The Three Values Of A Player
James Willis assesses a player’s true value…which is never as easy as first appears.
How much is Gareth Bale worth? I’ve heard anywhere between £20million plus player to £80million.
Most people baulk at that latter value. Given Bale’s quickly growing status as one of the country’s media darlings, it’s easy to be contrary and completely disagree with whatever value is touted.
The thing is, there’s more to it than that. There’s more to any transfer than that.
It’s so easy to say a player is “x” good therefore he is worth “x” million, but there’s more to it than that. A player’s value should not be, and rarely is, decided solely on there ability and therefore a neutral fan’s or media’s valuation of him.
A player’s transfer value lies largely in the value to his current club. While that sounds like an obvious, brainless thing to point out, it’s actually rare that we see it considered today.
While it may be tough to argue that Gareth Bale is worth £60 million + from a neutral perspective, as a Spurs fan, I wouldn’t like to see us accept any less than that for him.
To look at it another way, let’s use the example of Callum McManaman. The 22 year old is of great value to Wigan based on past performances. They’ll be hard pressed to replace him with someone of equal or greater ability with a fee of any less than £5 million.
However, to any of the top Premier League clubs, McManaman should not realistically command a fee of any more than £2-£3 million.
Those values will probably vary slightly from different perspectives, but it’s easy to see how differently clubs can value players. I wouldn’t call Wigan unfair in asking for more than £5 million but on the other hand I wouldn’t call a top Premier League club unfair for offering less than that.
The other thing to bring into consideration is the buying club’s valuation of the player. So, there are essentially three values to a player in every transfer. That of the selling club, the buying club and the neutral view (which is often in between the valuation of the two clubs).
Every so often there’s an anomaly. One where the buying club meets the valuation of the selling club, despite how far that is from their valuation. An example of this could be Andy Carroll’s move to Liverpool.
Carroll’s performances at Newcastle had made him a crucial part of their team. If they were to replace him with another striker, they’d be hard pressed to find someone as powerful in the air as Carroll. So to sell him would require a large fee, due to their position of either rebuilding a large part of the team to change their strategy or to replace him with a similar player outright.
Liverpool, on the other hand, weren’t in a position where they needed Andy Carroll quite as much. He didn’t fit their style in the same way he fitted at Newcastle. However, for whatever reason, they agreed to Newcastle’s valuation of him over their own, hence the massive £35 million fee.
So while talking about transfers, it’s always hard to find a value that both clubs agree with. Even when that value is agreed upon, there’s only a slim chance that, from a neutral perspective, all fans and media will also agree with the fee.
Of course, transfer valuations get even more interesting when there’s careless billionaires and in-debt clubs involved, but that would be almost impossible to neatly fit into one article, wouldn’t it?