By Robbie Butler
If reports in Spain and England are to be believed it looks like Gareth Bale is set to become the most expensive player of all time. Real Madrid have reportedly offered Tottenham Hotspurs €97.7 million (£85 million) for the Welsh winger. This bid is €3.7 million more than the €94 miilion (£80 million) given to Manchester United in 2009 for the services of Cristiano Ronaldo, making Bale the most expensive player of all time.
Well, actually no.
Transfers are quoted in, what economists call, nominal prices. Comparing the €94 million spent on Ronaldo in 2009 with the €97.7 million bid for Bale does not take account inflation occurring during the four-year period. If one does account for inflation a ‘real price’ is calculated.
You'll also notice there is just under €4 million euros between the bids for Ronaldo and Bale despite the difference being £5 million pounds! This is due to exchange rate movements and a depreciation in the pound sterling relative to the euro. In simple terms, the pound now buys you less euro, or the reverse, the euro will buy you more pounds,
Using European Union (27 country) inflation data it is possible to compare real and nominal transfer fees to see just who the most expensive player of all time is. The tables below take the five most expensive transfers of all time into consideration,
If Bale is sold for the reported £85 million pounds, he will become the most expensive player ever in nominal terms, however in real terms, this will place him third in the list of the most costly footballers of all time.