Two decades ago such a price for a player would have been unimaginable. Kenny Daglish was bought from Celtic for a record Ã‚Â£440,000 in 1978. He is widely regarded as one of the best players to ever grace the English game and certainly Liverpool. The famous Liverpool team of the eighties wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have cost more than a couple of million pounds.
In 1979, Trevor Francis became the first million pound player when he moved to Nottingham Forest. ForestÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s manager at the time, Brian Clough, was famously worried that such a tag would go to FrancisÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ head. To prevent this, the fee he actually paid was Ã‚Â£999,999. However that later crept to Ã‚Â£1.1m including taxes.
One must wonder, how the charismatic but firm Clough would have managed a Ã‚Â£100m pound Brazilian player. One of CloughÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best quotes was: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even spell spaghetti never mind talk Italian. How could I tell an Italian to get the ball? He might grab mine.Ã¢â‚¬Â Somehow I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t imagine his Portuguese being much better!
It is also rumoured that Manchester CityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wealthy owners are willing to pay Kaka a staggering Ã‚Â£500,000 a week. And for what? To play a mere 90 minutes of football. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a mammoth salary of Ã‚Â£26 million a year! One could reasonably expect him to sign a four or five year contract. Taking his earnings for five years of service to Ã‚Â£130m. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure most avid football fans like me would play for free.
So should this move go ahead, and what does it mean for football?
Well for the Premiership it would mean we get to see one of the best players in the world play every week. Am I the only one who canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t imagine the Brazilian starlet playing on a icy December day against Stoke City? Kaka already had to endure the ferocious weather conditions and atmosphere of Fratton Park. And it must be said he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t enjoy the best of games.
If Kaka cost a mere Ã‚Â£100m, what valuation does that put on other quality players in the Premiership? Cristiano Ronaldo, European and World player of the year would surley cost even more. A snip at Ã‚Â£120m maybe? Other players like Fernando Torres, Cesc Fabregas, Steven Gerrard and John Terry would all surely have to be valued over the Ã‚Â£50m pound mark.
If the transfer does go through, for the figure quoted in all the back pages of the daily papers, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a sad day for football. How can the likes of Hull City, Stoke City and West Brom compete with that sort of money. Unless their respective chairmans are willing to risk the stability of their clubs, they will stand no chance.
One could even look at Liverpool as an example how having wealthy owners wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t necessarily bring instant success. After Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea, the perceived big three realised they would have to increase their spending to compete with AbramovichÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s billions. Manchester United could easily afford it. Arsene Wenger decided to invest in youth, while paying moderately high prices. Liverpool couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t afford the extravagant fees.
Chairman David Moores sold his stake to George Gillett and Tom Hicks. His hope was that they could provide the financial muscle that he was unable to generate. Within one year the club was in turmoil. A club that always prided itself on tradition, found itself on the verge of collapsing, due to fighting within the club.
Maybe fans will navigate their way down to the Championship. In the Championship we see the pride and passion that we saw in the eighties. It is ironic that Brian CloughÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s son, Nigel, has taken the reigns of Derby County, potentially a few weeks before the world sees itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first Ã‚Â£100m player. Should blame be assigned to Brian Clough for breaking the million pound mark in the first place?
Despite being deeply concerned with the changing face of football, I must pause one moment and laugh. A couple of years back I bought LMA Manager. I discovered the cheat code that allowed me to have a transfer budget of Ã‚Â£500m. I spent Ã‚Â£120m on Zinedine Zidane. I was absolutely delighted with my purchase. But it was at this point I realised how unrealistic the game was. I thought it impossible that any club would ever pay such a figure for one player. Now I realise that game was well before itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time.
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