Issues English clubs should take into account when searching for new recruits.
With the transfer market now open, a number of high profile deals have already gone through, but despite the old adages of having to pay over the odds for young English talent (hello, Luke Shaw!) there are several other pitfalls that clubs in search of fresh recruits may fall into.
In their excellent book Soccernomics, authors Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski argue that a player’s value rises dramatically after a tournament, and this is already being tested just one day after the World Cup ended.
West Ham are being linked with a £12 million move for Ecuadorian forward Enner Valencia this week, and though he made a good impression of himself at the tournament, there should be a big question hanging over his head as to whether he would normally be worth that much.
Currently plying his trade in Mexico with Pachuca, Valencia has scored 18 goals in 23 games since linking up with them back in January. An impressive record, sure, but South American players have often been a gamble for English sides and a £12 million outlay is not pocket change – especially given the player was bought for a fraction of that cost just eight months ago from Ecuadorian outfit CS Emelec.
The Hammers are not the only ones linked with big moves for players with over-inflated prices, though as the price of players inflates naturally as the years go by it’s becoming more difficult to know what represents a good deal and what doesn’t.
However, a player’s position usually dictates how high their value can climb. Arsenal are being tipped to sign Colombian international goalkeeper David Ospina of French club Nice.
The fee being quoted for Ospina is just £3 million. It could be argued that Ospina enjoyed a more successful tournament than Enner Valencia did, with Colombia conceding just two goals before their quarter final exit to Brazil, but because he is a goalkeeper the fee will never be as high. This is interesting when one considers that good quality goalkeepers are often in short supply.
So though clubs have a need to strengthen their sides season upon season, they would do well to have alternatives to their original targets. This will help ensure that they don’t pay over the odds for new talent and will help protect clubs as belts continue to tighten throughout the financially perilous climate – even within the prism of football.