Calling Erling Haaland’s £51m transfer is a bargain

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For better or worse, football transfer fees have skyrocketed in recent years. There was a time when a world-class player could move for £30million; now you’re in luck if that sum can even get you a player capable of making it into the starting XI. Against this backdrop, Erling Haaland’s £51million transfer to Manchester City seems like an incredible bargain.

Although the Norwegian striker is certainly worth it, he wasn’t as cheap as you might think. Even if you set aside his salary, the agent fee adds millions more to Haaland’s price tag.

Manchester City bought Erling Haaland for £51m but they also paid a significant amount of agent fees

Manchester City striker Erling Haaland gives a boost on his Premier League debut. | Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

If you’ve listened to any of the comments about the Premier League season opener, you’ve probably heard what an incredible deal Erling Haaland was for Manchester City. While it’s true that the club only paid £51million in transfer fees, that’s not the whole story.

First, there is the question of salaries. Even though City can afford a one-time transfer fee, a large weekly salary can make a deal much less affordable. As you’d expect, a player of Haaland’s stature isn’t playing for peanuts; fabrice romano reported the striker would earn £375,000 a week, putting him on par with Kevin de Bruyne.

That being said, however, you could argue that including salaries in the transfer fee isn’t entirely fair. Every player, after all, receives a salary and it’s only really trotted out when a deal is presented as worse than it looks. It’s far less common to hear a club being praised for giving a player a reasonable salary, although this is happening more and more as clubs like Arsenal have tried to revamp an inflated salary structure.

Even if we put wages aside, Haaland still costs Man City over £51m.

“Manchester City secured Erling Haaland on an apparent deal by activating his €60m (£51m) release clause – far less than any club would have expected to pay on the open market for Borussia Dortmund striker”, Sebastian Stafford-Bloor writes in The Athletic. “But the transfer that will bring Haaland to the Premier League this summer also includes an additional payment of €40m (£34m) which will be split between Rafaela Pimenta, who now runs the agency previously run by the late Mino Raiola, and Alfie Haaland, Erling’s former footballing father and City predecessor.

So if we combine those sums, Manchester City paid around £85m for Haaland before wages.

To be clear, this seems like a reasonable deal. The Norwegian, if his time with Borussia Dortmund and his Premier League opener is any indication, is the next big striker. He is the kind of player who is worth any price, provided he can afford it. And, to be clear, Manchester City can afford to pay virtually any amount, although they usually set a limit and refuse to exceed it.

But, with all that said, don’t let commentators tell you the club only spent £51m on Erling Haaland. While that might technically be true, it misses Man City’s true spending direction.

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