Are they worth it?

The next few transfer windows are going to be fascinating as its very likely that many of the worlds best forwards are going to be moving teams. Goal scoring is a talent, you can coach a team and micro manage the system but the ability to put the ball in net is unteachable. When a generational talent is available do you break the bank?

Top forward players do move teams but not often, replacing them is hard. The rationale behind these potential transfers can be categorized in 3 sectors:

Age – Aguero & Cavani

Trophy Pursuit`- Harry Kane, Ronaldo & Messi

Money – Erling Haaland & Kylian Mbappe

A sportsman’s career is short and I have no issue that each competitor should try and maximise their earning potential to the highest degree. I feel sorry for players entering the NFL before they can even be paid for playing the game they would have played 4 years at high school and 3 years at college. As a top prospect you will be playing at a high competitive level, risking injuries which could roadblock your progress to finally be paid. Once they are drafted the wages are capped, the level of pay determined by the league and the draft position and position initially for 3-5 years then at that point the mega bucks deals are available if you are still wanted. American Football is a highly physical sport the average career length is only 2 1/2 years. Securing forever money within the NFL is extremely hard, while football players barring injury can enjoy 10 years plus as a pro.

It always seemed that footballers were driven by success, the lucrative pay if you was playing at the top was a bonus, reward for being top class. The impending transfers of the 2 brightest talents (Haaland & Mbappe) in the world are surely driven by money. Wage demands for both men are in around the £500k-£1million per week stratosphere. You have to seriously question who can pay those amounts as we come out of period of time where COVID has affected finances in all areas of the world? Already a mega rich club like Man City have distanced themselves from becoming involved in either possible transfer. You cannot blame them either as despite the talent and age of Haaland and Mbappe, bringing them in will undoubtedly create friction and envy within the playing squad.  If either lad guaranteed numerous Champions League titles it would be money well spent but that won’t be the case.

In all likelihood both could join a club who are looking to compete at the top (not domestically, europe wide) but in all honesty involved in a rebuild. Its well documented that Barcelona and Real Madrid are struggling financially but would sign either young superstar. This will increase pressure on the finances and restrict investment elsewhere on the pitch. Its not a case of the elite clubs not buying these players, more so questioning should they pay the ridiculous wages. When negotiating if the demands are not met the transfer will not occur, leaving Mbappe bullying the French league and Haaland playing for a club who develop and nurture rather than winning the big prizes. Dortmund especially will want to push the transfer through, the fee is astronomical!

The big US sport player contracts are heavily driven by a mixture of base pay and incentives, it makes more sense that with football wages so high they follow their US counterparts. Of course footballers receive bonuses for goals etc but now is the time to reduce the high level of secure money and filter higher, lucrative payments for the team succeeding. Rather than paying £1m a week, £52m a year, make the wages half that which is still world class player wages and insert the balance depending on league and European victory? Like its always said no one remembers the losing semi finalists in the cups, same goes with Mbappe or Haaland if in 30 years their memory consists of playing for top teams, earning mega bucks and never winning anything of note. The final question will be what have they won?

Kylian Mbappe holds numerous French league titles already and a world cup, his legacy is already being built with a solid foundation. If his career ended now you would say its been great but he is 22, when you see him play their is so much more on the table for him. Its fair to say Haaland may never even play in a major competition for Norway, honours will have to arrive via the domestic game. Both their next moves will be transfers which will likely mean stays at their new club for around 5 years.

Electric acceleration is a key component of both players games, a major injury could rob them of a key skillset, when this occurred for players like Owen or Ronaldo it roadblocked a once rocketing career. This leads back to the right destination being chosen for both a monumental decision.

As I see it right now if you are a super club purchasing either player it therefore potentially means an attacking threat which can barely be contained by even the most sublime, classy defenders in the world. The effect on the rest of the playing squad is questionable. This occurs in US sports governed by salary caps, the top players possess eye watering contracts but the standard of other players is compromised. Bayern have shown this season despite so many mouth watering attacking talent, the back up to Lewandowski is ex Stoke player Choupo-Moting.

To balance the books do you lose some other key talents?

Do the other key talents push the finances further by demanding wage increases?

As their is no I in team some of the other options available hold a solid team based methodology, despite the ages of Messi, Ronaldo or Aguero they’ve shown they produce results for the teams they play in. Bringing them in is a short term expensive solution with a proven record. Harry Kane is probably the most hungry player available, he will cost less than Mbappe or Haaland in a transfer fee and wages will be at a respectable level. His glass ankles are a concern but you would manage a talent like him for the big games, while maintaining a squad balance when considering expense.

Haalands association with Mino Raiola oozes monetary and understandable when you consider his fathers career was halted by serious injury, Alf Inge realises Erlings playing days could halt at any time. Mbappe knows his self worth in the world game, despite Neymar’s presence at PSG Kylian is the game changer. With honours already earned he wants the dollar to match his standing.

I personally cannot see either players coming to the Premier League and as we speak today if the European Super League occurs we won’t as they would be playing there instead. That is if my thoughts on their greed compared to honours is correct! Ultimately I severely doubt they will be the long term successors to Messi or Ronaldo both men dominated world football for over 15 years, winning and being the best was the main goal, financial gain came with it.