Inflation in the transfer market can be a difficult thing to grasp, but at least when a player works out for his new club it’s rare that in a few years—or sooner sometimes—a fee that once looked exorbitant doesn’t begin to look like solid value.
It’s the reality of the market now, transfer costs rising quickly as revenues increase, and that’s something those who have questioned Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp’s increasing spend this summer either can’t grasp or are conveniently overlooking.
“It feels like €100M is €500M now,” Klopp told Kicker this week, pointing specifically to the transfers of Neymar, Ousmane Dembele, and Philippe Coutinho as the cause—or at least signifier—of the recent massive spike in transfer inflation.
“Now the money is on the market,” he said. “When we want a player the other club wants something from the cake. Furthermore, keep in mind that Salah, Mané, or Firmino who were signed for €30m-€40m now have a very different evaluation.”
It’s not just Salah, Mané, and Firmino who arrived at Liverpool and quickly made their fees look like bargains, though. Even those Liverpool have spent big on have, in relatively short order, come to look if not inexpensive then at least less excessive.
Alisson held the world record for fee paid for a goalkeeper when his deal was done on July 19th. By August 8th, Chelsea’s new signing, Kepa Arrizabalaga, held the record. Alisson was the most expensive goalkeeper for less than three whole weeks.
Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, spent the summer trying to get his bosses to splash the cash on a pricey centre half and was most eager to sign Leicester City’s Harry Maguire. He would have cost United upwards of £80M.
In the end, United’s owners didn’t back him as Liverpool’s had backed Klopp. Yet even while he complained about Liverpool’s spend, Mourinho was desperate to pay more for a centre half widely regarded as not as good as Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk.
And, at the end of the day, that’s all Klopp cares about—if the player he’s trying to sign the best he and Liverpool can reasonably bring in. Otherwise, as he’s shown time and again—and unlike the likes of Mourinho—he’d rather work with what he has.
“It is our job to make the team better,” Klopp added, “and it isn’t easy to find players that can make this team stronger. I have simply adjusted my opinion.”