Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken out against the current trend of vast and vulgar transfer fees, by suggesting to Sky Sports that new Chelsea signing Eden Hazard was overpriced when he joined the Stamford Bridge club for a quoted £34million fee from Lille. According to the same article, the United boss had initially been interested in taking the Belgium international to Old Trafford before he joined Chelsea, though not for that sort of money:
“There is a borderline in terms of what you would think is a good signing for United. I see some values on players, like Hazard for instance. To me it was a lot of money. He’s a good player, but £34m?”
The United boss also criticised the general state of the current market, pinpointing the influence of agents as a toxic element, while also taking the time to defend his own club’s scouting and transfer policy:
“What we’re finding anyway, the climate for buying these top players – not just the transfer fees, the salaries, agents’ fees – is just getting ridiculous now. In the Hazard deal, Chelsea paid the agent £6m. The (Samir) Nasri situation was the same. It’s all about what you think is value for a player. I am not envious of those deals at all. We placed a value on Hazard which was well below what they were talking about. So if it doesn’t work, well we’re not worried about that. We think we’ve got good value in (Shinji) Kagawa.”
So far this summer, United have brought in Shinji Kagawa from Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund and fellow midfielder Nick Powell, who joined from the highly-rated academy at Crewe. Ferguson believes Powell’s acquisition shows exactly how well his club work in the scouting market:
“We scout well. Sometimes we do the scouting for other clubs. The minute the agent knew we’d spoken to Powell, I think every club was in with offers. But we’d done the deal. Whenever we show interest in a player it activates the situation with other clubs. But we’ve done well over the years. We’ve bought well. One or two bad ones, no doubt about that, but you handle that.
The big difference is when the academy started 10 years ago we had to change our scouting in terms of abroad. So that’s increased. Looking at countries like Brazil, Mexico and through South America. France too, we’re all over Europe now.”
This might well just be Sir Alex’s first step to kicking off his usual mind-games, with Chelsea looking to make a reinvigorated assault on the Premier League after a disappointing 6th place finish last term, but he does make a good point about the state of the market. Liverpool found to their detriment last year that market valuation and over-inflation can lead to extravagant and ill-considered moved like the one that saw Andy Carroll move to Anfield for £35m.
What do you think Chelsea fans? Is Sir Alex Ferguson’s assessment of the current market situation fair? Was Eden Hazard over-priced? Share your thoughts below.
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