When news came in that United had secured Carlos Tevez on a permanent deal, I was made up. He was brilliant for us last season and aside from his goals, provided us with the extra fight and determination all winning teams need.
However, when the supposed transfer fee was quoted at £32 million, I, along with most other reds, questioned whether that was good value for money. That makes him the all-time most expensive player in the Premiership which is a title not all will believe he is deserving off.
If we look at transfer prices over the past few years we can gauge whether we got a good deal, or at least a reasonable deal, for our Argentinian striker. It’s important to note that the further back we go, the less accurate the transfer fee is in comparison. If you consider that the most expensive player in the World in 1998 was Denilson at £23 million, then three years later that record fee doubled to £46 million for Zinedine Zidane.
Darren Bent became Tottenham Hotspur’s most expensive player after completing a £16.5 million switch from Charlton. However, with just a season in to his Spurs career, he has scored just 8 goals in 36 games. That works out at just over £2 million per goal.
In the same year, Liverpool forked out £21 million for Fernando Torres and in his first season with the dippers he put away 33 goals in 46 games. Liverpool took a gamble on a player who’d scored 15 goals in Spain the season before, and as much as it pains me to say it, it paid off brilliantly (apart from when he was playing against us!).
Chelsea broke the transfer record when they brought in Andriy Shevchenko from AC Milan. For his final three seasons in Italy he had scored over 25 goals a season and his signing seemed to confirm that Chelsea would be winning the title for the third consecutive season.
What has been the return on that £30 million? 22 goals in in 75 games, which over two seasons works out as £1.3 million per goal scored.
United agreed a £20 million deal for Wayne Rooney, with £10 million payable on signing and a further £20 million coming a year later. Another £7 million would be paid depending on appearances and success (which obviously, with two league titles and a European Cup to his name, will now have been sent Everton’s way). No United fan could question the fact he was worth every penny.
Chelsea spent £4 million more on a striker that year, Didier Drogba. After scoring an impressive 29 goals for Marseille the year before, a debut season total of 16 goals in 41 games was somewhat disappointing for Chelsea. He redeemed himself for the following two seasons, however last season pushed even the most devoted rent boy with his lack of effort, his repeated confession he wanted to leave, as well as his antics in the European Cup final.
If we think that with inflation, Shevchenko works out as a more expensive player than Carlos Tevez, we can say that Tevez is brilliant value for money. Although if we look at the money Liverpool paid for Torres last summer, we can say Tevez is overpriced.
However, I’m a firm believer that if a player makes the difference needed to your team, then they are worth the cash. We paid over the odds for Michael Carrick two seasons ago and there was a lot of fuss in the media as well as rival fans over forking out such a sum for a player who’d cost just £2.75 million two seasons before.
When we break down the deal though, the price paid is far more reasonable. We paid £13 million initially, with the extra £5.6 million to be paid based on appearances and success. In his first season, United won the Premiership title, something which we would probably not have done had we relied our Darren Fletcher or John O’Shea to play along Paul Scholes in the centre of midfield, which were our other options. In his second season, we won the Premiership title and the European Cup, with just 6 players featuring more than him.
The same argument applies to Tevez. I want him at United because he makes a difference to our team. What would we have achieved without his last minute saving goals against Blackburn and Spurs? His decisive goals against Sporting Lisbon, Birmingham, Lyon and Roma? His important goals against our rivals Liverpool and Chelsea?
“It is crucial to get him signed and I am sure that will happen,” Rooney said at the end of May. “Carlos loves playing football here, he’s enjoying it, so I don’t see why it will be a problem. I had no doubts that we could play together and from training with him when he first came you could immediately see the qualities he had. I couldn’t wait to play with him. He’s been brilliant. He’s a battler, he works so hard and has scored 19 goals, which is brilliant.”
If our options are pay £32 million for Tevez to keep him, or don’t spend that amount of money and lose him, it’s a no-brainer as to what we have to do. In his first season, aside from the goals scored which saw him in the top 10 for the league, it’s his attitude that
As the time diminished in our Champions League semi-final, United leading but knowing a late goal from Barcelona would see us miss out on our appearance in the final, Tevez was running the length of the pitch, chasing balls down, putting pressure on the opponents on the ball, trying to push forward in support of Cristiano Ronaldo whenever there was an opportunity to attack. Whilst other players on the pitch tired, Tevez didn’t stop working for the entire 90 minutes. It’s those kind of qualities which increase the transfer fee because players combining goalscoring with never ending energy and drive do not come in abundance.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has supported the permanent signing of Tevez, referring to the important effect he has on our team.
“He’s got a winning mentality,” Solskjaer said. “He wants to be the best, he wants to win, he wants to score goals. If he’s on the bench he wants to come on and do well, he’s not one to sit down and sulk and ask, ‘Why didn’t I start’. He can pop up on the left wing, right wing, just behind the strikers, he can be in midfield and boss things, he was better than we probably hoped for last year. He’s one of those players who brings the other players up, but he brings the crowd up as well and I think that’s important for a team to have these players who can lift the whole stadium, lift the crowd, because when the crowd gets lifted it lifts the players as well. So his work rate is something which makes other players play better. Carlos is at the right place because he can handle the pressure, he just wants to be the best, he wants to be a winner. First season two trophies, obviously next season will be a big one as well, but I’m sure he will respond to that as he has always done, he’s always stood up and played well.”
So yes, £32 million is a bit steep, but if that is the only way we could keep him and the Glazers are prepared to stump up the cash, then you won’t hear any complaints from me!