In recent weeks we’ve seen how fragile the finances are at many football clubs, so you have to think the transfer market will slow down a bit.
Even if we still see the same volume of players moving around, transfer fees will need to come down otherwise no lessons have been learned at all.
A recent report from AS quoted a French MEP in saying Kylian Mbappe would only be worth €40m once the current crisis is over. While that may be far fetched, it does illustrate how much fees could fall.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some transfer fees that could look even more ridiculous in hindsight:
Harry Maguire – Leicester City to Man United (£80m per The Guardian)
This always looked like a push at the time, but he’s not lived up to the price tag either. There was a hope that he would have the same effect as Virgil van Dijk had at Liverpool, but it’s not been the case. He’s been a clear upgrade on a poor defence and has some good qualities, but he looks very slow when isolated and it’s likely United will need to buy a new defender who can cover for his weaknesses, so the fee just keeps looking worse.
Luka Jovic – Frankfurt to Real Madrid (over £50m per The BBC)
Real Madrid do need someone to go on to replace Karim Benzema, but if those Mbappe claims are true and he ends up being cheaper than Jovic then that shows you how drastically things have changed. The Serbian looked like a good signing, he was impressive for Frankfurt and played a major role in their Europa League run and some time to learn from Benzema looked like a great plan. Fast forward a few months and the most notable thing he’s done is manage to break the law in Serbia for ignoring quarantine rules. He might just need a loan move to find his best form again, but it’s gone very wrong.
Fred- Shakhtar Donetsk to Man United (£52m per The Telegraph)
Admittedly the Brazilian midfielder is starting to improve and find a role in the United team, but that’s nowhere near enough when you consider the fee. He looked like an absolute flop under Jose Mourinho, he couldn’t pass the ball, his positioning was off and he resembled a headless chicken that brought very little to the team. Expectations were lowered so much that his recent “resurgence” has been slightly overrated, and there’s no way United will get their money back on this one.
Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid to Barcelona (€120m per 90min.com)
Barcelona have really excelled themselves when it comes to wasting money. Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho have also flopped for similar fees, but at least they made sense on paper. There was a feeling that Diego Simeone had run Griezmann into the ground before his move to Barcelona, while it’s also emerged that Barca planned to play him out of position. It seems like Lionel Messi doesn’t like him for whatever reason, and his confidence is gone, so the best they can hope for now is to use him as collateral to sign someone like Lautaro Martinez instead.
Kepa Arrizabalaga – Athletic Bilbao to Chelsea (€80m per 90min.com)
The transfer market for goalkeepers has always been a strange one. nobody gets excited about spending a lot of money on a keeper, but every fan knows what it’s like to have one who makes mistakes and scares his own defenders. Kepa actually had a good start in London and this looked like a good move, but then the errors started. He also managed to get Maurizio Sarri sacked by his astonishing refusal to be substituted in a Carabao Cup final, while eternal backup Willy Caballero was preferred to him before play stopped.
If the MEP is correct and the market collapses to incredible levels, then these fees will just continue to look worse as time goes on.