Chelsea's Mykhailo Mudryk

Mudryk madness: Five crazy transfers which inflated the market


In recent years, the financial gap between the Premier League and every other league in Europe has widened to unprecedented levels.

The 2023 Deloitte Football Money League illustrated this fact perfectly, as for the first time ever there were 11 Premier League teams in the 20 richest clubs in the world, and 16 in the top 30.

Three of the four richest clubs on the planet are English - with Manchester City leading the way and Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal all in the top 10.

Spending in the January 2023 transfer window has only further highlighted just how the Premier League has swallowed up all the other major leagues of Europe.

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As of January 23, the Premier League had spent a whopping €430 million on transfers, compared to the Bundesliga’s €42.5m, La Liga’s €22m, Ligue 1’s €16.5m and Serie A’s €9m.

This trend is set to continue - perhaps indefinitely - given the astronomical domestic and overseas television deals which bring billions into the Premier League coffers.

A knock-on effect of all this Premier League wealth is that transfer fees have inflated to an historic level.

Selling clubs are aware that England's top-flight boasts so much money that they can charge well over the odds for their players and get away with it.

Done deals - Mykhailo Mudryk

Overpriced EPL stars, and their real transfer value

We have selected five transfers from the 2022-23 Premier League season which can be considered significantly overpriced.

We have cited the actual transfer fee which each player moved for, and then compared it to FootballTransfers’ Expected Transfer Value (xTV) at the time of the deal being completed.

xTV provides a € valuation - updated monthly - for every professional footballer in Europe’s top leagues.

This is based on a variety of factors including player performance, player potential, the level of competition the player plays in, player age and contract length.

Below are five players who moved for transfer fees well in excess of their xTV in 2022-23.

Mykhailo Mudryk - Shakhtar to Chelsea, January 2023

  • Transfer fee: €100m
  • xTV value: €30m
Chelsea's Mykhailo Mudryk

Mudryk joined Chelsea from Shakhtar Donetsk during the current January transfer window after the Blues successfully hijacked Arsenal’s proposed move for the winger.

Mudryk had long been expected to join the Gunners, but Chelsea stepped in to negotiate a deal in less than half a day by paying way over the odds.

FootballTransfers valued Mudryk at €30m at the time of this transfer, which is more in keeping with what he has shown us so far in his career.

There is no denying he is an electric talent and boasts huge potential - his former Shakhtar coach Roberto De Zerbi even tipped him as a future Ballon d’Or winner.

But Mudryk had scored just 12 club goals in his career and played only 65 times by the time of this transfer. He has been capped eight times by Ukraine and has yet to score for his country.

Simply put, these are not numbers of a player whose fee could eventually net out at €100m.

Darwin Nunez - Benfica to Liverpool, June 2022

  • Transfer fee: €100m
  • xTV value: €25.7m
darwin nunez liverpool

Liverpool made Darwin Nunez their club record signing in the summer of 2022 as they paid Benfica a fee which will reach €100m.

The Reds moved for the Uruguayan as they looked to spruce up their attack following the departure of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich and the decline of Roberto Firmino.

Nunez commanded such a huge fee mainly because he enjoyed a brilliant 2021-22 season in which he scored 34 goals in 41 games in all competitions.

But €100m represented an insane amount for a player who had only two international goals and only one top season to his name in a much weaker league.

FootballTransfers valued him at €25.7m at the time of his move and, given his first six months at Liverpool, this seems a more accurate representation.

Antony - Ajax to Man Utd, August 2022

  • Transfer fee: €100m
  • xTV value: €35.6m
Manchester United's Antony

Antony became the subject of another huge Premier League transfer in 2022-23, leaving Ajax for €100m to join Man Utd.

This figure was widely considered to be crazy at the time of the deal, and Antony’s first six months at Old Trafford have only underlined that further.

The Red Devils paid €100m for a player whose achievements at a much lower level in the Eredivisie were hardly mind-blowing - he scored just 18 goals in just over two seasons.

According to an ESPN report in January, United chiefs admit they vastly overpaid for Antony and have accepted the error they made submitting such a high offer to Ajax.

The cost of this transfer was recently referenced by Shakhtar as a barometer for how much they demanded from Chelsea and Arsenal for Mudryk.

This deal quite simply reset the market.

Marc Cucurella - Brighton to Chelsea, August 2022

  • Transfer fee: €65m
  • xTV value: €45.1m
Marc Cucurella in action for Chelsea

Chelsea beat Manchester City to the signing of left-back Cucurella for €65m in the summer of 2022.

Judging by the way Cucurella has performed in a Chelsea shirt, City will be relieved that they missed out on their man.

The champions had been in the lead to sign Cucurella but were unwilling to match Brighton’s price tag, which was almost €20m more than his xTV at the time.

This was the right approach to take, given Cucurella only had one Premier League season in his locker and his attacking stats for someone considered an offensive full-back were distinctly average - seven goals and 11 assists in six professional seasons.

Georginio Rutter - Hoffenheim to Leeds, January 2023

  • Transfer fee: €40m
  • xTV value: €19.4m
Leeds forward Georginio Rutter

Leeds United signed Georginio Rutter from Hoffenheim for a club record fee which will rise to €40m with add-ons and bonuses.

Valued at €19.4m by FootballTransfers in January 2023, this final figure was hugely inflated based on the evidence so far.

Rutter only has 12 goals in his career, and scored 11 goals in 64 appearances for Hoffenheim. This included two in 17 in 2022-23 for the Bundesliga team.

Although Leeds are paying for potential, the transfer fee was largely met with bemusement and mockery, both in Germany and in Rutter’s native France.

Moises Caicedo - Transfer Blog

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