Transfer fees in football have been ridiculous for a number of years now but things have escalated significantly in the past few summers, with Manchester United spending a world-record £89m to sign Paul Pogba last year.
Transfer records would previously stand for some time and a fee of almost £90m was almost unfathomable five years ago but we’re reaching the stage where good players cost an arm and a leg, with world-class players costing a club more than the residents of your own time will probably earn combined in their entire life.
Kylian Mbappe now looks to become the most expensive player in the world as widespread reports suggest Real Madrid will pay a staggering £160m to buy an 18-year-old forward who only made his breakthrough last season.
There is of course no denying the teenager’s talent and it’s certainly not his fault that he’ll command such a hefty price-tag but the general conception in modern football that the only way to improve is to spend heavily couldn’t be further from the truth.
Some of the best players in the world have been secured for minimal fees and it doesn’t take a nine-figure transfer sum to get you top-class players. In fact, the £160m Real Madrid are reportedly prepared to spend on Mbappe could buy the European Champions a phenomenal line-up, if they’d had their wits about them.
1.GK: Hugo Lloris (£10.7m)
Widely regarded to be the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, Daniel Levy can be proud of this bargain. Image Source: Twitter
2.RB: Bacary Sagna (£7.65m)
Arsenal got seven years of service and 213 Premier League appearances for a fee under £10m. Image Source: Twitter
3.CB: Jerome Boateng (£11.5m)
13 titles with Bayern Munich and a World Cup means Jerome Boateng may be Man City's worst ever sale. Image Source: Twitter
4.CB: Toby Alderweireld (£13.6m)
Less than £15m for a defender who's become one of the Premier League's greatest. Image Source: Twitter
5.LB: Jordi Alba (£11.9m)
After 11 trophies with Barcelona, Alba stands as one of the best defensive signings ever from the Catalans. Image Source: Twitter
6.RM: Freddie Ljungberg (£3.83m)
A man who became an Arsenal legend cost less than £4m. Image Source: Twitter
7.CM: Frank Lampard (£13.6m)
One of the biggest bargains in Premier League history, Lampard became Chelsea's all-time leading scorer with 211 goals. Image Source: Twitter
8.CM: Radja Nainggolan (£12.75m)
One of the greatest deals in recent years, Roma paid well under the odds for the Belgian star. Image Source: Twitter
9.LM: Franck Ribery (£21.25m)
Ten years of service, 19 titles. Bayern Munich pulled off a massive coup here. Image Source: Twitter
10.ST: Sergio Aguero (£30.6m)
122 Premier League goals and likely to become Man City's all-time leading scorer this season, Aguero is worth his transfer fee for *that* commentary moment alone. Image Source: Twitter
11.ST: Samuel Eto’o (£22.95m)
One of the greatest strikers of his generation, Eto'o played a pivotal role in Barcelona's dominance. Image Source: Twitter
Using the figures from TransferMarkt, the sensational XI assembled below comes in at an arrival cost of just over £160.33m. The team boasts an incredible 1,841 league appearances between them and a combined total of 536 league goals, with many of them still going strong to do this.
Whilst it’s obvious the fees for many of those players would be significantly higher in the modern era of football, it shows that bargains can still be found if you look in the right areas and splashing such an audacious amount on one player may not be the ideal course of action.