In 2003, Roman Abramovich paid £140m to buy Chelsea FC and stumped up further £80m to cover the existing debt to give him the controlling shares.
He reportedly said the deal took him 10 minutes to close.
That translated to cost of £220m which includes the Chelsea estates and the entire squad and it was a British record purchase of any Sports team at that time.
Fast forward to 2017, a mere 14yrs later, that £220m is only barely able to buy 3 of Monaco’s players!
What has gone on? Inflation? ok, I get it, but this must be inflation of gazillion order!
When Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid from Manchester United for £80m in 2009, it was a novelty, even though this transfer set a precedent, Ronaldo has proven he is worth every single penny paid for his services.
The ceiling set by Ronaldo was broken by another of Real Madrid’s acquisition in Gareth Bale in 2013 for reported £85m, he has not stayed on the pitch enough to demonstrate he is worth that price except for flashes of brilliance, and then Barcelona paid between £65-75m for Luiz Suarez, since these lot of deals went through, the genie was out of the bottle!
Regardless of UEFA or FIFA fair play rule on players spending, clubs have not looked back! including the smaller clubs like Everton paying between £25-30m for goal keeper Jordan Pickford, thanks to billions of pounds of revenue sharing particularly in England.
The consequences of the availability of this revenue are that it encourages uncontrollable player price hike, distort the market, and suppress the development of smaller clubs due to undue advantage.
Nevertheless, that is the market and the scenario we found ourselves! if the financial fair play is not working, I don’t see how this is going to change, it can only get worse!
We are going to see a £1b player for sure in the very near future.
The upside is that some clubs are beneficiaries of the largesse of other clubs! If the rumours are right, this year, the highest benefactor would be Monaco!
Just three of their players cumulatively are valued more than what Roman Abramovich paid for Chelsea 14yrs ago.
Benjamin Mendy: To Man city for £52m (Deal agreed 22nd July)
Man City have just announced the agreement to sign Mendy subject to passing medical.
Mendy 23, joined Monaco from Marseille last season and played 34 times in their title winning season.
Mendy will be the most expensive acquisition for Man city as of yet, and will take their spending to £175m following the £43m transfer of Bernanco Silva from? of course Monaco, Kyle Walker and Ederson Moraes.
Thomas Lemar: Price tag of £50m (£45m rejected already, deal not agreed yet)
The successful transfer of Mendy and Silva may scupper the deal for Lemar.
As it appears English clubs are bent on stripping Monaco of their talents, Lemar seems to be one of those to exit the club, but it seems that what is delaying the transfer of Lemar is the fee and not the fact that some of his team mates have been sold.
Arsenal’s opening bid of £45m has been rejected with the club reported to be holding out for a fee in the region of £50m, and there are continuing rumours that Wenger is going back with a higher bid.
Kylian Mbappe: Open cheque valuation (Starting price of £125m, deal not agreed yet)
Kylian Mbappe performances last season deserved all the attention is getting now!
The player seems to be calling the shot, as he can literarily point to any club of his choice from numerous top European clubs after him.
He is the second highest valuation in this transfer market after Neymar’s £196m PSG rumour.
Following the deals that are already done by Monaco, the sales of Tiemoue Bakayoko and Bernando Silva to Chelsea and Manchester City respectively, and the agreement to sell Benjamin Mendy, surely Monaco must be smiling to the bank right now, and who can blame them?
If Lemar and Mbappe end up leaving this season, without a doubt, Monaco will be the highest recipient of free flowing cash from within the European Clubs.
While comparing £220m in 2003 to £220m in 2017 are not like for like, but in 14 years, the rate of inflation in football is remarkable.