Soccerlens is a big fan of statistics, as Scott the Red’s in-depth rundown of last season’s Premier League data showed. In fact, statistics show that 83 per cent of all Soccerlens writers are fans of statistics. So when we heard that statistical evidence had been uncovered which proved that Julian Dicks was more expensive than Robbie Keane, we had to investigate.
The argument has been put together by Paul Tomkins in his column on Liverpool’s official website and will form the basis of a new book he has written. Tomkins has pumped considerable time into researching Liverpool’s (and other clubs’) transfer history. Instead of simply looking at the bottom line, he has viewed each transfer within the economic climate of the time by comparing it to the then British record transfer fee. By that reckoning, a £110,000 deal in 1961 is equivalent to a £30.8m transfer in 2006.
Using that technique to measure a player’s true cost, Julian Dicks’ transfer including the value of Mike Marsh and David Borrows in exchange was 67 per cent of the highest British transfer of the day (Paul Gascoigne’s £5.5 million switch to Lazio, if you were wondering), whereas Keane’s move this summer represented just 66 per cent of the transfer record at the time of his move.
Tomkins also points out that while Fernando Torres might have seemed like an expensive purchase at £23 million last summer, but this was only 75 per cent of the record fee at the time. Reds fans – who no doubt think El Nino is priceless anyway – can compare the transfer to those of Dean Saunders and Stan Collymore, both of whom broke the transfer record at the time they moved to Anfield.
And given that his article was published on Liverpool’s website, Tomkins can’t resist turning this round to take a dig at Manchester United. He points out that Sir Alex Ferguson very nearly broke the transfer record for the sixth time in August, but his spending on Dimitar Berbatov was eclipsed by Robinho joining Manchester City.
He wrote: “The list of Ferguson’s five record-breaking signings — Roy Keane, Andy Cole, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron and Rio Ferdinand — does not include other very expensive deals, like those involving Mark Hughes, Gary Pallister, Dwight Yorke and Wayne Rooney, each of whom cost 85-95 per cent of the record fee of the day.
“Or, in other words, each of whom cost 10-20 per cent more than Fernando Torres when put into the context of the year the deal took place. And Ferguson’s five British transfer records puts him equal with Liverpool’s entire history!”
You could argue that you can prove or anything with statistics, or you could simply say that you didn’t need statistics to tell you that Julian Dicks was bad value for money!