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This 19-Year-Old Shows How Frustrated And Desperate The World’s Best Clubs Are

The world found out who Anthony Martial was the way you or I found out about a movie like Sharknado.

First there was disbelief; there was no way a deal so outrageous could be real. But just as how sharks spinning around a tornado, wreaking havoc across LA seemed like a perfectly viable plot piece to a Hollywood studio, so did paying a reported €80 million for a 19-year-old seem like a good idea to Manchester United; €80 million for a player valued as low as 8 million by some reputable sources.  

Then there was stunned acceptance. Manchester United had indeed paid €80 million for a boy who’s breakout year in 2014/15 consisted of him scoring 12 goals and adding 5 assists in 48 appearances for Monaco. Like Sharknado, it made a certain kind of sense. Transfer fees had been rising higher and higher ever since Gareth Bale’s mammoth move from Tottenham to Real Madrid; movies, for their parts, have long been pandering to a lower and lower common denominator. Manchester United needed a striker; we apparently needed more below average but really good-looking actors and actresses in our lives.  

Many think Martial’s transfer shows what is wrong with world soccer, including Arsene Wenger, one of the most respected and successful managers in the world. 

Wenger was recently on BeIn Sport, where he talked about the Martial transfer among other things. He put into words what many were thinking, but perhaps didn’t know how to say. 

"Monaco sold Martial to Man United last night for €80 million, I've heard. Martial has scored 11 goals in the French championship — that sums it up.”

"It's not the money that is missing at the moment, it's not the desire of investment that is missing, it's the number of players available who can strengthen the big clubs.” 

While Wenger was simultaneously defending his own frustratingly (for Arsenal fans) inactive transfer tactics this summer, do not let that detract from what he is getting at here: no player worth splurging €80 million on was actually available this summer. Martial was no exception.   

€80 million for a 19-year-old is absolutely ridiculous. Even Martial himself has come out and said, “I don’t know if I’m worth €80 million.”

There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight for ludicrous transfer fees. For every Alexis Sanchez or Douglas Costa purchased for a frugal amount, there is a David Luiz or Anthony Martial being spirited away for sums that make that make the rest of the world want to throw it’s hands up and been done with it all. 

This is the current reality of the transfer market, and you and I and soccer fans all over the world have no choice but to deal with it, or find a different sport to love. 

…or, you know, hope your team gets bought by a stupidly rich guy. 

Follow me on Twitter: @yetly

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