The news that Everton have agreed a £30m deal to bring Jordan Pickford to Goodison Park has divided the footballing world. Some say that the fee is far too high for a player who isn’t even capped for his country, whilst others are lauding it as smart.
One thing his move does suggest is that the Toffees will be offloading top-scorer Romelu Lukaku – with the Merseyside club clearly having funds to spend. The Belgian’s odds to join Chelsea are as low as 1/5 with some bookies, but if you fancy a punt when the new season gets underway follow the matchedbets.com method to maximise your winnings.
One man to come out in defence of Pickford’s transfer fee is former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton. England’s record appearance holder was the world’s most expensive keeper when he moved to Stoke City for £325,000 back in 1974. “This sort of money should be spent on goalkeepers,” he told BBC Radio 5 live. “For someone like Jordan, who is young and has great potential, it does not seem a great fee.” Perhaps what the deal does demonstrate is the ever-increasing inflation on transfer fees.
Just over 10 years ago, Everton signed American keeper Tim Howard for a fee of £3m. He was 28-years-old at the time, in his peak, and he still provided them with close to 10 years of dedication and top-quality keeping. Pickford is just 23-years-old, and providing he continues his recent development, he could be first-choice keeper at the club for the next 15 years. That wouldn’t be bad investment at all, and Everton legend Neville Southall agrees.
There are those that say the fee also corresponds to the fact that he’s English. In recent years, English players have been sold for higher prices – John Stones was an example of that last summer – but it has its logic. The FA are looking to increase the Homegrown Player Rule from eight to 12, making English players trained in the country more valuable in that sense.
Another reason why people doubt the fee is that goalkeepers have historically cost clubs less than outfield players. Manuel Neuer only cost Bayern Munich £19m in 2011, whilst Hugo Lloris only cost Tottenham £8m the year after. In fact, it was only this summer that Gianluigi Buffon was overtaken as the most expensive keeper in the world by City’s new arrival Ederson Moraes. The ex-Benfica stopper cost Pep Guardiola £35m – the same price Liverpool paid for Andy Carroll back in 2011.
So whilst the deal may sound a lot, our judgement is clouded by the equivocal belief that goalkeepers should cost less than outfield players. Keepers are just as important as other members of the team, so if David de Gea does leave United this summer, don’t expect him to go for less than £60m.