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Will Haaland Really Be The First Billion Pound Player?

The idea of a million pound footballer was inconceivable until Trevor Francis came along. With the money that has flooded into the Premier League since it was founded, transfer fees have climbed to levels nobody would have bet on them reaching. In the 90’s came Cole, Collymore, Bergkamp, Shearer and Anelka for huge fees. Fees that no doubt, people thought would be insurmountable. In the 2000’s came more money and even bigger transfers across football, Figo, Zidane, Veron, Ferdinand, Robinho, Kaka and then the big one, which arguably shifted the market more than any other that had come before. Real Madrid paid a massive sum of 80 million pounds for Cristiano Ronaldo, a generational talent. There was no doubt his transfer fee would be a record one but £80 million was an unimaginable amount of money to spend on a player even then. £47.5 million more than had ever been spent on a player before. There were still entire squads in the Premier League that had been built with less money than that one transfer fee. Ronaldo went on to exceed even the most optimistic fan’s expectations at Madrid, fighting for the Ballon D’or with one-club-man, Messi, every season he played for Madrid. He broke every record there was to be broken. Arguably, he justified his price tag or at least, he achieved so much in his career that people forgot all about how much Madrid paid for him. The football world quietened down and many couldn’t imagine a player going anywhere for that much money anytime soon. Then, four years later came Bale.

The Market After Ronaldo

After a phenomenal few seasons at Spurs, predictably, Real Madrid came knocking. Levy knew he had leverage, Bale was another generational talent that had the ability to single-handedly change games. In Florentino Perez’s eyes, he was made to be a Galactico. Then came an £85 million bid, Bale was on his way to Madrid having broken the transfer record set four years earlier by Ronaldo. There was no doubt in fans’ minds, Bale was not on the same level as Ronaldo. So why was he going for more money? Levy is a fierce negotiator for one. If Ronaldo’s £80 million fee could be considered justified for all that he achieved at Madrid, the same couldn’t quite be said for Bale. Whether it was through injuries, not speaking the language or issues with managers, it never quite worked out for Bale. He scored some important goals for Madrid and won a number of huge trophies but he never fully hit the expectations that were placed on him because of his transfer fee. This was to be a sign of what was to come.

The New Normal 

3 years later it was Manchester United’s turn to break the record, this time spending £89 million to bring back Pogba from Juventus. Where he had moved on a free transfer some years earlier. Pogba never fully justified his price tag, with patchy form, a questionable work ethic and a strained relationship with United’s supporters. This was to become a more and more common theme in the years to come after the Pogba transfer. There were some success stories like Alisson and Van Dijk, both moving to Liverpool for fees over £70 million and arguably, justifying their price tags. But, for every Alisson and Van Dijk, there is a Grealish, Coutinho and João Félix. All three moved for fees north of £100 million, with none of them having yet left a real mark since their transfers. Grealish has done little but warm the bench since his £100 million transfer to Manchester City last season.

The Big One

In August 2017, the football world was in shock. Neymar was to be transferred from Barcelona to PSG for a fee of £200 million. Very soon after, it was announced that Mbappe would join him, initially on a loan that would be made permanent the next summer for £166 million. The football market still isn’t the same to this day. These figures were astronomical, perhaps only three or four clubs in the world could have afforded to pay these prices but it was an indicator of what was to come. Huge transfer fees and huge wage packets, the going-rate changed. The question most fans were asking was, ‘is this the new normal?’. It became the new measuring stick, all of a sudden, £80 million for Ronaldo seemed like nothing. Neymar didn’t hit the heights he hit at Barcelona, you could argue no superstar has fully justified their transfer fee since Ronaldo in 2009. It became the norm to overpay, with clubs and agents using the old excuse, ‘that’s the market’.

The Next One

Now, you have Haaland. His agent has been in front of the press this week angling for a new contract only a few months into the one just signed, claiming he could be the first £1 billion player. With the start he has made, his potential, and the already complete talent he looks like at 22 years old, it’s scary to imagine what he could become. With image rights and sponsors, all signs point to him picking up the torch from the era of Ronaldo and Messi. A generational talent. A player that will be the face of football for many years to come bar injury or bad luck. Haaland is perfectly positioned to help City win their first Champions League and cement his status as a future legend of the game. Bookies already have them as a favourite, will this be the season they finally do it? If you think so, there’s a new bet365 promo code you can use to claim your sign up bonus now. Fans never thought they would see an £80 million pound transfer, a £100 million transfer or a £200 million transfer. The trend says it’s going to happen one day and if you were going to bet on anyone justifying a figure that large, it would be Haaland.

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