It’s time for goalkeepers to get a slice of the transfer market pie

Ben Mountain
Ben Mountain
Ben Mountain
Contributor

We’re sure you’ve heard the news. There’s a world record transfer fee awaiting to be paid. But it’s not quite the £89million you’ve heard about before. Though, then again, it’s only for a goalkeeper. And who needs one of those?

Manchester City are poised to beat other top European clubs to the signature of Benfica’s 23-year-old ‘keeper, Ederson.

The move will see the Citizens splash out the princely sum of £34.9million to secure the Brazilian’s services in a world record fee for a No.1.

Let’s be honest, it’s not the most impressive, is it?

Over the last year, we’ve seen the transfer market’s value absolutely soar. It’s seen moves for the like of Christian Benteke and John Stones reach £32 and £47.5million respectively.

One thing it hasn’t seen, however, is an appropriate inflation for goalkeepers. The previous world-record fee for one of those nobodies was £32.6 million for the legendary Gianluigi Buffon. But that was way back in 2001. That’s now 16 years ago.

And back in those days of yore, the actual highest fee was £46.6 million. Nothing to be sniffed at, sure. Though it’s interestingly nothing light-years away from that paid for the Juventus shot-stopper. It was Zinedine Zidane, for those of you wondering.

Anyway, there wasn’t a vast gulf between these two sums. In fact, Buffon would have claimed the world-record fee if he’d been bought just three years earlier.

So there wasn’t an astonishing gap between ‘keepers and the other players back then.

But now, how far have goalies come? A measly £2.3million, which, in today’s money, equates to sweet FA. Or, in footballing terms, one and a bit Darron Gibsons.

As we said then, sweet FA.

SEE ALSO: “Why didn’t he move?”

So just why has there been such a tiny growth in the cost of ‘keepers these days? In fact, ‘growth’ is a generous description. When you take inflation into account and the exponential growth in the general value of football players, has the value of shot-stoppers increased at all?

For any economically minded people reading this, who are by far and away smarter than us, do get in touch and let us know.

Either way, the point still stands. Goalkeepers are grossly undervalued in today’s footballing market.

Why is that?

It can’t be argued that they don’t play a pivotal role in the game; a keeper’s heroics or hash-ups can define the outcome of a match and, in turn, an entire season. Their actions are magnified far more than outfield players because nine times out of ten, they’ll result in a goal – assuming said actions were unsuccessful, that is.

But should a defender muck it up, or striker sky a sitter, the game often continues as it was. Sure, it might knock the confidence somewhat or fail to seize the points at that very second, but it seldom results in the game being immediately flipped on its head.

‘Keepers are under an inordinate amount of pressure and yet their wage packets are excelled by the likes of Jackson Martínez. Remember him? We doubt it. He went to China for £35.7 million last February. And he’s a very cool guy, as you can see…

SEE ALSO: The CSL’s new rules show China have learnt from England’s mistakes

But he’s not worth more than the world’s best ‘keepers.

Now, we’re not saying that anyone should ever be worth upwards of £40million, the transfer market is completely broken in this sense. But, given the current climate, goalkeepers should definitely be getting their fair share.

We have an abundance of world-class goalies, so what’s holding clubs back?

Is it the lack of statistical evidence available to analyse their purchases with? Or did something go so wrong for ‘keepers that nobody bothers to pay their worth anymore? After all, why would a club pay more than they need to when everyone else isn’t?

Is it Rob Green’s fault?

Perhaps we’re wrong, though. Perhaps goalkeepers are just a conscientious bunch, doing their bit to keep the footballing market from ballooning anymore than it already has.

Good for them.

It’s a shame, however, because goalkeepers provide some of the most entertaining moments in football.

And isn’t that what we’re all paying for? If John Stones can be worth nearly £50 million and deliver the entertainment value of a broken clock, why can’t our eccentric and essential ‘keepers?

It’s time for the clubs to try a bit harder, or our ‘keepers will start to vanish. And that really would be a shame.

But before they do, have a watch of this and be thankful for our undervalued goalkeepers.