Avoiding expensive transfer market mistakes

I’m a Sunderland fan, and there’s been much complaining on the Blackcats fans’ list I read about the sale of the striker Kenwyne Jones to Stoke for £8m without an apparent replacement on the horizon. I like Jones, and one of my fond memories is of him scoring the goal against Fulham which ensured that Sunderland stayed up a couple of seasons ago. He also has a flamboyant goal celebration. But I recently read Why England Lose, which devotes a chapter to why football clubs waste money in the transfer market, and one of the rules of how to avoid doing this is “Sell any player when another club offers more than he is worth”. Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski, the book’s authors, suggest that Lyon’s rise in France is almost completely down to managing the transfer market well.

And since there is still about 36 hours to go before the summer transfer window closes, by way of a public service here’s their 12 rules in full:

  1. A new manager wastes money on transfers. Don’t let him.
  2. Use the wisdom of crowds (get groups to assess transfers)
  3. Stars of recent World Cups or European Championships are over-valued. Ignore them.
  4. Certain nationalities are over-rated.
  5. Older players are over-valued.
  6. Centre-forwards are over-valued; goalkeepers are under-valued [except by Sunderland]
  7. ‘Gentlemen prefer blondes’; identify and avoid ‘sight-based prejudices’.
  8. The best time to buy a player is when he is in his early twenties.
  9. Sell any player when another club offers more than he is worth.
  10. Replace your best players even before you sell them.
  11. Buy players with personal problems, then help them deal with their problems [Brian Clough did this brilliantly].
  12. Help your players re-locate.

The picture is from the Modern Anthology blog, and is used with thanks.


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