Arsenal Transfer Retrospection: The Total Cost of RvP and 5 Other Superstars

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Arsenal Transfer Retrospection: The Total Cost of RvP and 5 Other Superstars
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

So today at university, my eftpos card declined while I was attempting to purchase a $3.99 sandwich, and this got me thinking about football and money.

I recalled a period in the Robin van Persie transfer saga when newspaper headlines were grossly proclaiming that Juventus was putting together a £73 million deal for the Dutch striker.

When I first saw this, I was rather gobsmacked, as you could imagine. But upon reading the articles I ascertained that the figure was not a simple transfer fee, it also included van Persie’s wages, which were suggested to be around £180,000 after tax.

Now, this is a premium case of information being taken out of context in order to sensationalize headlines and thus attract outraged readers. A transfer fee is always separate to the wages paid to the player. The fee is effectively money that “buys out” the player’s existing contract, thus allowing that player to negotiate a new contract with the fee-paying club, while wages are, well, wages.

£73 million pounds sounds like an incorrigibly large sum of money—and it is. But this got me wondering what the total transfer fees of other, better-paid, higher-priced players might be if we took into account their wages as well, and this, dear reader, is how articles are born.

In the following list, I have taken the weekly wage of the said player (according to and multiplied it by 52 (52 weeks in a year, for those Cro-Magnons among us).

That figure was then multiplied by the number of years that the contract originally stated, producing a gross sum of their football-related wages.

I then added their reported transfer fee to the number, plus 10%, which I presumed to be an overall average of a player’s signing-on fee.

I got all the information I used from the above source, and I realize that some of the figures may be stated as different in other sources. This is not intended to be an exhaustive auditing of clubs’ player expenditure; it is simply an eye-opening look at the true costs of players in the modern climate.

The results are...well. See for yourself.

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