Following on from yesterday’s topic, it seems an unwritten rule in football that the higher up the pitch you play, the greater the price tag. This is a generalisation of course, but it is an undeniable fact. Strikers command the highest prices and goalkeepers seem ludicrously cheap when you consider they have it every bit as much within their power to win or lose a game for the team.
Why is this?
Well the answer has to be that it is 90% down to commercial considerations. Strikers are the glamour boys of football. They score goals, they put bums on seats, they sell shirts, they recruit new supporters who will spend money with the clubs, they appear in advertising campaigns …. everyone loves a striker. In short, strikers create revenue for the clubs, it’s market forces.
Furthermore, it is easier to gauge a strikers abilities by the simple goals/game ratio, whereas a centreback for instance has no such definitive data on which to judge them. There is even a subtle difference between the relative values of an attacking midfielder in relation to a holding midfielder.
Admittedly there is now a plethora of statistical information available for the geeks and statos among us to analyse the performance of players in all positions (no offence intended GN5 🙂 ), but as we have agreed many times on here, stats can be used to prove anything you want – or sometimes the opposite of what you want! In any case, which is the sexier, a player who smashes the ball into the back of the net or a defender who wins a header?
Some supporters are exceptions, like those who have played the game (even if over the park) who will have an appreciation of the skills of a player who occupies the same position on the pitch as they once did, but most people these days watch football from the comfort of their sofa. We are a generation of fake football managers, experts on everything and nothing …. and yet as a collective, we wield more power than we imagine when it comes to the price tag attached to players.
Obviously specific criteria are important in different positions on the pitch. The most obvious being height in defence, speed on the wings, vision and work rate in the midfield, trickery up front etc etc. Beyond that, there are fundamental considerations for all player purchases that combine to reach a price tag – and then add 20% on top for the agent!
I thought it might be timely in this January window period to examine what these criteria are, and why they affect the player’s value.
This would be my list in order of the effect they have on player value in the current transfer market …..
- Marketability = persona
- The wealth and need of the buying club
- History of injuries
I would argue that points 1,3,5 and 7 are influenced by fan power.
It is you who makes the strikers so expensive … just because you aren’t sophisticated enough in your appreciation of football to value a defensive midfielder. You’re so shallow you have to have pretty boys wearing your shirts. You feel deprived if your club doesn’t spend every penny of its transfer budget on shiny new players every window and what’s more, you want a German in defence, a Spaniard in midfield, a flying Dutchman on the wings and a South American magician up front.
Hopefully I have managed to insult everyone so far 😀
Footballers are overpriced and overpaid because we, the supporters, idolise them. We give them their value and the money men take their lead from us.
So is there anything we can do about it? Yes, we can just stop loving them for their flair, brilliance, athleticism, fabulous goals and crunching tackles, the way they love only our club (not!) ……. OK, maybe we can’t do those things.
You may wish to disagree with my list of criteria, or to rearrange the order of precedence, or just insult me for being ‘an armchair expert’. Feel free to steer the debate in whichever direction you desire – just remember, it’s not the fault of the new young generation – it’s all your fault.