We’ve all known that football has been diluted terribly by money in recent years.
The recent comments by Jose Mourinho and the ludicrous transfer fee for Virgil Van Dijk has seen the monstrous wave finally topple and crash down on the sport. Football is now saturated with cash, so much so that normality is bedfellows with monopoly money.
We no longer baulk at figures thrown at players to acquire their services. It is par for the course, and £75m for Netherlands and Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk is the purest evidence.
This fee is a world record for a defender. To prompt a record to shatter, you would think that the player in question would be a Franco Baresi-type player, a sentinel presence at the back marshalling his troops and making it generally impossible to pass.
Virgil Van Dijk is a great defender who was on the radar of most clubs ever since he made his desires clear by requesting to leave St Mary’s last season. He is a goal threat and strong in the air at both ends of the park – but is he good enough to warrant a record fee?
Liverpool were made to apologise for their attempts to sign VVD in the summer, it was clear they would be in the running for his services. To beat off their competitors though, they’ve had to spend a rather sizeable chunk of money.
To pay that back, the Dutchman will need to be part of a side that wins trophies, to elevate his new side to a higher position, to become established as regular contenders. Otherwise, if they stay as they are, the outlay will not be worth it.
It is a huge sum of money. No amount of reasoning can say otherwise. The game may have moved on and fees may be inflated, but £75m is still a lump of dough that should be restricted for the best around.
Some will say that thanks to the likes of Manchester City spending £35m on Kyle Walker and £52m for Benjamin Mendy means that this is now acceptable. Not a chance. Their and Chelsea’s presence in the market may make it more expensive, but Van Dijk’s fee is still a surefire sign that money is taking the game to the dogs.
Jose Mourinho would agree. The Portuguese manager is an unwitting specialist in irony, and his statement regarding his club’s spending not being adequate were telling, as well as laughable.
He stated that the £300m outlay he has burned since being Manchester United boss is not enough to keep up at the top of the table. Really?
That fee is just £90m short of the total spend to build The Emirates.
On this occasion, the game has changed since 2006, but £300m should have been enough to restructure Manchester United.
Nearly a third of that was used to clinch Romelu Lukaku. This was the player Mourinho himself judged to be surplus to requirements at Chelsea. Mourinho had a fair amount of class players at his disposal when he came to Old Trafford, he only needed to spend wisely to push them back to the top.
If £300m wasn’t enough, then that is down to him alone. Hand that money to other top managers with the players he already had and they wouldn’t be moaning about lack of money.
I find it ludicrous he is saying it isn’t enough money. This means that he will be out in the market and spending money to bring success back to United, exactly as he did at Real, Chelsea and Inter. Money and Jose go together like toilet roll and the morning after a curry. Without it, Jose is an unestablished newbie, a fish out of water. Could he rebuild a side without spending money like it was going out of fashion?
Maybe this is just par for the course? Perhaps money in both windows will continue to be splurged, until a club will have to acquire new owners to complete each sale? Maybe they will only be able to acquire a share of a player, and have to loan them to fellow shareholders of the player.
At this point, we are on the precipice. The wall of cash is towering above the game, teetering and waiting to fall on the sport. There is only so much money that can be spent, when we hit the limit, massive reforms will be needed.
Jose will be pleased about that I bet.