Credit crunch? What credit crunch? If you thought the days of football’s silly money were gone, think again. For the past few years, transfer fees have been levelling off towards relatively sensible figures. But it now looks like the influx of new owners to the Premier League has reignited the transfer boom.
Manchester City’s arrival as a big-spending force has been well-documented. It seems that their deep pockets will drive up transfer fees. In the short-term at least, City will have to pay over the odds for transfer fees and wages to make sure that they are a more attractive club to do business with than some of their rivals who have Champions League football to offer. Take Karim Benzema as a case in point.
The young French forward is an excellent prospect. He will probably be one of the best strikers in Europe for the next decade. But he is relatively unproven. He has scored freely in France, but I would back myself to bag a few playing for Lyon against most Ligue 1 sides. He disappointed at Euro 2008 and he only scores a goal every four games at international level.
Perhaps I am undermining his undoubted talent a little, but it is only to emphasise that in a normal transfer market Benzema would not be worth the £80m fee that is currently being touted. Yes, he is good but is he twice the player of Luis Figo in his prime? I don’t think so. For that price you could buy the current strikeforce of Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney, and still have enough change to buy two unproven Cristiano Ronaldos.
Manchester City are unsurprisingly one of the other clubs linked with the bloated price tag on Benzema’s head. The two city rivals would do well to tread a little more carefully. How much for Kaka if Benzema is worth £80m? There is a danger of the clubs ending up like hardened eBay addicts unable to resist one last bid.