With that in mind, you’d think both parties would walk away from their respected deals, but agreements may still be reached despite those potentially selling standing firm on their valuations.
But how has it come to this? Not too long ago, Arsene Wenger arrived in England and coupled his knowledge of football with the phenomenal resources and technological advancements of the modern era to find some of the finest, untapped talent that European clubs had to offer at an affordable, sometimes bargain price.
We’ve arrived at the stage where some might argue they’d have Zaha for £60m, but £80m is too much. Again, how has it come to this? Where was the exact moment that these prices became acceptable to not only demand but to actually pay?
The reality is, that arguably there isn’t one specific moment or one solitary transfer that raised the average price of all players.
Of course, Neymar’s big money move to PSG may have set a standard, but most would have known that was a once-in-a-decade deal.
Clubs follow success and if they see something work, they tend to copy it.
Barcelona’s wonderful tika-taka football that brought so much success had the world drooling and it looked for a while that managers were looking to adopt a similarly attractive approach to the game.
Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 formation raised the popularity of a back-three in English football despite it going near-extinct in the game for many years.
And Premier League clubs continue to chase top targets residing within England’s top flight, even with the acute knowledge that those are the exact players whom command a premium price-tag.
Liverpool’s success is partly responsible for this.
Jurgen Klopp’s time at Anfield has delivered clear progression at the club year on year.
His first season saw the Reds reach the EFL Cup and Europa League final, only to lose both before finishing in the top four the season after. They then reached the Champions League final one year later and eventually won the most prestigious tournament in European football back in June.
What’s fascinating about Liverpool’s success surrounds the transfer policy they’ve adopted in recent years to build the squad they have.
Some of those high-profile signings were perhaps questionable, but despite the huge expectations thrust upon them, ultimately Klopp managed to find more success buying from within the Premier League despite the premium that comes with buying from English clubs.
Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson, James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Gini Wijnaldum, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Daniel Sturridge and even Mohamed Salah (all for a roughly combined £280m) had all played Premier League football before they arrived at Merseyside, and many of these arrivals came with considerable price tags.
Mane is a great example of one who was considered to have had nothing more than a solid spell at Southampton, scoring 25 in 75, but earned himself a move to Liverpool for £34m.
Celtic fans aren’t happy about Arsenal’s bid for one of their key players…
Perhaps, therefore, other clubs are now deciding that the higher price is worth it when the player arrives with less risk attached.
Liverpool have proven that this model can work, and we’re seeing that clubs seem more willing to strengthen in the same way, paying the premium to ensure they get players who have proven their quality in England.
In recent weeks Leicester have signed Newcastle’s Ayoze Perez for £30m, whilst Southampton landed Birmingham’s Che Adams from the Championship for £15m after selling Matt Targett to Aston Villa for £15m.
Clubs are happy to pay the extra now, and while Zaha and Maguire haven’t signed for their respected pursuers yet, the fact is that the intent is there for clubs to get a deal, where in the past it might not have been.
Liverpool’s Champions League win and top-flight points tally of 97 look to have caused clubs to have a rethink over their transfer policy and place far more value in players who have proven their worth in England before.
Perhaps we should accept that transfer fees, especially for Premier League mid-table players, are only going to increase further.