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Will The World’s First £100m Player Be Bought In The January Transfer Window?

Sunday 15th January 2017

On August 8th, 2016, Paul Pogba became the world's most expensive footballer thanks to a mind-blowing £89m switch back to Manchester United; four years after leaving Old Trafford for Juventus. With the way football is going, however, it won't be long before that record is smashed.
Figures have inflated at a rapid rate over the past two decades; this time 20 years ago, Alan Shearer's £15m move to boyhood club Newcastle United was the biggest deal in history – while the emergence of Chinese football has only added further need for billionaire owners to splash the cash. The next logical milestone to break is the £100m barrier, and it could potentially tumble before the end of this month.

Whilst the true value of a world class player is subjective, studies from the Football Observatory of the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) suggest that Barcelona star Lionel Messi is potentially worth over £200m. Given that the world's biggest clubs are constantly fighting for the biggest names, it would be no surprise to see other top stars command a nine-figure transfer fee. And although recent history shows that the record breaking transfers are more synonymous with the summer window, this January has the potential to produce something special.

After all, both the Premier League and Spanish Liga have become the beneficiaries of lucrative new TV deals whilst the giants of Italy, Germany, and France all have money to burn too. Furthermore, there are a lot of question marks surrounding some of the world's biggest and brightest talents too.

PSG star Marco Veratti has already been the subject of a potentially huge transfer, with Inter Milan reportedly bidding €78m for the 24-year-old's services. Even if that initial bid is rejected, the Serie A club will need to increase it by a huge 50% to break through the £100m barrier. Nevertheless, it's another massive indication of the sums floating around; there's a good chance that this will grow as deadline day approaches.

Money talks and even seemingly settled stars could have their heads turned if the right deal comes knocking. Whether it's Chelsea's Eden Hazard or Barcelona's Neymar, it would be foolish to rule out the possibility of a sale completely – even if they do seem very unlikely.

Meanwhile, clubs like Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund will begrudgingly concede that even their biggest stars have a price tag. However, those clubs – and others in similar circumstances – will hold out for the very best price. Whether a Dele Alli or a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would top the £100m scale is pure speculation, but there is no doubt that top talent now comes at a premium rate.

The January window has a history of throwing up surprises too, such as Fernando Torres' £50m move to Chelsea in 2011 or even Oscar's £60m exit to Shanghai earlier this month.

Frankly, there's almost an inevitability that someone will pay in excess of £100m for a player ahead of next season. However, with over a fortnight to go until the current window slams shut, any big money summer move might not be the first.

One thing is for sure, the second half of January will be fascinating.
Liam Newman
Liam is a freelance football writer published by Shoot, Goal, Bleacher Report, Late Tackle, Blowing Bubbles, SportsKeeda, These Football Times, Football Whispers, and more. He supports West Ham and has watched England play in over 35 countries.

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