka’s move to Real in 2009, which cost the Spaniards somewhere around £56million.
At the time the Brazilian had been a Serie A champion, a Champions League winner and was the Fifa World Player of the Year in 2007.
Even Cristiano Ronaldo’s world-record £80million was for a player who had won three Premier League titles, a Champions and was also a past winner of the Ballon d’Or.
Then you consider the £35million Liverpool gave Newcastle United for Andy Carroll, which seems utterly absurd when you consider his modest track record of success and goal scoring.
What happened to paying for quality? It does not seem to make sense that a club would pay more for a player than has been played before, even though he has not anything even close to not being done before.