Transfer fees keep rising, here is how this summer compares to twenty years ago

How times have changed.
In this summer Manchester city has spent over $300 million on defenders and a goalkeeper. Manchester United has spent over £100 million on two players. Chelsea paid £70 million for a striker who only scored 15 league goals.

If you said that twenty years ago you would have been mocked and call crazy.The numbers today are bigger than anyone thought they would ever be and each summer they keep on rising.To showcase the drastic rise in transfer fees the last 20 years in this article I compared this summer’s transfer window with the one twenty years ago of the 1996-1997 season.

In that summer only three players in the whole transfer window went for over £10 million, now every English team has at least one £10 million signing each summer. The top three leagues spent a combined of £288 million, which sounds about the number Manchester City will end up with this summer. That’s a single team spending as much as 60 clubs did twenty years ago.

Yet, that wasn’t the most shocking thing I found. Here are the top four things that surprise when you look back and compare transfer windows.

Zidane to Juventus for only £3.2 million

Zidane joining Turin back for only 3.2 Million.(Image: Getty Images)

Zinedine Zidane would have been the second cheapest signing in the premier league so far this summer. Besides the free signing and the players on loan, only Eldin Jakupović has come at a lower price. He was named Ligue 1’s Player of the Year for 1995/1996 playing for Bordeaux and France’s Player of the Year for 1996 before coming to Turin. Zidane would finish the year third in the Ballon d’Or and win it the next season. What’s mind-blowing is 20 years ago 3.2 million you could sign one of the best players in the world and today that money only gets you a backup goalkeeper like Jakupovic. If you said that Zidane twenty years from now would actually be worth 100 million you would have been laughed at but you would have been right.

Barcelona’s signing Ronaldo from PSV for a £12.8million fee. (image: Getty Images)


Jay Rodriguez cost the same as Ronaldo did

Jay Rodriguez picking West Brom (images: Getty Images)

In that summer Barcelona paid the second largest transfer fee of £12.8 million for Ronaldo, who was coming off scoring 42 goals in 46 appearances for PSV. He would go on become La Liga’s top scorer with 31 goals and finish second for the Ballon d’Or that season. That is what £12 million got you 20 years ago, now you get Jay Rodriguez. At the beginning of the month, West Brom paid £12 million to Southampton for Rodriguez. Who in his whole career has only scored 26 first division goals, something Ronaldo topped in only one season, and has had chronic knee problems. These problems that have to force the striker to miss 75 premier league games. This is the perfect example of how big the inflation has been. Jay Rodriguez, a middle of the road striker, hasn’t scored more than five goals in a season for three years now. Yet he goes at a rate that only three players went for 20 years ago. £12 million used to buy one the best players in the world in the middle of his prime, in today’s market it gets a 27-year old project that has suffered chronic knee injuries. Something you couldn’t have imagined back then.

31 goals used to cost £15 million now 15 goals cost £70 million

Alan Shearer signing for Newcastle United for a what was then world record amount of £15million (image: Chronicle Live UK)

Alan Shearer was the most expensive signing that summer when Newcastle paid £15 million. He was coming off scoring 34 and 31 goals in back to back seasons and winning the title with Blackburn the year before. He was 26, right in the middle of his prime, a proven goalscorer and a central part of a championship team. It only made sense he would be the most expensive player that summer. Now compare that to today’s time when a proven 30 goal striker would go upwards of 100 million. Morata just signed to Chelsea for 70 Million having scored only 15 league goals. He was only a rotational player in his club, and while still productive he has yet to prove to anybody he can the focal point of an elite team’s offence. The market for strikers is increasing by the summer. In Today’s game proven goal scorers are hard to find and to buy even more. It leaves teams in desperate search for any of them and to keep them once they do have. Morata has only 40 career first division goals while Shearer scored 65 in two seasons before his transfer. 15 goals in today’s game are almost five times more expensive than 31 twenty years ago.

Lukaku cost the same as the money spent by English clubs 20 years ago.

Lukaku’s transfer fee is bigger than the sum of all English transfers twenty seasons ago. (image: Getty Images)

Lukaku signed for United for £75 million which is the exact same amount as English clubs spent in the summer transfer window of twenty years ago. Before teams could be composed of players all worth under a million dollars, have an elite team and never really splash the cash. In today’s market that would be impossible. Teams in today’s market are desperate to get players a spend millions on millions and find success. With TV money coming in now, big money flops aren’t as hurtful for a team. Back then every transfer was a huge investment and a mistake could be crucial and set your club up for years in the second division or financial trouble. The TV money has come in and given teams more wiggle room to work with and take a risk. Yet that explains why the lower clubs in the English premier league have been breaking transfer records left and right but not the powerhouses. Teams like Manchester United in today’s game get so much money from a global market besides just the normal TV deal that £75 million is nothing to them. So while the transfer fees keep rising it’s driven due to European elite clubs taking advantage of globalization and creating income that soccer clubs could not have imagined twenty years ago. Which is why a 24-year-old Belgian could cost the same as every player transferred in England twenty years ago.


Soccer is truly a global sport and the globalization of the soccer has been the catalyst of transfer fees exponentially rising to places where no one would have thought. In just twenty years we have gone from paying just over £10 million for the best players in the world to buying was seen as hard spending to having multiple players in the news rumored to be having £100 million moves. How times have changed.

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Bale or Ronaldo for Manchester United?

Should a team spend over £100 million for 32-year-old?:

At the beginning of this summer’s transfer window former Manchester United great Cristiano Ronaldo proclaimed to the world he no longer wanted to play for the Spanish giants Real Madrid.This leads many to believe that return to United was imminent but the move has failed to materialize and it’s looking less likely by the day.

While Ronaldo may very well be the best player in the world, he is 32 and should be slowing down on a yearly basis. If Manchester United decided to spend the huge amount of money that is rumored it would be for a depreciating asset. United would have to spend most of their transfer budget on a player and only get a few years of his service.Which is why the smart move for Manchester is to focus on the younger Gareth Bale rather than getting Ronaldo.

Gareth Bale is only 27 and would probably come at a cheaper price. Meaning United would spend less money for a younger player.which is what you always want. The move would give you more years of service than Ronaldo would and they still get one the best players in the world in the middle of his prime. Another factor is Bale’s age gives you the option of re-selling him if he doesn’t fit. Something that wouldn’t be an option if Ronaldo ends up coming since he would then be in his mid-thirties.

So Bale ultimately is the better asset since you’ll get more out of him and he has room to improve. Ronaldo meanwhile could end up getting slower and scoring less but you’ll be stuck with his insane wages while he sits in the bench. Something nobody wants to get stuck with.

The Isco Factor

Isco’s form to finish the season got him in the starting XI over Gareth Bale

Bale finished last season falling out favor in Zidane’s starting XI, which is the another factor why buying the Welshmen this summer would be the smarter choice. Bale’s price will never be cheaper than it is at the moment and it’s even harder to find a world-class player like him on the market. This is why United should make the move now since unhappy megastars are hard to come by.

Isco, who took his place in the Starting XI, has become a fan favorite and the team looks more cohesive and fluid when he is on the field.  Isco looks to have taken firm control of the position going into next season after starting in the Champions League Final in Bale’s hometown.

If the team continues to play well and get results with Isco, than it is hard to believe Zidane would force Bale in the lineup. Madrid might be inclined to get rid of Bale in order to avoid future locker room trouble, since there is no way Bale would be happy coming off the bench. Isco is younger, a fan favorite and Spanish. The Real Madrid fan base has grown to like him, something that has been difficult for Bale to do during his time in the Spanish capital.

David de Gea the key for something to happen

From the Real Madrid point of view, they will have to offload some of their attacking players if they are trying to make budget and space for their transfer targets Kylian Mbappé and Eden Hazard. That is beside their main target for a couple of summers, now Manchester United’s David de Gea.

De Gea is the key for any deal to go down for both teams. As the Spanish keeper will probably be included in any kind of payment for either Ronaldo or Bale. Meaning any transfer could be convenient to both parties.

The Spanish keeper is the key for any deal to happen between the clubs

Despite all that, Bale is still going to be relatively expensive and Real would still insist on a fee of around £100m. Madrid will also be using the situation to leverage their pursuit of David De Gea. While £100 million with or without de Gea seems a lot. Ronaldo is still rumored to be more expensive, asking £150 million for a player that is older.

Assuming that the Red Devils have an open choice between both players it would be dumb to pick Ronaldo over Bale. Any player over the age of 30 that cost more than £50 million is just a bad investment because the player will probably have no resale value and you will only get a couple of years of service.

United have so far been resolute in their refusal to even countenance the sale of their goalkeeper, De Gea since they simply do not need the money. Although some sources feel a swap is the only way a deal goes done as Real Madrid may hold out to finally get David de Gea back to the Spanish capital.

All images by Getty Images

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Can Dardoch finally find success on CLG?

Star jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett will be transferred to Counter Logic Gaming. Counter Logic Gaming has stressed how important friendship is amongst their successes, but failing to get out of the first round of playoffs last split was the last straw.

Photo by: CLG


Risk vs. Reward

It’s no doubt Dardoch is one of the most talented junglers in North America. He’s always been one of the more consistent carries of every roster he’s been on. For CLG, his aggressive jungle style is a complete 360-degree change from Xmithie’s jungle style.

Since his time on Team Liquid, Dardoch became known around the community as an extremely talented player with a poor attitude. When Team Liquid released their documentary Breaking Point, Dardoch was at the forefront of a lot of team issues. He’s a player who’s not afraid to speak his mind and can be extremely blunt with his criticism of his teammates in-game. He was also quick to clash with head coaches, most notably TL’s former coach Choi “Locodoco” Yoon-sub.

When Immortals took on Dardoch, they sought an extremely talented jungler who could replace the void left by former jungler Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin. Dardoch was a star on the Immortals roster, but his teammates around him struggled to match his talent level. When the losses started to pile on, Dardoch’s toxic attitude came back again. In Immortals most recent video, you can see that Dardoch’s attitude had not changed since his time on Team Liquid. Immortals players noted how they really never felt like friends and that their relationship was “artificial”.

Dardoch, individually, is one of the most talented players in the region. He literally felt like he had Immortals on his back in some of their games during the regular season.

Moving Forward

Without a doubt, CLG’s roster will be the best one Dardoch’s every played on. If he can continue his stellar play, I don’t see why CLG can’t contend for an NALCS title.

The weakest points of the roster will most likely be in the solo lanes. Top laner Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaha and mid laner Choi “HuHi” Jae-hyun have been extremely inconsistent on CLG. HuHi did look much improved last split, so there is hope. Darshan can show phenomenal performances one game and then get over aggressive split pushing the next. He’ll need to become more consistent and return to the form he had when he was a contender for best top laner in the region.

With Dardoch coming in as the new jungler, stylistically this will be the first time CLG has had an aggressive early game jungler. Xmithie was more known for tracking the enemy jungler and counter ganking. Dardoch looks to make aggressive plays in the early game.

CLG has been known to start splits very slow, usually not adjusting well to the meta. If CLG struggles early, we could see internal issues arise among players. CLG, in particular, is quite experienced in handling egocentric players having star ADC Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng on the roster for several years. Aphromoo should be able to handle any tension that arises amongst the team, but even Doublelift wasn’t at the same level of Dardoch in terms of toxicity. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

CLG has stressed friendship among players over the past few years. If Dardoch can come in and mesh well early, they can contend with the best. If they struggle to adapt to the meta once again, internal team issues could arise.

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Cover photo by: Riot Games