The boffins at FreeSuperTips have scanned through the current 20 Premier League teams’ most expensive purchases since the league’s creation in 1992 to find every club’s ‘real’ record signing by looking at the transfer fees through the lens of today’s market.
Shearer’s move for £18.9m – a world record fee at the time – would be the equivalent of £157.7m in today’s footballing money, making him more expensive in real terms than the likes of Paul Pogba (£150.4m) and Kevin De Bruyne (£125m).
The findings won’t make happy reading for Chelsea fans, whose record signing is the purchase of Fernando Torres from Liverpool. The Spanish flop’s transfer fee in 2010 would be the equivalent of £122.1m today.
Stan Collymore appears twice on the list, featuring as both Aston Villa and Liverpool’s record purchases – the latter fee equating to £121m for the move to Anfield.
Six of the 20 clubs have bought a player for more than £100m based on the market prices today, with Dennis Bergkamp’s move to Arsenal in 1995 costing the equivalent of £104.8m.
Despite the hefty price tag for troublesome Spurs midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, Tottenham’s ‘real’ record signing actually took place back in 1995, with the purchase of Chris Armstrong. The centre forward’s move from Crystal Palace is valued at £63.3m in real terms.
Sheffield United and Wolves are the only teams whose record signing actually joined this season. The Blades’ signing of Rhian Brewster and the arrival of Fabio Silva at Molineux are still the most expensive purchases for each side respectively, even after adjusting for transfer fee inflation.
A spokesperson for FreeSuperTips said: “The fees paid for players over the last few years have completely distorted the transfer market, and it means clubs are regularly breaking their transfer records as a result. So, we wanted to account for the inflated prices we see today and find out which transfers were disproportionately high for the era.
“Alan Shearer’s move to Newcastle was a world record at the time but this research shows just how much the Magpies were prepared to pay for him in 1996. And, if paying £53m for a disappointing Fernando Torres wasn’t bad enough already, Chelsea fans will be even more annoyed when they discover what that fee looks like in today’s money.”