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On Wednesday Liverpool announced that they have reached an agreement with Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk. The Reds will pay an initial of £70 million for the Dutch defender which will rise to £75 million.
This deal makes Van Dijk the most expensive defender in history. The news was met with two types of reactions. On one hand, you have fans who are excited to see Liverpool address a lingering issue in their defense by finally getting their man and on the other, there are those who think the price was too much.
The interesting thing here is the fact that this is not the first time in recent years a transfer fee raised eyebrows. It happened when Man City bought Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker, when Man United signed Paul Pogba and on similar countless occasions.
It is clear that there has been a paradigm shift regarding transfers. World transfer fees are being broken in every window. Clubs are becoming more ruthless in their pursuit of targets.
The most expensive Fullback, Center Back, the second most expensive Goalkeeper and the second most expensive player are all playing in the Premier League. As club ownership by rich foreigners increase, the need for success has also increased and along with that transfer fees have skyrocketed.
Selling-clubs are well aware of the paying ability of big clubs when they come sniffing to snatch a player. Huge price tags are being put on players who are not worth the trouble.
So why do clubs keep spending disproportionate amounts of money?
Because modern football demands immediate success, neither the owners nor fans will give ample time for managers to build their squad. No one (not many) will give a young player the opportunity to come in and show his potential unless the manager’s hand is forced due to injury. And this is noticeable, albeit not exclusively, in the English Premier League.
This type of frenzy is also spreading around Europe. PSG in France, AC Milan in Italy and the likes are throwing their money until they get it right. Even the Bundesliga, were the 50+1 rule allows fans to hold the majority of the shares, is also in danger as corporate-backed clubs like RB Leipzig are threatening this rule.
Modern football is slowly shifting its attention from the most important people in the business, the fans. Ticket prices and TV deals are increasing on a yearly basis. You can’t help but wonder how many people will be able to watch games in the future.
Is this the beginning of the end of the beautiful game? Greed is slowly consuming the game we love and threatening to take it away from us. And when you have managers like Jose Mourinho who, after spending £300 million, still think spending is not enough then the problem gets even more serious.
‘Created by the poor, Stolen by the rich.’ The game we love so much is under threat!
Written by Brook Genene
Follow Brook on Twitter @brookge
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