Crazy Money: If Torres Costs $80 Million, What Are Messi and Co. Worth?

Chris PotterCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2011

Crazy Money: If Torres Costs $80 Million, What Are Messi and Co. Worth?

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Notorious B.I.G. once famously rapped: ''Mo' Money, Mo' Problems.'

    Chelsea FC owner and Russian oil magnate Roman Abrahamovic, having splashed a staggering $70 million (£50 million) on transfer fees plus $15 million a year in wages and image rights fees on 26 year-old Spanish forward Fernando Torres last month, must be all too familiar with the Brooklyn rapper's issues.

    He watched El Niño flop as Liverpool dealt a major blow to Chelsea's title hopes with a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge last night.

    Liverpool owner John W. Henry also splashed his cash on Jan. 31 with the high-purchase signings of Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez and his new English strike partner Andy Carroll for a total fee approaching $100 million.

    Despite caretaker manager Kenny Dalglish not being able to select the latter due to injury and leaving the former on the bench, Boston Red Sox owner Henry reveled in his new club's fourth consecutive win.

    Although it is unfair and unwise to judge the value of these three signings at such an early stage, it seems that a tide of optimism has washed onto the Liverpool docks and that Dalglish and his players are at the crest of a wave.

    For Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti, Torres' arrival brings about what should be a very nice if tricky dilemma: how to incorporate three top-class strikers into a balanced and successful team.

    While it is true that the merry go-round of strikers, gossip-mongering and desperate short-sightedness of many Premier League chairmen inflated the cost of each player significantly, English clubs historically continue to spend more money (relatively speaking) on players with Premier League experience and success...especially for young forwards.

    So if Newcastle successfully auctioned Carroll for $55 million and Chelsea felt the need to splurge considerably more on Torres, I wonder how much England's top club would be willing to spend to bring in five of the finest players in world football today... 

Gareth Bale: Tottenham Hotspur's Welsh Wizard

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    Twelve goals in 70 league appearances might not seem that special. But these facts don't tell the full story about Gareth Bale, the 21-year-old Welsh left-winger who is causing a stir in the Premier League and Champions League this year.

    What tells the story better are four assists in Tottenham's Champions League qualifier, a hat-trick in the San Siro, a stunning volley at Stoke City in the Premier League, and serious interest from all of Europe's biggest clubs.

    Still young, Bale possesses great control, speed and stamina as well having a seriously talented left foot. He is also, by many accounts, a great professional and a grounded and well-educated young man.

    However, his lack of big-match experience and his recent injury woe temper slightly what could eventually become an enormous transfer fee required to pry him from the desperate grasp of manager Harry Redknapp. 

    Value on today's transfer market: $70 million

Samir Nasri: Arsene Wenger's Petit Prince

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    The Premier League's EA Sports Index rates the Premier League's best players according to numerous criteria.

    I would suggest that a system bug might have got hold of it recently as it impossible that there have been seven better players in the league this season than Samir Nasri.

    Arsenal's 23-year-old attacking midfielder Nasri has been in scintillating form for the last 12 months and has notched up nine goals and an assist and at times kept the North London club in the title hunt.

    Slightly older than Bale, Nasri nevertheless has more experience, particularly in the Champions League.

    Value on Today's Transfer Market: $80 million

Carlos Tevez: Roberto Mancini's Argentinean Warrior

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    If one player can snatch another Premier League title away from greedy Manchester United, it is surely Carlos Tevez.

    With 18 league goals and five assists, the dynamic South American has been involved in nearly 60% of his team's goals. 

    Surprisingly again, EA Sports' ranking system rates him as only the seventh-best in the league this year, although many observers would consider him as the current favourite to win the Player of the Year award for his all-action passionate displays.

    Despite not being a poster boy who would instantly sell thousands of shirts, his determination and quality continue to push Manchester City on from one win to the next. A relentless force in today's game.

    Value on Today's Transfer Market: $90 million

Xavier Hernández i Creus: Barcelona's Midfield Maestro

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    Popularly known as Xavi, Barcelona's phenomenally important midfield general has presided over the club's most successful period for many years.

    At the Catalan club since the age of 11, he is the Spanish equivalent of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes rolled into one.

    Control, intelligence, quality and vision are some of his best qualities and he has scored 38 goals in 370 matches and set up a whole lot more.

    He is the fulcrum of an attacking unit which tears every team in the world apart. For example, this year Barcelona has scored more than three goals per league match and only dropped five points with more than half of the season gone.

    For his loyalty and the fact that he can have a huge impact at the very highest level in modern football for at least another four years, his value is almost immeasurable.

    Value in Today's Transfer Market: $100 million

Lionel Messi: An Awe-Inspiring Talent, The Best Player Ever?

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    What can you say about a player who is the best footballer ever to have played already at the age of 23?

    Barcelona's Argentinean forward Lionel Messi has scored more than one goal per match in this season's La Liga campaign.

    He also has numerous assists to his name and is yet again leading his team to an emphatic and almost embarrassingly easy title parade.

    Incredible control of the football and pace in possession as well as great passing skills and an uncanny eye for goal are just of his best attributes.

    That he has remained loyal to Barcelona since joining them as a young, shy boy with hormonal problems just heightens his value.

    It is frightening to think that Messi could carry on at a similar if not higher level for another decade.

    For these reasons, he would certainly fetch a transfer fee of ridiculous proportions.

    Value on Today's Transfer Market: $200 million