Manuel Pellegrini certainly won’t be able to complain that he hasn’t been backed this summer.
Making his debut for Santos at 17-years-old, Felipe Anderson earned a move to Serie A in 2013, and was a key part of the Lazio side that finished fifth in the league – narrowly missing out on Champions League football – and reached the last eight of the Europa League.
I’m aiming big. Who knows, maybe I could hit their heights and be a legend here too. I’m really happy to be here. It’s a dream come true – Felipe Anderson.
Joining Ryan Fredericks, Issa Diop, Lukasz Fabianski, Jack Wilshere and Andriy Yarmolenko as part of the east London summer revolution, Anderson arrives at the London Stadium for a club record £36 million, a fee that could rise to £41.5 million.
However, is that too much to pay for a player that only has seven senior minutes for Brazil?
The market rate
In defence of Anderson’s fee, the first thing to direct attention towards is the perpetually gradual inflation of transfer fees since Cristiano Ronaldo first moved to Real Madrid in 2009. £80 million nine years later, however, does not buy you the best of the best.
David Luiz, Alexandre Lacazette, Gylfi Sigurdsson. All players that moved for around £40 million in recent seasons. What this demonstrates, though, is that £40 million is the new £20 million, and it’s simply the going rate in today’s market for a player of a certain quality.
Moura or less
Compared against compatriot Lucas Moura – who signed for fellow Londoners Tottenham in January – there’s certainly scope to suggest that the Hammers overpaid for Anderson.
For instance, both Brazilians are 25-years-old and their goal records are similar, though Lucas’, if anything, is better. The former Paris Saint-Germain winger netted once every 4.5 games in Ligue 1, whilst Anderson scored every 5.48 games in Serie A. Their frequency of assisting, though, was more similar – once every 4.5 games for Lucas and once every 4.15 games.
Both are primarily inside forwards, capable of both getting to the byline and firing a cross back across goal or cutting inside and bearing down on the ‘keeper, looking for either a shot on target or a through pass. And, moreover, their games are comparatively underpinned by speed.
The difference, however, is that Lucas has 35 Brazil caps compared to Anderson’s one, suggesting that he’s at least held in higher regard by his country.
Why, then, did Anderson cost nearly twice as much?
The necessity of overpaying
”What I can assure everybody,” West Ham owner David Gold began recklessly divulging to talkSPORT in May, “is that we’ll probably spend more money in this window than we’ve spent in any window in the past.”
How utterly foolish. In disclosing such sensitive information, Gold explicitly told clubs that the Hammers have money to spend. Hence, the high fee Lazio demanded for Anderson as the chairmen had effectively undermined their own negotiating power. West Ham became ripe for exploitation.
And whilst it’s a stated long-term aspiration, West Ham are not a Champions League club. They’re not even a Europa League club, so they arguably have to overpay for the players they feel will take them to that level, or those stepping down from European football, as Anderson has done in leaving Lazio.
But does it actually matter?
Ultimately, with the influx of money into the Premier League deriving from TV rights, West Ham have the financial capacity to spend this sort of money. Moreover, it’s perceived as a calculated risk in the sense that shirt sales and a higher finish in the league – perhaps coupled with European football – will pay off what it cost to sign Anderson in the first place.
Therefore, if overpaying is irrelevant in the wider context, then did they even overpay to begin with?
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