My piece for the Aspirer on Superstar Moves In the Transfer Market.
The summer transfer window has become synonymous with superstars moving at increasingly exorbitant prices.
Last summer it was David Luiz’s afro becoming the most expensive hairdo of all time with a €62 million move from Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain. Not to be outdone, Barcelona captured Luis Suarez for an eye-watering €81 million from Liverpool. The summer before it was Gareth Bale’s record-breaking €100 million move from Tottenham to Real Madrid that had us all staring wide-eyed. You get the picture.
As money continues to flow into the game, the list of nouveau riche clubs grow and stars want to “test themselves” and join “exciting projects,” then such moves have become an integral part of football during the summer.
To be clear, there are a few major prerequisites for a superstar move. A super player, of course, a hefty transfer fee, one, or more, super clubs and a saga of some sort, whether it’s the continuous adoring glances of one, or more, suitors or a when will this player move to a bigger scenario type deal. All those moves mentioned above hit all the marks, except you could argue there wasn’t much of saga with Luiz to PSG.
This summer has seen Arturo Vidal move to Bayern Munich from Juventus. The Chilean’s status as the most complete midfielder in the game, and his eventual destination, make this a superstar move even if you don’t check the hefty transfer fee box due to his paltry €37 million price. Looking elsewhere, Angel Di Maria’s impending move from Manchester United to Paris Saint-Germain may take in terms of the most eye-catching deal of the summer.
Sure, this summer has seen Bastian Schweinsteiger, surprisingly, join Manchester United from Bayern Munich and Raheem Sterling’s still unbelievable $50 million dollar fee. Those two don’t fall into the superstar category for a few reasons, namely Schweinsteiger’s age and progressive decline and Sterling being far from the finished product. While those deals are still big in the context of things, they’re not the real headline-grabbers that a move like Di Maria’s to PSG would be, or that Vidal’s move is.
Di Maria, a 2014 World Cup and 2015 Copa America finalist, is just about to hit his peak and is a player that can boost a team both on and off the pitch. He was an integral part of Real Madrid’s most recent cup success, the fabled “La Decima” victory in the Champions League and equally important in the Copa del Rey the same year. His recent season at Manchester United will surely end up being a one-off when he’s playing in France.
Vidal is in a similar position, minus the European title to his name, one which he may very well add this season, but he does have an international trophy in his collection.
Why this summer is such a droll affair isn’t a huge mystery. We know those in the Premier League have money burning holes in their pockets, but they already have the vast majority of the world’s stars. The few that may not be romping about in England are, even for that lot, unattainable. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the first two to cross the mind, but there are plenty of others.
In Germany, Matts Hummels and Marco Reus have opted to stay at Borussia Dortmund while virtually the entire Bayern Munich squad beyond those who may be aging and those still yet to fulfill their potential are off-limits. Juventus still has Paul Pogba, for now, and Gonzalo Higuain’s transfer fee would be borderline preposterous. Karim Benzema status as the only natural striker at Real Madrid should also keep him around and Edinson Cavani will be key to PSG’s hopes moving forward. Those are just a few names before we even get to those already in England who are unlikely to switch teams, whether domestically or abroad. Eden Hazard, Mesut Ozil, Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez and Wayne Rooney come to mind.
This summer has seen its share of surprising moves, Andre Ayew to Swansea is one, and grand gestures such as Geoffrey Kondogbia’s move to Inter but those moves may have already been forgotten. Super clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich and the richest of the rich in the Premier League will horde the top talent. It’s very likely that moving forward there will be a lot of posturing, rather than actual activity, as far as superstar transfers are concerned. Or not.
It’s a question that won’t be answered this summer, and maybe not for a few more, but there is a big possibility that superstar transfers will become a rarity in the transfer market.