There has been incredulity in the press this week at a certain set of transfer figures. HM press couldn’t wait to express their shock at how Real Madrid could buy Ozil and Khedira for the same price as Manchester City paid for James Milner.
Shock horror! Sometimes players go for more than they are worth and sometimes they go for less, for numerous reasons that the media were well aware of.
It is a stupid and pointless exercise comparing transfer fees as journalists are so keen to do every now and then, to make some irrelevant points about the state of the sport in this country. To compare the transfers of Ozil, Khedira and Milner in simple black and white terms is schoolboy journalism.
We all know English players have a premium added to their market value. This is old news, and doesn’t need revisiting. The new rules on squad sizes and homegrown players can only exacerbate this.
The value is added to further when the selling club doesn’t want to sell (and doesn’t need to), the buying club is desperate for the player (and Milner was a primary target for Mancini), the buying club is wealthy (very, very), and the player is tied down on a long term contract.
A situation we don’t encounter when discussing Ozil and Khedira. Yes, Madrid are capable of splashing the cash (the purchase of Ronaldo from Manchester United fits all the criteria above), but both players had a year to run on their contract. Khedira had said quite clearly he would not be signing a new contract. So the selling clubs had a choice – sell at a knock down price now, or keep a possibly unmotivated player for a year then lose them for nothing. It is this reason, and this reason alone, that they went for such (relatively) small fees. If they had both been on long term contracts, their combined fees would have far outweighed the fee for Milner.
And yet again we see the fawning over a player who has had a good world cup. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure Ozil will become a top class player. But he was nothing special for his club last season, whilst Milner was the Premiership’s Young Player of the Year. I am not for a moment trying to claim Milner is a superior player (they are different types of players anyway, so comparisons aren’t easy), but let’s at least have some perspective here.
The fact is, sometimes great players move clubs for small amounts, sometimes for nothing at all. You might as well compare Joe Cole moving for nothing against Chris Smalling for a fee approaching £10m. Or putting my “I’m paranoid about Manchester United” hat back on, why don’t a few journalists question why Ferguson called City’s spending kamikaze having just purchased a player for £7m he has never even seen on youtube, or question why he has purchased a player for £7m that was available on a free transfer three months ago?
But no, better to appear incredulous and wonder how this could possibly happen, as if the Bosman ruling and its endless ramifications have completely passed you by. Though having said that. I can’t believe Ozil went for less than the price of Ronaldo’s left knee!
Yours sincerely, a bitter blue.
Written By Howard Hockin