Football transfer fees – what would they be worth now?
We look at some of the most notable transfers in history and tell you what the fees paid would be worth today
It’s been predicted that transfer fees in excess of £100 million will be the new normal before 2025. However, it wasn’t all that long ago when transfer fees were just £100.
In July 1893, Willie Groves‘ move from West Bromwich Albion to Aston Villa made history as the first ever three figure transfer fee in the British game.
Even in today’s money, Grove’s £100 fee would only be worth £11,792, a bargain when you consider he was part of the Villa team that won the league title the very next year.
With Neymar’s recent record-breaking £200m+ transfer to Paris Saint Germain from Barcelona, we’ve looked at how transfer fees have evolved over the last 124 years.
As the above image shows, we’ve come a long way since the days of paying £100 for the transfer of a player. Many pinpoint the 1979 transfer of Trevor Francis to Nottingham Forest as the true beginning of outrageous fees and they could have point, with the £1m deal being double that of Kevin Keegan’s Hamburg transfer just two years previous.
Below, we’ve outlined some of the most noteworthy transfers to have taken place over the 20th century.
> Alf Common’s February 1905 move from Sunderland to Middlesbrough was the first ever four figure transfer at a humble £1000. This is the equivalent of £111,580.
> By February 1922, the largest transfer fee had hit £5000 when Syd Puddefoot moved from West Ham United to Falkirk. In today’s money, this would be worth £260,728.
> It wasn’t long before the biggest transfer fee had doubled. In October 1928, David Jack’s move from Bolton Wanderers cost Arsenal £10,890. This was the first five figure transfer and would be worth £627,808 in today’s money.
> The £20K landmark was eventually reached in November 1947 when Chelsea’s Tommy Lawton transferred to Notts County. His fee would now be worth £718,131.
> The next large rise came when John Charles transferred from Leeds United to Juventus in April 1957. His fee of £65,000 was the first to pass the £50k mark. Charles’ transfer is also the earliest fee to be worth more than £1 million in today’s money. In fact, his fee would now be worth £1,438,176.
> Five years later, in July 1962, Denis Law’s transfer from Torino to Manchester United was the first over £100K. Law’s fee was £115,000 (worth £2,839,124 in today’s money).
> Kevin Keegan was the first UK footballer to have a £500K transfer fee as he moved from Liverpool to Hamburg in June 1977. However, in today’s money, it isn’t much more than Law’s 100 K landmark figure. Now, Keegan’s fee would be worth £2,850,824.
> The first transfer to hit £1 million was Trevor Francis, as he left Birmingham City for Nottingham Forest in February 1979. Francis’s £1,180,000 would be worth £5,478,684 in today’s money.
> Mark Hughes became the first to hit £2 million in May 1986 when he transferred from Manchester United to Barcelona. His £2,300,000 fee would now be £6,184,788.
> The £5 million mark was broken by David Platt when he moved from Aston Villa to Bari in July 1991. His original £5.5 million fee was also the first to pass over the £10 million in today’s money.
> The first to pass the £10 million mark at the time was Alan Shearer with £15 million in July 1996 when he moved from Blackburn Rovers to Newcastle United. In today’s money, this transfer would be worth £25,838,143.
> Nicolas Anelka surpassed the £20 million mark in August 1999 with £22,500,000 – equivalent of £35,782,758 in today’s money.
We’ve used inflation to calculate what the fees would be worth day, but we haven’t adjusted for the general rise of fees, which have sky-rocketed in the recent years.
With Pogba’s transfer from Juventus to Manchester United costing a massive £89,700,000, we’re sure teams would be fighting tooth and nail for the signature of Willie Groves for just £11,792, which shows just how far we’ve come in a (relatively) short time.
Now that transfer fees going up and up, the £100 million mark does not seem unrealistic as the new normal. But who will be the first player in the Premier League? And which team will be stumping up the cash? Whoever it is, we should find out by 2025.
We have odds on the latest major transfers rumours and you can bet on them at Coral. Do you think any of these could be the first £100m transfer in the UK? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section or tweet us @Coral.
*Coral’s transfer specials
**Ross Barkley’s club after the summer transfer window
8-13 Everton, 7-4 Tottenham, 3 Chelsea, 14 Arsenal, 20 Manchester United, 25 Newcastle,
**Philippe Coutinho’s club after the summer transfer window
5-6 Barcelona, Liverpool, 10 PSG, 20 AC Milan, Real Madrid, 25 Bayern Munich, Juventus
**Jonny Evans’ club after the summer transfer window
Evs Manchester City, 5-4 West Brom, 5-2 Arsenal, 8 Leicester
**Thomas Lemar’s club after the summer transfer window
1-2 Liverpool, 6-4 Monaco, 9-2 Arsenal, 10 Manchester United, 25 Barcelona, Tottenham
**Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s club after the summer transfer window
8-13 Arsenal, 5-2 Chelsea, 11-4 Liverpool, 14-1 Manchester City, 20-1 Manchester United
**Riyad Mahrez’s club after the summer transfer window
8-11 Leicester, 9-4 Arsenal, 5 Chelsea, Tottenham, 6 Roma, 8 Liverpool
**Danny Rose’s club after the summer transfer window
1-9 Tottenham, 4 Manchester United, 8 Chelsea, 12 Manchester City, Liverpool
**Alexis Sanchez’s club after the summer transfer window
1-2 Manchester City, 13-10 Arsenal, 5 Manchester United, 16 PSG, 20 Barcelona
**Luke Shaw’s club after the summer transfer window
1-9 Manchester United, 4 Tottenham, 10 Everton, 12 Newcastle, 16 Southampton
**Virgil van Dijk’s club after the summer transfer window
2-5 Liverpool, 7-4 Southampton, 9-2 Arsenal, 6 Chelsea, 20 Manchester City
Further contact information:
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