There is a beautiful little video on the internet that you may very well have seen if you like football and are digitally engaged – and you’ve ticked both boxes if you’re reading this. It depicts the net transfer fees paid by the biggest-spending European clubs between 1991-2 to 2018-19.
It doesn’t mention the sourcing of figures and FootballDNA would certainly not vouch for the accuracy of the fees but there is something beguiling about it. And the presence of Manchester City at the top of the tree is not likely to surprise any viewer.
For those who haven’t had the chance to watch it already, it’s here:
Whether or not the sums involved are correct, there is one thing about it that certainly does ring true. The game has grown from a time when, in 1995, a self-made steel magnate from Lancashire could make his boyhood club, Blackburn Rovers, one of the biggest-spending outfits in all of Europe on a few millions of his hard earned.
These days if you are going to challenge the old football establishment, you’d better be backed by the sovereign wealth of an oil rich nation or be a petrodollar oligarch yourself, because the game has moved on and the clock can’t be turned back.