A report into the summer transfer window in Europe has claimed that the continent's leading clubs have paid 16% more for players than five years ago, reports The Guardian. New Manchester United signing Ángel di María and former Chelsea defender David Luiz were among those transfers considered way over the market rate.
The Swiss-based CIES Football Observatory compiled data from across Europe's big five leagues in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France during the window using what is described on its website as "an exclusive algorithm created on the basis of nearly 1,500 fee paying transfers which have occurred during the previous five years".
"Our new data analysis has revealed that overall, clubs paid on average 16% more than they invested in the five previous years for players with similar characteristics," CIES said.
"This confirms the ongoing inflation trend of the transfer market at the top end of the football pyramid.
"The inflation trend is mainly due to the sums spent by a handful of wealthy clubs ready to pay more than a player is worth to get the best talent."
Di María's move from Real Madrid to Manchester United for a British record £59.7m (75.5m) is cited as the most inflated fee in the recent window and estimated to be as much as £24m (30m). That is closely followed by Paris Saint-Germain's purchase of the Brazil defender Luiz, who left Stamford Bridge for a fee of £50m (62m) but is estimated to be worth £23m (29m) less.
In contrast, Liverpool were involved in two transfers where CIES estimated players were undervalued - the purchase of Mario Balotelli from Milan for £16m (20.2m) and the sale of Luis Suárez to Barcelona for £75m (94m). Both were valued considerably higher, with Balotelli worth almost double his fee and Suárez £9.5m (12m) more than Barcelona eventually paid, a fact attributed to "the existence of buyout clauses and/or non-sporting related issue".
The third most undervalued player was Spain's Diego Costa, who Chelsea bought from Atlético Madrid for £32m (40.5m) - £8m (10m) less than he was worth, although once more his price was settled by a buyout clause in his contract.
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