January Transfer Window: 10 Established Stars Not Worth the Money
It's that time of year again: the January transfer window is upon us, and all those speculators and transfer prognosticators are out in force, starting rumors and stirring the pot.
Out of this mayhem always rise a few far-fetched pieces of speculation, which most anyone with any footballing acumen can quickly shoot down as pure gossip.
Usually, the subject of these more hopeful stories are established stars, and whether or not the conjecture regarding their futures is substantiated, their projected transfer values never cease to amaze.
So, in a footballing world dominated by the likes of deep-pocketed Real Madrid and Manchester City, let us attempt to talk some sense into those who like to hypothesize and establish a list of 10 stars who are certainly not worth the transfer fee or salary they would command.
Regardless of the veracity of the rumors surrounding them, these individuals would put an enormous and unnecessary dent in the budget of whomever they would sign for.
The little Russian has been in awful form for Arsenal of late, and it is not hard to see why he is being linked with a move away from the Gunners.
However, that any team might want to pay a transfer fee north of £10 million is astounding to me. Arshavin has barely been able to control a pass recently, let alone contribute meaningfully or—dare I say it—score.
Plus, Arshavin is on the wrong side of 30, so there is not much upside to his transfer, and his value will only decrease until the end of his career.
It would shock me, then, if any team would shell out the relatively large sum necessary to take in an aging player who was once pretty good.
However, while the Englishman is young and possesses a considerable amount of raw talent, his recent performances have not made him worthy of such a substantial price tag.
There is increasing evidence to support the claim that Walcott is an athlete and not a footballer. He only seems to be successful when he pushes the ball behind defenders and runs past them. When it comes to the harder, more technical aspects of the game, he fails repeatedly.
So, while all of these teams have money to spend, giving a considerable amount of it to Arsenal for a wildly inconsistent player like Walcott seems a bit foolish.
Hulk is undeniably a fantastic player, and his rare combination of strength, speed and technical ability make him an extremely promising player, and quite an interesting transfer target.
He is very good, but is he worth anything approaching £84 million? Absolutely not.
That garish number is the buyout clause in the Brazilian's contract, and if some team were to swoop in for him, it would break Christiano Ronaldo's world record transfer fee of £80 million.
Unless someone is crazy enough to pay that enormous amount of money, he is very unlikely to leave, as he is currently enjoying tearing through Portugal with reigning champions Porto.
Even for a club like Manchester City, £84 million has to seem like a comically high amount of money to pay for Hulk's services.
The Argentine, who has increasingly served as backup to Karim Benzema at Real Madrid, is reported to be of interest to Arsenal—questionably, I should say—as backup to the superb Robin van Persie.
His reported £22 million price tag seems a bit high, though, for a player who has had injury problems and is not even starting at his club with any consistency.
And as a reported target for Arsene Wenger, it is hard to see the frugal Frenchman breaking his transfer record on someone who would only be a backup.
It also says a lot about the player that he was once first-choice at the Bernabeu, but he has not performed well enough to keep his place ahead of the surging Benzema.
Pato has not succeeded as much with the reigning Italian champions recently as he is used to, and that has led to rumors of a €38 million switch to nuveau-riche Paris Saint-Germain.
While the Brazilian is certainly a quality striker—and at 22 years old he certainly has room for improvement yet—he is not worth a fee as nearly as high as that which the French club would have to shell out to bring him to the French capital.
Pato's troubles with his manager would certainly draw a red flag, as now more than ever the threat of a player disrupting the dressing room is something a team must watch for.
For me, Hazard is one of the kings of inflated prices this transfer season.
Yes, the young Belgian winger possesses immense amounts of talent, and his combination of pace, trickery and sublime vision make him one of the best young players in the world.
However, his supposed price tag starts at £40 million, which is a massive sum to pay for anyone, and it seems a bit unbelievable to me that Hazard is so good at his tender age that he could really provide the sort of value commensurate with such a high transfer fee.
Especially for one who plays out wide, Hazard's almost mythic status in the world of transfer speculation and the transfer fees that have been attached to him are somewhat unjustified.
At 29, the Brazilian is certainly not a long-term investment, and he does not have many years left in which he will be in his prime.
Since his severe knee injury at the start of last season, Kaka has not even been able to cement a regular place in Jose Mourinho's side, as he has been eclipsed by the supremely talented Mesut Ozil.
For a player who has not had a good run of form in months, has had injury problems and does not get consistent starts, Kaka does not seem like a good value to me on any level.
I know, I know, it's heresy to say that Neymar is anything other than the second coming of Pele, and his talent should be unquestioned.
However, the 19-year-old Brazilian is not the finished product yet, and reports that he could transfer to Real Madrid for an eye-popping £53 million simply make me shake my head.
Neymar is blessed with unbelievable amounts of skill and raw talent, but to spend this much money on a player who has never really played in a top league seems ridiculous to me.
Lop about £25 million off his transfer fee, though, and he presents a good value with a ceiling as limitless as the goals he is capable of scoring.
The young Spanish winger is extremely highly regarded, and has been linked with a move to Real Madrid, as they look to bring in yet another wave of young, world-class talent.
He has risen to the level of undisputed starter at Athletic Bilbao at the tender age of 19, and is one of Spain's Under-21 stars. However, the release clause in Muniain's contract is £38 million, and any buyer would have to pony up that amount of money to lure the Spaniard away.
While Muniain is certainly very talented, he has not shown at his young age that he is so talented as to command a higher transfer fee than Cesc Fabregas, to use another Spaniard as an example.
Of those two, Milan is the most probable, but the fee of at least £30 million, or even £40 million that the Rossoneri would have to shell out for everyone's least favorite striker, is simply the most outlandish value bandied about during this transfer window.
The player would only be a backup option at Milan, and he has not even played in months, so he will have to spend valuable time building up his form and match fitness.
And eventually, as always, Tevez will pout and whine, acting out and begging for a move away because his every whim is not being indulged.
I would not take Tevez in for no salary on a free transfer, let alone for the outrageous transfer fee and subsequent salary that he commands.