As Chelsea and Liverpool battle it out for fourteen-year-old MK Dons midfielder Seyi Ojo many are left bewildered at the price tag for such a young and unproven player. Yes, Ojo is playing years above his age group for both England and MK Dons but at what point did the desperation to uncover the next young starlet become so great that top clubs were willing to pay two million pounds for a boy with an unbroken voice?
Seyi Ojo may have potential to be a star but ultimately clubs aim to buy youngsters so they don’t have to pay big, risky transfer fees in the future; isn’t paying two million for a boy that young a risk? Only about half of all the supposed young stars fulfil their potential, and it is particularly hard to judge whether or not they will when they are quite as young as Ojo is. So why has this happened? When did we arrive at this point and is it worth it?
Precedent and market inflation.
Obviously the two major factors are that market prices have been inflated as a result of City, Chelsea and others and also the precedent for large fees for young players set by teams like Arsenal. Obviously with so much foreign money in English football, prices across the board have been inflated meaning that not only the price of youngsters will rise accordingly but also that the demand for younger players will increase as top stars become unaffordable. Secondly as soon as clubs like Arsenal or Tottenham pay huge fees for players such as Bale, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain then every other small club will raise the prices for their academy graduates.
So the scene has been set for the rise in prices but that still doesn’t explain why Liverpool and Chelsea are willing to pay that much for such a young footballer? However Liverpool’s recent transfer tactics do suggest the route that they intend on taking in the market.