The name Willie Groves may not come to mind when one thinks of Paul Pogba but they actually share something quite extraordinary in common – they have both commanded world record transfer fees. Scotsman Groves moved from West Bromwich Albion to Aston Villa in 1893 for just over £100.
Whereas today, you’d struggle to buy a full replica football kit for that sort of money, at the time it was enough to secure the services of the world’s most expensive footballer.
That record wasn’t broken until ten years later when a man named Ben Green moved from Barnsley to Small Heath for £500 and became the first Englishman to break the record in the process. Alan Shearer was the last English player to be signed for a world record fee when he signed for Newcastle from Blackburn in 1996 and at £15 million cost more than the likes of Diego Maradona and Johan Cruyff.
Since then, the record has been broken ten times with Paul Pogba currently the most expensive footballer in the world at £89 million.
The side who splashed out for him, Manchester United, are rumoured to be about to make similar waves in the forthcoming summer window with a move for Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann looking likely. If they’re going to land him, they’ll almost certainly need to spend more than they did for Pogba.
Whatever that amount turns out to be, it’s highly likely to be enough to buy 1000 Willie Groves’…