When did the transfer market become so incredibly expensive?
While inflation has always meant that prices have been on a steady incline, it feels as if things have been kicked into hyperdrive in recent times, and now bargains are very much a thing of the past.
Once players like Aaron Wan-Bissaka – a fine talent of course, but one with just a year’s Premier League experience to his name – start going for fees of around £50 million, it sets an unruly precedent that leads to a pattern of fantastical valuations.
And if you ask Paul Ince, nowhere is that more apparent right now than in the £80 million West Ham are reportedly demanding for Declan Rice.
According to the Daily Star, the Hammers have set the exorbitant fee in a bid to ward off interest from Manchester United for their starlet.
He said: “I don’t think they’ll spend £80m on Declan Rice, that’s for sure, at this moment in time.
“I think he’s at the right club at West Ham. He’s playing week in, week out, which is important, and I think he’s got the right people around him, like Mark Noble, who has been there a long time, so he’ll learn a lot.
“But stop quoting these ridiculous prices, it’s madness, it really is.”
You’d have to agree with Ince here, but you can’t help feeling that he might be missing the point a little.
Yes, £80 million is very, very high, even for a player of Rice’s potential, but isn’t that what West Ham are trying to achieve here? They’re not looking to strike a deal with anybody, they just want to keep a player who, so far this season, has registered a hugely impressive Whoscored rating of 7.05.
If that means quoting eye-watering prices then so be it, just as long as Rice remains a Hammer.