One day, a footballer will be sold for £1 billion

Gareth Bale was recently sold to Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur for a record €100 million, which is 83 million in pounds sterling. Although millions being passed between football clubs is noting new, I feel this a new marker in terms of whats considered a ‘huge transfer fee’ I remember Rio Ferdinand going to Manchester United in 2002 for £30 million and thinking that was a ‘huge transfer fee’ but compared with the 100 million for Bale, its nothing.

There’s no model which shows a systematic increase in footballer’s values. However, if you go with the fact that in 1979, Trevor Francis was sold for £1 million from Birmingham to Nottingham Forrest it is easy to assume that at some point a player’s transfer fee will reach the billion mark.

As much as its rumoured that caps will be put on club’s spending and player’s wages, I don’t think it will ever happen as it would be too harmful to the game and the egos of many players; This will only aid the increase of transfer fees. As clubs make more money from broadcast deals and commercial presence around the globe they will be able to spend even more money on individuals to fill their dressing rooms.

The Francis transfer took place 34 years ago and since then then the record transfer fee has been broken 20 times, most significantly in 2009 when Cristiano Ronaldo went to Real Madrid for £80 million. This deal was £47.5 million more than the previous record. So it could be argued that the Bale deal is less of a big deal. However, Ronaldo’s deal did not hit the 100 figure in either of the currencies involved, whereas Bale’s did.

In simple terms, from 1979 to 2013, the transfer fee record has increased by 2.9 million every year, although this is not the case as the record has been broken by nearly 50 million as mentioned above when Ronaldo moved from United. But regardless of how you look at the numbers or the current situation in football it is clear that at some point a player will be sold for ten times the amount Bale was sold for a few weeks ago.

So, if the clubs still have the money to spend in another 30-40 years; which they will as revenue from TV deals and ticket sales is on the increase, it can only be assumed that sometime around 2050, a footballer will be sold for £1 billion. Which, despite being a huge fan of the game, I find truly ridiculous, mainly because somehow football clubs as a commercial venture make limited profit, if any at all.

I’m not one to moan about footballers wages as that’s just how the game is now, its a business, but the thought of one player being valued and sold for £1 billion doesn’t really feel me with hope for the future of the game.

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