Cast your mind back to when you were a kid and £100 would’ve seemed like a huge amount of money, but now, that kind of fee can be spent quite easily on a bang average night out.
Now take a look at the transfer window, where 100 million doesn’t seem such a ridiculous concept either, with Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller currently linked with an eye-watering 100 million euro switch to Manchester United.
Of the noteworthy business that has already been concluded, we’ve seen Raheem Sterling trade Liverpool for Manchester City for £49 million while Christian Benteke has completed his Liverpool switch from Aston Villa for £32.5 million.
The thing about football is that it still is – and will always be – a game for the working man and woman, and with the astronomical amounts of money that are around the sport nowadays, humongous fees such as that are still greeted by ooh’s and ah’s, despite others claiming it’s good business – within the fantasy realm that is football of course.
For an entire generation of 20-something football fans, they’ve literally seen the concept of the transfer window being turned upon its head, with the Sky Sports revolution having undoubtedly glorified the period as being almost as important as the league campaign itself.
A kind of arms race where lack of participation is frowned upon angrily by fans, who more than merit a big signing or two as pay back for their season ticket, and it seems the concept of the window is here to stay.
For the aforementioned generation, they grew up adoring heroes such as Ronaldo (the one who released a Playstation game), Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane and isn’t it remarkable to think that in their prime and at their most expensive, this star studded trio would’ve only – and we say only – cost £113 million.
Once upon a time back in 2001, Real Madrid signed the original Galactico in Zidane from Juventus for £46 million, fast forward to 2015 and a 20-year-old Sterling has just been transferred for £3 million more than that fee. At the end of the day, as smart technology has grown over the last decade, so has our impatience in all walks of life, let alone supporting our favourite football teams.
This is demonstrated by the fact managers are hired and fired quicker than ever before. Just look at Watford with new Hornets boss Quique Sanchez Flores becoming the fifth manager at Vicarage Road in just two seasons. An extreme case but you see where we’re going with this.
Alongside sackings of course comes transfer business and for the likes of Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, who still employ something of a patient approach in the window, this technique is lamented and scrutinised by a large population of the club’s own fans. To stall and dig your heels is failure to conform it seems.
But back to Muller and his potential switch to Old Trafford this summer. His club team-mate at both Bayern Munich and for Germany, Philipp Lahm has added fuel to the fire in claiming a transfer for Muller isn’t impossible this summer, while Louis van Gaal has coyly claimed he has a ‘surprise’ transfer up his sleeve.
As football fans, we’re all naturally speculative, but it appears Bastian Schweinsteiger’s capture has transformed Red Devils fans into melting dreamers right now.
Since his arrival to Old Trafford, Van Gaal has managed to splash £217.6 million on nine new major arrivals, so it’s clear to see Ed Woodward is backing him in his philosophy – a philosophy of spending a shit load of money.
Right now, it appears nothing is standing in the way of Van Gaal looking to emulate the Sir Alex Ferguson glory years in just his second season in charge, with the Red Devils now boasting a more cavalier, look at us kind of attitude in the transfer market.
To capture Thomas Muller for a fee close to the 100 million euro mark this summer would not only shatter the current world record holder Gareth Bale’s fee, but it would also signal a potential point of no return for transfer fees in football.
To reach three figures seems absolutely ridiculous on the face of it, but with our impatience levels and the demands placed upon success spiralling out of control, perhaps this watershed moment will be scaled before the closure of the current window.