Where potential carries a hefty premium

July 2, 2007

Darren Bent celebrates a goal against Fulham in December. Kieran Doherty / Reuters“T Henry + £0.5m = D Bent. Solve the algebraic puzzle”, was how one reader of the Guardians Fiver reacted to Darren Bents club record £16.5 million move from relegated Charlton Athletic to Tottenham Hotspur on Friday.

A lot of people are struggling to come up with a satisfactory solution. At Who Ate All The Pies 80 percent of fans voted him as “overpriced”, while even Tottenham bloggers like Jay at The Offside and We Are Hotspur seem to be in two minds.

Henry, who is nearing a century caps for France, has twice finished a season as Europes top goalscorer and amassed a neat collection of World Cup, European Championship and Premier League medals in the process.

While the significantly younger Bent has scored with marked consistency in a struggling team, he has made as many international appearances as he has played full top-flight seasons. Just two.

Spurs have bought one of the few truly clinical finishers remaining in the English game but at a huge cost. Added to the equally staggering sum demanded for 17-year-old left back Gareth Bale, the London club have spent a lavish £26 million on two essentially unproven players.

To many, the millions spent will be further proof of the overpricing of English players. When the value of Manchester Citys 18-year-old England defender Micah Richards can be reported at a million sterling per birthday celebrated, it appears that potential, not experience marks the spot where the money now lies.

Are Rafael Benitez and Arsene Wenger correct then to defend their foreign acquisitions, blaming the impossibilities of the British transfer system? Or should Spurs be commended for buying British, no matter what the cost?

Padraic Halpin, London


He’s obviously not worth that amount of money — not even half of it — but Carrick wasn’t worth 18 million when they sold him to man u either. it’s evened out in that sense, and they got berbatov for a snip so i reckon spurs fans can be pretty pleased all in all. better than blowing 27 million on torres.

Posted by redderthanever | Report as abusive

there’s quite a similar point to redder’s made at EPL Talk, here: http://eplleague.blogspot.com/2007/06/wh y-epl-clubs-should-buy-english-not.htmlA n interesting read

Posted by Kev | Report as abusive

Yes, defo overpriced. But then again, which player isn’t overpriced in this era of overpricing?

Posted by five times | Report as abusive