A lot of eyebrows were raised this week, when it was announced that the new record transfer fee for a defender was broken by a fairly-good English right back, who’s not even a clear first-choice at international level. However, in today’s climate, fees as large as 50m for Kyle Walker will become more and more common place. Here’s why.
Not to transcend to far into an economic lesson, but the answer to why transfer fees are as large as they are, and why Footballers earn so much more than soldiers on nurses on the NHS can be broken down in to supply and demand. Let’s take Kyle Walker as an example. Manchester City were in need of a quality right back, one with European experience, and one that’s preferably English.
This leaves two candidates, Liverpool’s Nathaniel Clyne, and Tottenham’s Kyle Walker. Whilst Liverpool are unwilling to sell Nathaniel Clyne, the feeling was not the same for Tottenham and Kyle Walker, with Kieran Trippier increasingly staking his claim as Spur’s first-choice right back. So, this leaves one player that fits City’s criteria.
As you can see from the above graph, with a limited supply of available players, and a large level of demand, the transfer dictated for a player such as Kyle Walker becomes huge. This is a problem becoming more and more prevalent in today’s game, with a limited supply of high-quality players, and big increases in Premier League club’s transfer budgets, we’re going to see transfer fees get bigger and bigger in the coming years.
So, are they getting out of hand? In theory, no. Whilst supply is limited, it is meeting in equilibrium with demand. With clubs funding these transfers through large sponsorship deals and even larger TV rights, we need to adjust to the new norm when it comes to transfer fees.
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