The fate of Premier League clubs relegated from the Premier League is helping to fuel a crazy market.
Liverpool fans were left bemused by the reports breaking today linking Danny Ward with a £12 million move to Liecester City. If it comes in, then it will be an eye wateringly expensive deal for a keeper who has played in just two Premier League appearances.
It will be yet further proof of just how bloated the market has gone over the past few years. Value for money is getting increasingly difficult to find as well.
This however has not stopped chairmen from opening their wallets with gusto. The fate of recent clubs to have gone down after years of under investment will no doubt be on their minds.
When Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool attempted to jettison misfit forward Christian Benteke, just a year after a £32 million move from Aston Villa, the fans collectively shuddered. Surely we were set for a huge loss on the Belgian forward after a dissapointing year at the club.
In stepped Crystal Palace with a £30 million bid. Liverpool bit their hand off, unsurprisingly.
For a club like Crystal Palace to be flashing the cash was truly an indication of the times. It was also proof of what three years in the big time can get you.
Just six years previously the club was in administration and needed a 2-2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday to survive on the final day of the Championship season.
For them to have signed a household Premier League name for huge money was a real cause of joy for their excellent fan base. It was also also a necessity.
A 15-20 goal a season man down in the lower reaches of the division is a golden ticket for staving off relegation.
Benteke had proven during his time at Aston Villa that his goals where capable of keeping a team up. For Palace with their shiny new stadium plans, he was their lifeline to the big bucks the Premier League can offer.
Interestingly they had no doubt seen what had happened to Villa, Benteke’s former club, after they lost their forward and failed to invest in an already mediocre squad.
Rolling and tumbling
Aston Villa’s dire 2015/16 campaign ended in a humiliation. Years of financial constriction from Randy Lerner finally caught up with them.
Sunderland followed them the following season, in near identical circumstances. For two big clubs like that to be pulled into the whirlpool of relegation was a huge warning to the remaining Premier League teams.
Sunderland dropped again last season, with their financial mess not clearing up, while Villa are skint and on the brink of financial disaster. Once that Premier League revenue vanishes, nobody is immune to the dogfight of the lower leagues.
You only need to cast a glance at clubs like Huddersfield and Fulham shelling out big sums on players as they gear up for another survival fight. It’s a sign of how desperate these teams are to remain exposed to the heady finances of the top flight. If it pays off, they are quids in.
Ward now the norm
The average cost of a single premier league transfer remains at around £5 million per player. This sounds like nothing when you consider the huge sums no swapping hands between the elite teams. However you must factor in freebies and loan deals, which are more numerous and bring the overall value down.
What will be hurting the Premier League chairman though is the inflated sums now being quoted for the more average players. The Pogbas and Van Dijks of the World will always command huge money.
However it’s the £45 million for Sigursson and £30 million for Benteke that inflate the market. The drip down effect, means that everyone becomes inflated in price.
Despite a clear lack of value, Premier League teams continue to pay over the odds. It obviously comes down to a clear choice, investment and enjoy the good times or relegation. There is little in between as many a Sunderland fan will tell you.