Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Money, money, money


Caveats:

(a) There is some contention about some players amounts. I've gone with widely accepted figures on the most part but am happy to be corrected). Some - such as Samir Nasri to Arsenal - were claimed to be one fee by some sources and another fee by other sources.

(b) In some years clubs broke their record twice. In those years (for ease) I've gone with the larger of the two or three amounts in every case. (Luis Suarez held the Liverpool transfer record for a few hours but, obviously, Andy Carroll trumps him. No one will ever write that sentence again).

(c) This is about records. It isn't about 'net spend', sell on fees, or gluts of spending when teams spent a lesser amount  than their record (but still a lot of cash) on a number of occasions. 


What can we take from this?

A number of things:

Firstly, in the early 1990s, most of the bigger clubs (and, in those days, Chelsea and Manchester City may not have registered as such) had similar transfer records.  In 1991, the record at each club was as follows:

 

Club
Record
Player
Chelsea
£1.6m
Denis Wise (1990)
Manchester City
£2.5m
Keith Curle (1991)
Manchester United
£2.3m
Gary Pallister (1989)
Liverpool
£2.8m
Ian Rush (1988)
Arsenal
£2.5m
Ian Wright (1991)
Tottenham Hotspur
£2.2m
Gordon Durie (1991)

Secondly, Manchester United broke their transfer record a significant number of times between 1990 and 2000. I focus on them because of their huge success in that decade and the subsequent decade. They broke their own record seven times in a decade (breaking the UK record five times):
Year
Player
Amount
1993
Roy Keane
£3.75m (Record fee paid by a British club)
1995
Andy Cole
£7m (Record fee paid by a British club)
1998
Jaap Stam
£10.6m
1998
Dwight Yorke
£12.6m
2001
Ruud van Nistelrooy
£19m (Record fee paid by a British club)
2001
Juan Sebastian Veron
£28.1m (Record fee paid by a British club)
2002
Rio Ferdinand
£29.1m (Record fee paid by a British club)

That they spent big consistently is clearly important to their success but, perhaps tellingly, only one of those players could reasonably be described as a ''miss'' (Veron - despite his brilliance). Moreover, they played for Manchester United successfully for a decent number of years.

The real genius was that Ferguson spent big but he spent big and well consistently. That helped cement his and his team's greatness.

Thirdly, unlike United, most clubs have as many misses as hits. Only Arsenal consistently hit with their record transfer fees. NB: I concede this is an inexact science and you will likely disagree with my categorisation. For instance, Armstrong squeaks into hits (just) as does Babb whereas others there is little evidence for either via injury (Casiraghi) or because they've only been at the club for a few months (Lamela, Soldado)

Club
Hits
Misses
Arsenal
Ian Wright
Dennis Bergkamp
Thierry Henry
Sylvain Wiltord
Samir Nasri
Santi Cazorla
Mezut Ozil

Chelsea
Frank Lebouef
Roberto Di Matteo
Graeme Le Saux
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Michael Essien
Didier Drogba
Robert Fleck
Paul Furlong
Pierluigi Casiraghi
Chris Sutton
Andriy Shevchenko
Fernando Torres
Liverpool
Phil Babb
Stan Collymore
Fernando Torres
Luis Suarez
Dean Saunders
Emile Heskey
Djibril Cisse
Andy Carroll
Manchester City
Keith Curle
Paolo Wanchope
Nicolas Anelka
Sergio Aguero
Lee Bradbury
Jon Macken
Jo
Robinho (I loved Robinho but he is a miss...)
Spurs
Chris Armstrong
Les Ferdinand
Luka Modric
Paulinho
Gordon Durie
Ilie Dumitrescu
Gheorghe Popescu
Sergei Rebrov
Darren Bent
Eric Lamela
Roberto Soldado

A huge factor in whether they were a hit or not was how long they stayed. The hits tended to stay longer at Manchester United, Arsenal and (to a lesser extent) Chelsea.
The next piece of research will would look at the amount of time each player played but, in the short term, what we've learnt is that (generally) when Ferguson and Wenger break their transfer record they get it right. No one is really surprised, right?

And what of Scotland? Celtic's record transfer has been Neil Lennon for £6,500,000 in 2000. Rangers has been £12,000,000 since then. All a long way since Rangers paid the record fee for a British player in 1994 for Duncan Ferguson.

Finally, the best players for the likes of Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City aren't always the most expensive. Remember that when you beg your team to spend money. For every Luis Suarez, there is an Andy Carroll. For every, Les Ferdinand there is a Sergei Rebrov.
RCM

2 comments:

dearieme said...

Didn't Bulgarov play successfully at Spurs and unsuccessfully at ManU?

dearieme said...

Sorry, that comment wasn't very relevant to your point. Unless it was, indirectly.