In the recent pre-Baggies press conference, Paul Lambert admitted that transfer fees for some of his players were far less than had been reported by the press. Obviously, undisclosed fees do lead to guess work and the press do like to inflate prices to amp up the story (take the case of Darren Bent, constantly reported as Villa’s £22 million man, when £18 million and add-ons was more realistic).
Lambert hinted that Leandro Bacuna, Ashley Westwood, Matt Lowton and Antonio Luna all cost less than the million-plus figures reported when they joined the club.
The fee for Bacuna was always pitched at around £880,000, so Lambert’s following remarks, when he compared a trio of players to that price, made for interested reading in yesterday’s papers.
“Yes, Leo was a bargain but Westwood was probably cheaper,” said Lambert.
“Matt Lowton was around the same mark. Luna was the same – around that mark.”
“When you look at it, I see figures that are bandied about with some of my players
“I think somebody must be getting a backhander because they’re nowhere near that level of money!”
What? Like the potential backhanders on the Villa transfers involving Bosko Balban and Juan Pablo Angel?!
Staying on topic, here are the prices that were reported to be the prices of the Villa trio mentioned:
Ashley Westwood – £2,200,000 (£1.4 million above actual fee?)
Matt Lowton – £3,300,000 (£2.4 million above actual fee?)
Antonio Luna – £1,760,000 (£800,00 above actual fee?)
If we take these figures supplied by the website Transfermarkt, which tend to mirror press reports at the time of the transfer and offer a decent ballpark figure, then Villa would now have roughly £4,600,000 more in the bank than expected.
With this in mind, a few transfer fees for other Lambert purchases now seem wide of the mark.
If the club paid less than a million for the above four players, do you really think Villa would have purchased a French Ligue 2 player for £2,112,000? I’d guess that Yacouba Sylla would be in the same bracket as the four players just mentioned…at the most.
So that’s another, lets say a £1,000,000, to add to the invisible spend – £5,600,000
Now to the curious case of Libor Kovák, who’s transfer fee was reported as everything from £5,000,000 to £7,000,000. For starters, I think the £7 million figure was the press getting their £ mixed up with €, but even at the £6,160,000 quoted on Transfermarkt, it seems inflated when you consider the similar outlay on Christian Benteke.
I’m thinking it would be safe to say we could easily shave off a million of Kovák’s assumed transfer fee, which would bring the tally to £6,600,000 that Villa haven’t really spent.
We could go on, I mean, Joe Bennett at £2,772,000 suddenly looks very dubious too.
Even if we play it safe and just take £400,000 from Bennett’s fee to round-up the non-spend to £7,000,000 , in Lambert spending terms, it’s a decent figure that technically he’s still got up his sleeve to spend (hopefully not on seven players!).
There’s a reason that the club’s press department doesn’t bother to correct transfer figures in the press, namely it looks better in the eyes of the club’s supporters to be seen to be spending money. After all, the common consensus is the price paid for a player is linked to his ability. Indeed, Villa’s press department may have even encouraged such inflated fees spreading through the media of Lambert’s thrifty shopping spree. After all, a Premier League club buying in a number of players at around £800,000-a-pop, doesn’t exactly smack of ambition.
There’s one way of Villa to prove their ambition though. Take that invisible £7,000,000 and buy a decent attacking-midfielder with it in January. We don’t mind if the club then pretend it’s a £10 million transfer. UTV
Can you think of any other Aston Villa transfer fees that might be inflated in the press? Comment below.