As per usual, at the start of the Premier League season we have some 'fun' calculating the range of prices fans pay to get a footballer’s surname printed on the back of their shirt.
For the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 season Jussi Jääskeläinen’ claimed top spot. The West Ham United stopper was the most expensive player due to the diaereses above his name. It cost a Hammer approximately £26 to get ‘Jääskeläinen-22’ printed on their replica shirt (making our simplified cost assumptions). Last season Bastian ‘Schweinsteiger-31', at 14 letters and double digits topped the list, costing £22.
Once again, we apply the same cost structure to all names - £4 per number and £1 per letter. All dots, hyphens, accents etc. are considered letters. The names are sourced from the Official Premier League website and only consider first team squads.
A Manchester United player tops the list once again this season, Cameron ‘Borthwick-Jackson–43', at 17 letters and double digits would cost approximately £25 and is the most expensive in the Premier League. That said, it's still somewhat off Jan 'Vennegoor of Hesslink-29', who remains the most expensive in Premier League history. So it looks like its going to be another expensive season for Manchester United fans. You'd be right in thinking 'Ibrahimović-9' doesn't come cheap either.
In terms of a giveaway, while 3 lettered names such as Emre ‘Can’, Dael 'Fry' and Jordan ‘Ibe’ have double digit squad numbers, you could pick up Tottenham’s ‘Son – 7' for approximately £7 or Burnley’s Ben ‘Mee – 6'. Both join the list of Premier League bargains along with Ruel 'Fox-7', Rob 'Lee-7', and David 'May-4'!
While shirtonomics is intended to be taken with a pinch of salt, merchandising, image rights and a clubs ability to market their stars has grown in importance over the years. Fans now seem to be as interested in what these stars do off the pitch as much as they do on it. In my view, this will get increasingly significant going forward. From a psychological perspective it's also interesting to think about how fans, particularly children, identify with players, and subsequently clubs for a lifetime.