Sheffield United finally broke their transfer record this summer when they signed John Egan from Brentford.
But interesting new research from TotallyMoney’s Transfer Index has calculated how much some of United’s past arrivals would cost in today’s money… and the results are remarkable.
United’s record signing would be Matthew Kilgallon, who joined from Leeds in 2006/07 for just over £2.5m. In today’s money, that fee would equate to £12.7million.
Claude Davis’ fee that same season would be £11.7m in today’s money, and Rob Hulse would cost £11.5m.
Egyptian Ahmed Fathi makes United’s top ten, his £700,000 fee from Ismaily equating to £3.5m today, but at number ten is goalkeeper Alan Kelly. The £130,000 United paid Preston for his services is the equivalent of just over £3m today… which would surely still be a bargain for one of the best goalkeepers in the club’s living history.
TotallyMoney took the average transfer values of players since the English Premier League began in 1992, and compared the increase in transfer costs over time.
From this, they calculated a “football player inflation” to work out how much our favourite footballers would cost if they were bought today.
It’s thought that more family-friendly stadiums, increased TV, broadcasting, and advertising potential, as well as better merchandise, are the main reasons for the rise in player costs.
Football clubs now are earning more than ever as a result, which means they have more money to spend, and often enter into a bidding war with other clubs to secure the best players.
For context, if day-to-day items increased in line with Premier League inflation, a pint of milk today would cost £7.62, a loaf of bread £12.32, and a litre of fuel £11.20.
TotallyMoney’s Henry Keegan said: “Many think footballers have always been paid a lot. But, compared with how much they cost now, they were an absolute steal when the Premier League began.
“What our research shows is that with the globalisation of football and its ever-increasing worldwide popularity and TV deals, the biggest football clubs can afford to compete for the very best players — and that football inflation far outweighs day-to-day inflation.”
At the top end of the Premier League, top of the list is striker turned politician Andriy Shevchenko, who cost just over £29 million when he transferred to Chelsea in 2006. Today, it’s estimated he would cost over £144 million.
Rio Ferdinand takes second place, whose value was just shy of £29 million when he transferred to Manchester United in 2002. The defender today would be worth just over £125 million.
Former Newcastle and England captain Alan Shearer takes third place. When he transferred to Newcastle in 1996, the club paid close to £13 million — a world record at the time. Today, the striker would cost just over £121 million.