In 1996, Alan Shearer signed for Newcastle United from Blackburn Rovers for a then-record fee of £15 million. Now, the world record transfer fee stands at £85 million, the amount Real Madrid paid Tottenham for Gareth Bale in 2013.
It is clear that transfer fees have risen at an astonishing rate, but could Anthony Martial’s move to Manchester United last summer see fees go through the roof?
Come the end of the transfer window, the Red Devils were in desperate need of a striker and turned to the Monaco's young, French forward.
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Louis van Gaal met the £36 million asking price, which could rise to £58 million based on Martial's future performances with the Red Devils. Even before the potential increase, then at the age of 19, he became the most expensive teenager in football history.
Even with a fee that was less than half of the world record, United were paying well over the odds. Monaco knew that because it was so late on in the window, the Old Trafford club would over pay amidst their desperate search for a striker.
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Despite his clear potential, the 20-year-old had played only 52 Ligue 1 matches and was yet to make a real impact, scoring just 11 goals in that time.
By spending £36 million on Martial, United were showcasing the financial power that the bigger clubs now possess in the transfer market - something that lesser clubs could use as leverage. This was abundantly clear during Tottenham’s pursuit of West Brom striker Saido Berahino.
The England international - another striker who has yet to reach his true potential - made his desire to leave Tony Pulis’ side very clear when he sent a tweet saying that he would never again play for Albion chairman Jeremy Peace. Despite Spurs’ bids reportedly reaching £25 million, the Baggies held firm.
With the new multi-billion Premier League TV due to come into play next season, alongside ever increasing sponsorship deals, clubs have more income than ever before. With all this new money coming in, transfer fees of around £20 million mean even less to clubs.
The Martial deal has proved that big clubs will pay an absurd amount of money if they think a player has the potential, even if they have very little first-team experience behind them. One big-money move could have changed the face of the transfer window forever.
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