Some major movement happened on the striker front today, with both David Villa and Mario Gomez finding new homes. Gomez reportedly sold for a relatively small initial fee of just £13.7 million, while Villa went for about 1/3 of that. Aside from the suggestion that this pair might have been useful additions to Chelsea, what can we take from this pair of moves? One thing in particular stands out to me, and it's something that I've tried to point out on any number of occasions.
High wages make transfers difficult!
Looking at Villa and Gomez, we can see the massive impact that wages have on transfers. Villa was reportedly on a wage larger than that of Fernando Torres, one that would make him awfully difficult to move if he was unwilling to take a massive paycut. Gomez was also on a relatively large weekly wage, even if it was considerably smaller than that of Villa. If a club is going to have to pay a player more than market value, the transfer fee is going to reflect that in the opposite direction. Another prime example of this is the fee that PSG paid for Zlatan Ibrahimovic last season, one which seemed ridiculously low until you saw what they had to pay the player every week.
Chelsea fans really need to take note here, as there are a pair of popular rumors making the rounds that would also be affected by ridiculous wages. Wayne Rooney is one of the top paid players on the planet, making Villa and Gomez look like minimum wage employees. Suggestions that clubs are going to make sizable bids for the right to take on that wage should make you laugh, as if anyone was actually dumb enough to do this, United would have hired movers and safely packed Rooney in bubble wrap to assure there were no hitches in shipping him out the door.
Fernando Torres is a Chelsea player that also fits this mold. There is absolutely no way to make a serious argument that his on pitch production justifies his wages, and unless he's willing to take a massive discount to leave London, he's not going to fetch much in the way of a fee because of it. David Villa's transfer fee is probably a good reflection on the current market value of Fernando Torres. Anyone believing we'd be getting much beyond wage relief for the Spanish #9 should probably look closely at today's sales and put down whatever they've been drinking.
Wages matter, even if the media generally ignore them when discussing transfers. The general shock at the fee Barcelona got for David Villa today should reinforce that idea, and remind us that FFP is quickly changing the way players are valued. Older, overpaid players are no longer going to fetch a big transfer fee, if a club is able to move those sorts of players at all. Combining Fernando Torres or Wayne Rooney with a big money move will sell loads of papers, but the reality is that they just won't fetch much in the way of a transfer fee.