Date: 22nd August 2017 at 7:54am
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It’s natural for transfer fees to increase as the year’s progress. Why not? Everything else does. But over the last five or six seasons the price of ‘buying’ a footballer has increased out of all proportion. It now appears to be snowballing at a rate that surely, no business can realistically sustain from a financial viewpoint.

One of the main factors which contribute to this appears to be the ‘potential’ factor. Gone are the days when clubs would bring in players who have a proven ability to perform on any given football stage and at any given level. Now, clubs are investing in ‘unproven’ younger players…players who are considered to have the ‘potential’ to attain the required level of performance at some time in the future. And they are paying vast amounts of money to get them. That, in terms of sound business investment, appears to be an extremely risky strategy.

The unfortunate (or possibly fortunate) aspect of this is that there are very few clubs with the financial capacity to adopt such a strategy. Whilst this situation remains, the gap between extremely affluent and less affluent clubs will continue to widen with, probably, an adverse effect on the competitive nature of the various leagues.

It begs several questions.

Will the minority of ‘money’ clubs endeavour to monopolise most of the young talent in the future?

How long can transfer fees increase before the whole system goes pear-shaped?

What can football administrators do to create more equality among clubs and therefore improve the scope for wider and fairer competition between all clubs?

Are administrators motivated to achieve greater club equality or are they afraid to wage war with the ‘money’ clubs due to financial greed?

It seems like a growing problem to me. What do you think?


32 Replies to “The ‘Potential’ Factor”

  • The fact is that the “Potential Factor” right at this moment is providing opportunities for more competition. The wealthy clubs are all currently “assemblers” They buy established stars for high prices. Those less wealthy clubs can only enter the top flight by developing players with potential.
    At this present moment wealthy teams like Man U and Chelsea are managed by brilliant assemblers like Mourinho and Conte who can select and assign established stars so long as the teams are prepared to buy them the players they want. Neither of these two could develop a picture with a polaroid camera. Thus the development approach enables teams like Everton and Tottenham to enter the top flight. They can probably stay there if they don’t revert to selling their developees and can afford to pay reasonable wages to their stars. Given that most of these players are multi millionaires before they reach 25; one would think that being a well paid star appreciated by the fans would be a factor, but greed can be a powerful driver.

  • Brian … I agree that the most likely chance of success for less financial clubs in the current financial market is to develop young players …. and Spurs are doing that well. My concern is that young talent could be enticed to the top clubs by extraordinary salaries and wait for their chance rather than go to a team where they will play more but earn far less.

  • Geofspurs – Two points on the salary issue. First is that we seem to be able to keep players longer than other clubs who develop their own players, its up to us to use that time effectively. Second is that some players, Harry Kane being a prime example, do genuinely seem to be motivated by ambition rather than money. He’s actually more likely to leave because he doesn’t think he can win things with us than because someone offers him a bigger salary.

  • One thing to bear in mind is that the spending is based on shaky foundations. Sky and BT have been pouring more and more money into football but the viewing figures are actually going down. At some point there just won’t be any more TV money, maybe there will be less. Of course for clubs like City the real nightmare is FFP is properly enforced, that’s less likely to happen.

  • jod … I agree. Once the TV money starts to steady or go backwards it’s going to get interesting. I’m also inclined to believe that the FFP regulations won’t be enforced properly. Politics and financial greed!

  • It’s a nightmare and now just read Dele apparently changing agents to get a move abroad! I am sick of the media, its always negativity about Tottenham and its hard to know what is true or false. I am going to have to stop reading which means stop posting on here because they go hand in hand. Its draining and not serving me, reading all these stories, its addictive.

  • Our transfer policy is in chaos.All Levy has to do is keep the squad together by paying the stars the going rate,stop buying crap players then sending them out on loan because the manager doesn’t want them,get some decent scouts in ,identify what positions need strengthening, and don’t let Levy choose who to buy or sell as he knows sweet fanny adams about football.

  • Greavesaboveall – Is that all, boy is Levy doing a crap job. Yet we finished second last year so the rest of the directors of premier clubs must be truly appalling. Incidentally it would be really nice if just once when someone was telling us how we need to spend more money they would explain where it was coming from.

  • Regarding the TV money drying up, apparently Facebook are now looking to enter the market, to stream PL football, so presumably this will provide another revenue source. Top class football will always be a highly profitable business providing clubs with considerable revenue, which of course will be reflected in increases in fees and wages. Of course the bigger teams also run substantial debt, which of course they are able to service, and at the very top level is seen as just a fact of life, just as people accept their mortgage as acceptable debt. Chelsea with only 42,000 home gates but paying top fees and top wages are billions in debt to Abramovitch, but that seems to be acceptable to both parties, and the resultant success on the pitch bears witness to the effect of his contribution. The same is true of the Mansours at City, the Glazers at Utd, Kronke at Arsenal,and Fenway Sports at Liverpool. We on the other hand attempt to compete with no tangible help from our own billionaire owner, whose apparent interest lies elsewhere than in owning a winning football club.

  • I can remember when top footballers were on a maximum wage of £20/week, when gates in all standing grounds were massive, I have been in WHL on several occasions with 60,000+in, so the considerable revenues were going somewhere, presumably to owners and directors. At least these days, the generators of the revenues, the reasons for football’s financial bonanza, namely the players are getting their share, at least in some clubs, so good luck to them.

  • We lock horns again Jod.If Wembley is seating between 70,000 & 90,000 depending on Brent Council’s strange decision making,that’s roughly 3 times the numbers at White hart lane.Perhaps you could tell me Jod ,what the projected revenue this year will be compared to last & why clubs who would kill for our turnover, can afford to pay inferior players to ours more money every week.You’re an accountant ,so come up with the figures that back up your claim that Spurs can’t afford to match the wages of many other clubs.

  • Frank …. When you think how much the Double team were earning for their dedication and history-making football you have to wonder about the justice of it all. What would they be worth today and how much would they be paid. Instead of being set up for life (which only takes 3 or 4 seasons for many players these days) they had to start their lives all over again once their careers were finished. I guess it’s all about the timing!

  • Geofspur of course you are absolutely right re the comparison between Billy Nick’s team and current players, but as you say it is all about timing. You only have to look at what has happened to house prices in the same period of time. I moved from Kilburn in NW London to Scarborough in North Yorks ( Bill Nick’s home town as it happens) in 1965, at that time I could buy a nice 3 bedroom house in Scarborough for £1200.00, but today the same house although 52 years older is now worth circa £145,000. I know this is still chicken feed by London standards but just an illustration of the inflation of all prices including footballer’s wages. It is at the end of the day a question of supply and demand, how many footballers are available and good enough to play in the EPL, F1drivers are paid fortunes for the same reason. Having said all that the double team, were they playing today would all be multi millionaires.

  • I cannot fully understand our current transfer strategy. After nearly 3 months of lack of activity, we know seem intent on signing defenders with Sanchez being apparently followed by Foyth and talk of Aurier. Apart from a persistent speculation re Barkley who is possibly injured for the next 2 months anyway so wouldn’t be available much before Xmas, there is no mention of possible additions in critically urgent areas in the squad, namely an AMFer, hopefully with pace, to cover or provide selection options for Ali or Eriksen, or even more vital a decent striker as competition/ cover for Kane as an alternative to Jansson who is frankly just not good enough. There are still 9 days left, but I fear we will still have the same weaknesses after the window closes, as we had in May.

  • Leaving the transfer discussion aside, there are many interesting points in this thread. It seems to me that so many things factor in a transfer value these days, it’s not just potential. For players like Pogba, it seems that his “brand” (he’s got his own emoji – why?) has a massive worth to the club. Signing someone like Neymar guarantees the sale of millions of shirts back in Brazil, and increases the exposure of that club in a new market. Buying a player with a certain level of fame is almost more of a business decision than a footballing one. Those considerations aside, I think the price has also gone up simply due to the fact that revenues have skyrocketed. Other artificial constraints also play a role (ie a player being “homegrown” probably adds 5 or 10 million to the price in the PL). Maybe introducing a spending cap/salary cap like US sports do would restore some equality, but I feel that the big clubs would lobby against it. As for viewership going down, is that merely a question of people choosing to watch games in public places (pubs,…) where numbers are hard to track? Illegal streaming has to be a factor too. I don’t think there is any less interest for football, in fact quite the opposite.

  • I feel Levy buying more defenders could mean he is about to ship out Rose & Toby for a nice profit sending a message to all players who want break the Levy wage cap that they will be sold.This used to be a football club ,it’s now a branch of costcutters.

  • Tv numbers are falling as a result of the increased prices as a result of the increased prices… In other words the average person can no longer afford sports. I personally detest the fact that the premier league is split between two broadcasters and find it morally incomprehensible that I would have to pay 2 different broadcasters huge amounts of my disposable income to watch the same competition. I hope it goes tits up soon because it is a joke and we will be the best club to deal with it when it does!!!

  • Greaves I feel Levy might be doing that in anticipation of huge offers so we are in a position of stability and strength when it does occur. Some may call it forward thinking and a welcome relief from panic buying…

  • I’ll be glad when the transfer window is closed & we still have a team we recognise. COYS.

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