Huge amounts of money have been spent this summer with major transfers occurring all over the world but are clubs getting value for their money?
In January 2011 Andy Carroll moved to Liverpool from Newcastle United for £35 million. He never lived up to that value, he never could and ever since then it seems clubs are more often than not overpaying for their transfer targets.
Liverpool had just sold Fernando Torres for £50 million and it was as if Newcastle suggested £35 million expecting Liverpool to tell them where to go, however the move went through. Now it seems that if you want to make a major signing it is always going to be around the £20-30 million mark at least.
This summer has been a busy one with major moves taking place across the world helped by a hugely entertaining and gripping World Cup. One player who benefited from a breath-taking competition was James Rodriguez who shortly after completed a £71m move to Real Madrid. The current Champions League holders are willing to spend anything to get their hands on the latest star players and that move made him the fourth most expensive player ever.
Real Madrid are responsible for four of the top five most expensive transfers ever with Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka joining Rodriguez on that list. The other top transfer is Luis Suarez's move to Barcelona. La Liga is a hotbed of talent now but you would expect it to be with the prices paid. However it can be argued that these fees are worthwhile given the amount of money the players bring through merchandise and sponsorships.
In the following 48 hours since Rodriguez completed his move 345,000 'James 10' Real Madrid shirts were sold at a price of £60 each. That equates to £20.7m which means the club had already recuperated 30% of their transfer fee. To put that into context there were more shirts sold in those first two days than there are people in the whole of Iceland (320,000). James will continue to bring money into the club and success on the pitch can help them further.
Luke Shaw cost Manchester United £30 million and is reported to be on a whopping £120,000 a week. That signing is unlikely to see fans flock to the Manchester United megastore to buy shirts with his name on and how much can a left-back contribute to the club's long-term success?
Of course it is almost impossible to calculate a player's value but £30 million for Shaw is almost definitely a massive overpayment. Jose Mourinho claimed that signing Shaw for Chelsea would have been detrimental. Having such a young player, with limited experience on a wage of that amount would cause frictions in the squad. You would think United players such as Danny Welbeck and Rafael who have given great service to the club must be thinking that now they should be earning similar amounts to a player who was relatively unheard of two years ago.
With financial fair play having an effect on club's transfers these days they need to make sure when they do spend money it is being spent wisely. Arsene Wenger is usually very prudent with Arsenal's money and the signing of Alexis Sanchez for around £35 million is one of the better moves of the summer. However with Calum Chambers set to join for £16 million it shows that Wenger is making a huge gamble, and one he admits to. The 19-year-old has only played 24 professional club games.
At the other end of the table promoted side Leicester City are splashing out £10 million on Leonardo Ulloa; an untried quantity in the Premier League. They have broken their transfer record in doing so and whilst Ulloa has been superb for Brighton & Hove Albion since his arrival from Almeria it is a sign of another big risk being taken by a Premier League club.
The amount of television money received in the Premier League means clubs make bigger risks especially the ones in the bottom half. They take gambles to try and ensure their Premier League status for another year. Continued Premier League status can create a sustainable future, but if the gambles don't pay off then relegation and instability can ensue.
Suddenly the record signing is on a huge wage in the Championship and they are finding it difficult to sell him. An unsettled player not producing the goods anymore and there is a major problem.
Whilst it may be exciting for fans to see all this money being spent it isn't necessarily healthy for the game, and it just means that the pressure for all involved continues to mount.