£50million for Ben White.
Some people are really obsessing about that price.
And the biggest noise is actually coming from Manchester where Man U continually bring up Arsenal’s impending new signing to compare to their impending new signing Raphaël Varane.
Varane for a reported £35million + add ons (totalling around £42million) is a fantastic bit of business for Manchester United. He is a World Class defender. Ben White probably is not.
But just because Man U are getting Varane “cheap” does not mean that Arsenal are getting a bad deal in White.
Football valuations are influenced by many factors. There is not sort of algorithm that sets every since players value.
Ability, age, contract status, willingness of buying club to buy, willingness of selling club to sell, willingness of player to leave and more impact a price.
In Varane, Man U came across a perfect storm.
The Frenchman had 1 year left on his contract and made it clear he had no intention to renew.
This straight away drops his value massively.
With Real Madrid’s current financial situation, they could not afford to let him run his contract down. They had to sell this summer and Man U were the sole interested party.
Meanwhile, White still has 3 years left on his contract. Unlike Madrid, Brighton were not desperate to sell. This in turn pushed what Arsenal had to pay up.
When it comes to how much a player is set to cost, you also have to factor in wages and length of contract.
Varane is reportedly set to sign a 4 year contract earning £10.5m a year.
By the time you amortise his transfer fee over 4 years, the yearly cost to Man U is £18.75m a year.
White’s deal is to be £80,000 a week 5 year deal. The total yearly cost to Arsenal for him including the amortised transfer fee is £14.1m.
So whilst if you are looking at just the transfer fee, White is costing Arsenal more than Varane; once you factor in wages and length of contract Varane is actually costing Man U around 33% more a year than White is costing Arsenal.
And ultimately, transfer fees and salaries should not really matter.
Arsenal probably are overpaying for Ben White. But that only matters if it impacts our ability to sign other targets.
Edu and his team will understand the bigger picture. How much the club has to add new players, their fees, agents fees, bonuses and salaries.
If spending an extra £10million on Ben White above what we perhaps wanted does not impact our ability to sign other targets, then what does it matter?
If that £10million left us short £10million of our next target, then it is in charge to decide whether to pay that extra £10million and then pursue different targets elsewhere.
Perhaps the club felt it was more important that we secured White than signed Maddison for £60million? Or they think they might be able to bully Leicester City down £10million to make a saving. Or they have other targets that are cheaper to Maddison?
There are many factors in play here.
As football fans we become obsessed with spend, net spend and all that bollocks.
Ultimately it does not matter what we spend. What matters is who we buy.