The Daily Telegraph
United overpay by £209m to drive transfer deals inflation
Manchester United have done more to inflate player transfer fees than any club across Europe’s big five leagues over the past decade, according to a study by a respected football research group.
The CIES Football Observatory claims United have overspent by £209 million on players since July 2012.
According to the study, United lavished £1.4 billion on 33 players over the 10-year period, when their market value was estimated at £1.19 billion.
Juventus and Paris St-germain were cited as the two next worst culprits for overpaying, with the Italian club estimated to have paid £204 million over the odds for players in the past decade and the French champions £142 million.
United have been criticised over the fees they have paid in recent seasons, notably the £85 million committed to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester City and the £50 million paid to Crystal Palace
for Aaron Wan-bissaka in 2019. Wan-bissaka has played just four minutes of football under Erik ten Hag this season and appears to be surplus to requirements, while Maguire, the United captain, has lost his starting place under the new manager.
United’s £227 million expenditure on six new signings this summer was their biggest close-season outlay and involved paying significantly more than their original valuations of some targets. Having had an initial £53 million bid for Antony rejected by Ajax, United ended up paying £85.5 million for the Brazil forward, a month after spending £57 million on Argentina defender Lisandro Martinez from the Dutch club, almost £20million more than their opening offer.
The CIES Football Observatory listed Aston Villa as the second-worst Premier League club for overspending since 2012. Villa were accused of paying £131 million too much on players.
Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tottenham and Brighton were the only three Premier League sides from 36 clubs that managed to invest less than expected to conclude the transfer deals assessed, according to the study.
CIES cited this as confirmation of the “key role” the Premier League has played in “driving up inflation on the transfer market”.
The CIES Football Observatory is a research group within the International Centre for Sports Studies and specialises in the statistical analysis of football.