clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Stop worrying about transfer fees

New, comments

Worry about players, not numbers.

Consumers Feel The Pinch With Christmas Around The Corner
See these? Good. Now ignore them.
Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

One of the least most fun games people play during a transfer window is “how much is (transfer target) worth?” No matter the player, a substantial part of any fan discussion is about the amount of money it will take to acquire that player, and whether that player is worth that amount of money, and whether the money to acquire that player could be better spent elsewhere.

For me, the last one of those is really the only valid one to talk about; there is always a discussion to be had over whether Player X is a better fit for a team than Player Y is. The other two, though? Not really ever worth gnashing one’s teeth about. Why not? Let’s dive in.

It’s not your money.

This should be obvious, but is always overlooked - the money spent to acquire players is spent by Arsenal, which is a business that generates a ton of money from sponsorships, TV contracts, merch, and ticket sales. So in a very, very abstract and tangential way, I guess, it sort of is your money, particularly if you are a season ticket holder or otherwise regularly attend matches, but c’mon. The only way fans can influence the way a team spends money is if every single fan completely stops spending money on Arsenal - no more tickets, no more merch, no more cable bills, nothing. And that’s not bloody likely. So, realistically, it’s not your money - it makes literally no difference to you whether Arsenal spend £20 million or £40 million on a player, does it?

Players are worth what the current transfer window says they’re worth.

There is no common-sense world in which someone should command a £40 million payment for services and then get paid £150,000 a week to do a job - any job. The market for players is not a “normal” market, economically, because basically there’s no alternative supplier of Cristiano Ronaldos. Unlike, say, an Eames chair or something, if you want Player X, you can’t go to a different place and say “make me a lookalike player X out of cheaper parts” and get it for half price - Player X costs what Player X costs, and that cost is not pegged to anything actual. It’s related to how much teams who own player rights are willing to ask for, nothing more. And once that ask is made, all it takes is a single bite of that apple, and all of a sudden, the pay scale’s higher again.

Money is, increasingly, not an object for a Premier League team.

Don’t forget, this year, a very, very lucrative TV deal comes into effect, which guarantees - GUARANTEES - the 20th placed team in the Premier League a TV payout of nearly £100 million. When teams the size of Hull City have £100 million to play with before they even sell a ticket, you know that costs aren’t going to be realistic ever again.

There’s no salary cap or other restrictive mechanism in the Premier League.

Of course, teams have a practical ceiling that they’re willing/able to spend, but there are no league rules that mandate a maximum salary expenditure - clubs are free to spend their money as they see fit. Even with the joke that is FPP, teams can do whatever they want financially, as long as they’re willing to incur the consequences for doing so. This means that we as fans don’t have to care if Player X gets £45 million, because there’s no cap and thus no cap consequences;

So basically, as this transfer season churns onward, pay less and less attention to the money - the amounts of money don’t matter to us as fans. The players acquired? That’s what matters.