Even in an unprecedented global pandemic, Premier League clubs still manage to spend over £1bn.
Decadent? Definitely. Crass? Certainly.
At all surprising? Absolutely not.
As Project Big Picture and the decision to charge fans £14.95 for a game not considered good enough to broadcast in the first place tell us, football is a big business and has little regard for supporters.
While the distance between elite football clubs and their fans has been more pronounced of late, Premier League clubs have been big-spending machines since the 1990s.
An era of English football romanticised considering what has happened since, major clubs were still lavishly spending even then. The connection between the reality of daily life for supporters and the institutions themselves may have been closer but all this started long ago.
To prove that point somewhat, GIveMeSport is using a study conducted by Free Super Tips showing just how much the 10 most expensive transfers in Premier League history would look if today’s inflation was applied.
10) Stan Collymore - Aston Villa, 1997
Having cost Villa a hefty £9.45m in 1997, Stan Collymore’s fee at the time would translate to a whopping £60.32m today.
Off the field problems blighted his time at Villa Park while playing for the club he supported as a boy and shouldn’t be overlooked when considering his spell brought only twelve goals in fifty-six appearances.
9) Chris Armstrong - Tottenham, 1995
Perhaps the least known of the names you’re going to see on this list, Chris Armstrong’s £4.5m club-record move to Tottenham in 1995 to replace Jurgen Klinsmann would now cost £63.37m according to the study.
Fifty goals in 148 appearances certainly isn’t a record to be sniffed at though groin and ankle injuries robbed him of precious game time towards the end of his career in North London.
8) Andrei Kanchelskis - Everton, 1995
Turfed out of Manchester United to make way for David Beckham, Everton’s £6.75m swoop for Andrei Kanchelskis in 1995 was equal to splashing £69.82m today.
Though the Toffees might have a reputation for signing cast offs from the elite in the Premier League, the Russian winger proved he was still capable of operating at the top level despite Beckham’s emergence by scoring twenty goals in just fifty-two Premier League games on Merseyside.
7) Rio Ferdinand - Leeds United, 2000
Before the house caved in midway through the 2000s, Leeds United were as free-spending as they come and a £23.4m move for West Ham prodigy Rio Ferdinand in 2000 broke British and defender transfer records as it was.
However, in 2020 (the year we can’t wait to get away from), Ferdinand would have cost £71.97m.
Still less than Harry Maguire.
6) Dennis Bergkamp - Arsenal, 1995
The reaction to Arsenal signing Dennis Bergkamp after a miserable spell with Inter Milan was bad enough with a deal estimated in this study to have been worth £10.31m after a reasonably slow start to life in England.
However, the Dutchman would of course prove his class as the Bruce Rioch era dissipated before Arsene Wenger arrived to change the English game with Bergkamp his creative hub.
That fee would set the Gunners back £104.78m these days and, while no one can ever really be worth that, Bergkamp might just go some way into paying that back if he were playing today.
5) Stan Collymore - Liverpool, 1995
The £11.7m Liverpool paid for Collymore in 1995 broke the British transfer record as Roy Evans looked to use all his Boot Room experience to battle Manchester United at the summit of English football.
Ultimately it proved fruitless in terms of trophies but there were some famous moments such as THAT goal against Newcastle United in the most dramatic Premier League fixture of all-time.
To say it’d be worth the £121.02m fee today’s money would have set Liverpool back would be a stretch, however.
4) Fernando Torres - Chelsea, 2011
One of the biggest flops in Premier League history, Fernando Torres looked a busted flush when swapping Liverpool for Chelsea for £52.65m in January 2011.
At £122.09m in 2020, the deal would - rather obviously - have been even worse were Roman Abramovich’s obsession with signing the Spaniard a theme of his recent transfer splurge.
Yes, we all remember that night in Barcelona, but come on.
3) Kevin De Bruyne - Manchester City, 2015
A bit like Dennis Bergkamp before him, the £68.4m signing of Kevin De Bruyne was met with ridicule.
Written off as a Chelsea reject, the Belgian has proven anything but and has established himself as perhaps the world’s most complete midfielder during his time at Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola building around him.
Winning every domestic trophy at least once and picking up the PFA Football of the Year Award (no mean feat for a City player), De Bruyne’s twenty assists last season saw him equal Thierry Henry’s long-standing record.
Given City’s riches and how much better he has been over everyone else, the fact he’d cost £124m.9m five years on surely wouldn’t stop them buying him even now.
2) Paul Pogba - Manchester United, 2016
Probably the most divisive footballer in the world, Manchester United’s £89m capture of Paul Pogba in 2016 was supposed to prove transformative to a midfield previously criminally overlooked.
The Frenchman did help the club win the League Cup and Europa League in his first season but, sadly, issues (though not all his fault) with both him and the structure around him have seen his stay descended into an unhappy one.
In 2020, he’d cost £150.37m. Alarmingly, given how those behind the scenes at Old Trafford seem to operate, it’s not hard to see them making the same mistake again if they had the chance.
1) Alan Shearer - Newcastle, 1996
Trophies may have eluded Alan Shearer following his world-record £18.9m move to boyhood heroes Newcastle United but success on a personal level was almost constant.
The club’s record goalscorer and best ever player, the deal would be worth £157.7m today. The equivalent to just under four Joelintons.
Newcastle’s best ever signing, you’d have to say he’d be worth it.
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