Messi, Hazard, Lewandowski: Stats show Erling Haaland might be the biggest bargain ever

  • Kobe Tong
Dortmund's Haaland celebrates.

Erling Braut Haaland will almost certainly be a Manchester City player next season.

The Premier League champions announced on Tuesday afternoon that they had agreed terms to sign the Borussia Dortmund striker with the deal only subject to finalising a package with the player himself.

It’s a massive coup for City with Haaland ranking amongst the best strikers in the world at just 21 years old, boasting an outrageous record of 85 goals in 88 appearances for Dortmund.

A bargain fee for Haaland

In fact, considering that Haaland is touted as a future Ballon d’Or winner, the Citizens can rub their hands together safe in the knowledge that they’ve snapped him up for what is ultimately a cut price.

Yes, City will have to pay agents fees, monstrous wages and no doubt plenty of other extra costs, but the fact that they could snap him up for a transfer fee of just £54 million is an absolute steal.

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Let’s start easy: What was Tottenham’s old ground called?

To put the price tag into context, the data gurus at Transfermarkt actually laud him as the second-most valuable player in men’s football with an eye-watering worth of £135 million.

That means – for those of you doing the mental maths – City have gotten their hands on arguably the world’s best number nine for a staggering £81.00 million less than he’s actually worth.

Wolves 1-5 Man City Match Reaction (Football Terrace)

Football’s biggest bargains

And there’s good reason to think that it makes him the biggest bargain in football history because we simply can’t find a bigger gap between transfer value and transfer fee on the Transfermarkt database.

That’s because we sorted their list of the ‘most valuable transfers’ by the difference between how much the player was considered to be worth at the time of the deal and what they actually moved for.

In other words, we’re able to collate the most objective list of transfer bargains possible, drawing up the 17 players to have moved for the greatest distance below their contemporary valuation.

Loan moves and first-team promotions are off the table, but free transfers are fair game, so be sure to check out who comes closest to matching Haaland’s bargain status by checking out the full list below:

=13. Michael Ballack (Bayern Munich to Chelsea) – £31.50 million difference

Transfer fee: £0.00

Market value at the time: £31.50 million

Ballack lifts the FA Cup.
Football – Chelsea v Portsmouth – FA Cup Final – Wembley Stadium – 09/10 – 15/5/10 Chelsea’s Michael Ballack celebrates winning the FA Cup Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Matthew Childs

=13. Adrien Rabiot (Paris Saint-Germain to Juventus) – £31.50 million difference

Transfer fee: £0.00

Market value at the time: £31.50 million

=13. Hakan Calhanoglu (AC Milan to Inter Milan) – £31.50 million difference

Transfer fee: £0.00

Market value at the time: £31.50 million

Calhanoglu playing for Inter Milan.
Soccer Football – Serie A – Inter Milan v Torino – San Siro, Milan, Italy – December 22, 2021 Inter Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu before the match REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

=13. Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich to Borussia Dortmund) – £31.50 million difference

Transfer fee: £0.00

Market value at the time: £31.50 million

=13. Eden Hazard (Chelsea to Real Madrid) – £31.50 million difference

Transfer fee: £103.50 million

Market value at the time: £135.00 million

Real Madrid's Hazard warms up.
Soccer Football – LaLiga – Real Madrid v Cadiz – Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain – December 19, 2021 Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Juan Medina

12. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal to Manchester United) – £32.40 million difference

Transfer fee: £30.60 million

Market value at the time: £63.00 million

=9. Leon Goretzka (Schalke to Bayern Munich) – £36.00 million difference

Transfer fee: £0.00

Market value at the time: £36.00 million

Bayern's Goretzka battles away.
Soccer Football – Champions League – Group E – FC Barcelona vs Bayern Munich – Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain – September 14, 2021 Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka in action with FC Barcelona’s Gavi REUTERS/Albert Gea

=9. Stefan de Vrij (Lazio to Inter Milan) – £36.00 million difference

Transfer fee: £0.00

Market value at the time: £36.00 million

=9. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal to Juventus) – £36.00 million difference

Transfer fee: £0.00

Market value at the time: £36.00 million

Ramsey on the ball for Juventus.
Soccer Football – Coppa Italia – Quarter Final – Juventus v SPAL – Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy – January 27, 2021 Juventus’ Aaron Ramsey in action REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

8. Nabil Fekir (Lyon to Real Betis) – £36.23 million difference

Transfer fee: £17.78 million

Market value at the time: £54.00 million

7. Memphis Depay (Lyon to Barcelona) – £40.50 million difference

Transfer fee: £0.00

Market value at the time: £40.50 million

Barcelona's Depay celebrates.
Soccer Football – LaLiga – FC Barcelona v Celta Vigo – Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain – May 10, 2022 FC Barcelona’s Memphis Depay celebrates scoring their first goal with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang REUTERS/Albert Gea

6. Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich) – £45.00 million difference

Transfer fee: £0.00

Market value at the time: £45.00 million

5. David Alaba (Bayern Munich to Real Madrid) – £49.50 million difference

Transfer fee: £0.00

Market value at the time: £49.50 million

Alaba scores for Real Madrid.
Soccer Football – Champions League – Group D – Sheriff Tiraspol v Real Madrid – Bolshaya Sportivnaya Arena, Tiraspol, Moldova – November 24, 2021 Real Madrid’s David Alaba celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

4. Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan to Paris Saint-Germain) – £54.00 million difference

Transfer fee: £0.00

Market value at the time: £54.00 million

3. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur to Inter Milan) – £56.70 million difference

Transfer fee: £24.30 million

Market value at the time: £81.00 million

Eriksen playing for Inter Milan.
Soccer Football – Serie A – Cagliari v Inter Milan – Sardegna Arena, Cagliari, Italy – December 13, 2020 Inter Milan’s Christian Eriksen REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain) – £72.00 million difference

Transfer fee: £0.00

Market value at the time: £72.00 million

1. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City) – £81.00 million difference

Transfer fee: £54.00 million

Market value at the time: £135.00 million

Dortmund's Haaland celebrates.
Soccer Football – DFB Cup – Round of 16 – FC St. Pauli v Borussia Dortmund – Millerntor-Stadion, Hamburg, Germany – January 18, 2022 Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Braut Haaland celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFB REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO.

Haaland’s record could fall

Bargains. Bargains everywhere.

From the tasty free transfers of Messi and Lewandowski to Eriksen and Fekir getting snapped up for bargain fees, it’s interesting to see the most valuable players who were sold far beneath their worth.

And it really is remarkable to see Haaland leading the way with a cavern between his transfer fee and valuation that’s so large it was essentially the transfer world record just a few years ago.

However, the only catch is that the future City striker might not hold the title of football’s biggest bargain for much longer with Kylian Mbappe potentially signing for Real Madrid on a free transfer this summer.

PSG's Mbappe celebrating.
Soccer Football – Ligue 1 – Brest v Paris St Germain – Stade Francis-Le Ble, Brest, France – August 20, 2021. Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe celebrates after scoring REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

And considering that the Paris Saint-Germain star is the only player in the world with a higher valuation than Haaland, the terrifying differential of £144.00 million would raise the bar lightyears higher.

That being said, nothing is guaranteed in football and for now, City can kick back in celebration that they’ve arguably pulled off the greatest bargain that the sport has ever seen.

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