For fans of all but the richest clubs, the summer transfer window can be tough as big spending sides target their team’s star player. While it is true football has always had a financial pecking order, money is gaining greater influence than ever before.
This was most evident in Manchester City’s pursuit of Raheem Sterling. Liverpool had repeatedly said the player was not for sale and rejected bids of £30m and £40m. When the offer of £49m came through though, the club relented.
It is not just clubs who are unable to resist wealthy suitors. In this transfer window Brazilian stars Robinho and Paulinho have signed for Guangzhou Evergrande and former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan has joined rival Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG. Footballers have been offered huge salaries to move abroad for decades, but this was usually at the twilight of their careers. Now, it is increasingly common for players to move in their prime.
Paulinho should be approaching the peak of his powers at the age of 26, while Gyan (who has played in Abu Dhabi since 2011) is 29 years old and Robinho is only two years his senior. The salaries the players are receiving dwarf their market rate in Europe. By leaving Tottenham Hotspur, Paulinho has doubled his salary to £110,000-a-week. Guangzhou Evergrande have not disclosed Robinho’s salary, but as he arrived on a ‘free’ transfer, it is likely to be far higher. Not to be outdone, Gyan’s contract is rumoured to be worth a staggering £227,000-a-week.
The figures may be eye-wateringly high, but it appears inevitable that players’ salaries will escalate further.