Jun 26, 2013, 9:49 PM EDT
The moments after a big game can cast a soccer diehard into a netherworld, especially after a match like today’s between Brazil and Uruguay. As Paulinho’s header flew just under Fernando Muslera’s crossbar, we were forced to come to grips with a premature end. What were we going to do with that next 30, 45 minutes we wanted filled by extra time? Even penalty kicks?
Ray Wilkins and Trevor Brooking provided my methadone via Al-Jazeera’s studio, a comedown that went haywire when the channel’s news update tried to convince me Shakhtar Donetsk wants Liverpool to fork over just under $50 million (€38 million) for attacking midfielder Henrik Mkhitaryan – a 24-year-old attacking midfielder who exploded for 25 Ukrainian league goals in 28 appearances. While that’s a prodigious total, it’s also completely out of character for the Armanian international, a less than one-in-three scorer for country who’d averaged just over eight goals per game during the previous three Premier League season.
And that gets to the crux of the problem. If Mkhitaryan really was a guy who’d proved he was scoring a goal-per-game soccer in the Ukrainian league, maybe you could justify that insane fee. But he’d also need to be replicating that output in Champions League. And at international level. And he would have had to have done so over a number of years. And when he wasn’t helped by a Shakhtar team that ran circles around their domestic competition.
Unfortunately, every piece of context tells is Mkhitaryan isn’t really a 25-goal player, yet that’s the kind of money Shakhtar want.
To put that into perspective, there have been 31 transfer fees in world soccer history that eclipse €38 million. Only 38 players in the whole, illustrious history of world football. Perhaps inflation, more money coming into the game, and the demand for players means that fee is justified for a player like Mkhitaryan, but it seems unlikely.
And when I say “a player like” Mkhitaryan, I don’t want to disparage him too much. He’s an extremely productive player, as his numbers can attest, but when you’re talking about a potential move to Liverpool, there are legitimate questions if a player of relatively normal speed and athleticism can justify that fee once h’es playing in the Premier League. Before last season, he wouldn’t have been on many’s radars, and while you can’t completely discount what he accomplished in 2012-13, there are more than your usual number of questions surrounding Mkhitaryan’s potential step up.
Searching online, there aren’t any sources that corroborate Al Jazeera’s reporting. The Sun’s grab bag puts the number at $38.3 million, while the Mirror says Liverpool’s bid is just under $30 million. Neither are the most reliable sources, so who knows where Shakhatar’s reported demands stand.
If you’re a Reds supporter, you should hope these reports are way off. That, or your club is smart enough to move on from Mkhitaryan. While there is a need to keep upgrading the talent around Anfield, there are better ways to use this money. Players with longer track records, better skillsets, and fewer doubts can be had for $50 million.
Apr 25, 2015, 12:21 AM EDT
FC Dallas took the lead into halftime, but a second half red card to Blas Perez let Colorado sneak back for a point.
Apr 24, 2015, 11:10 PM EDT
Tony Pulis is known for turning around struggling clubs, but the West Brom manager says he is more than just a last resort.
Apr 24, 2015, 10:20 PM EDT
David Accam’s first MLS goal was enough for Chicago to down a NYCFC side that played more than 60 minutes a man down.
Apr 24, 2015, 9:38 PM EDT
Tim Howard takes on his former club Manchester United, while Brad Guzan looks to keep Manchester City off the scoresheet.
Apr 24, 2015, 8:50 PM EDT
Finding a club to pay his $150,000 per week wages is the only problem for Spurs.
Apr 24, 2015, 7:46 PM EDT
The Baggies must defend The Hawthorns as Liverpool is barely clinging on to top-four dreams.
Apr 24, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT
Clinging onto safety in the Premier League, Hull City players now have some added incentive to avoid the drop.
Apr 24, 2015, 5:37 PM EDT
Still in his first season as manager at Old Trafford, LVG has already endorsed his top assistant to be the next in line.
Apr 24, 2015, 4:42 PM EDT
Can Tim Sherwood and Aston Villa continue their climb up the table at the Etihad?
Apr 24, 2015, 3:42 PM EDT
PST’s Joe Prince-Wright sat down with the Southampton defender to see how the Saints’ skipper has evolved into one of the best center-backs in the Premier League.
Apr 24, 2015, 2:50 PM EDT
In the latest PST Extra we take a quick look at why whispers about managers losing their jobs at Liverpool, Man City are getting louder.
Apr 24, 2015, 2:06 PM EDT
PST’s Lead Writer and Editor predicts the scores in the PL this weekend.
Apr 24, 2015, 1:25 PM EDT
Spurs are reportedly in talks with the NFL about housing a franchise in their new stadium.
Apr 24, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT
What do you think of these 11 players getting Team of the Year honors?
Apr 24, 2015, 11:19 AM EDT
Where and how to watch every PL game during Week 34.
Apr 24, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT
Mourinho stirs the pot before huge clash with Arsenal on Sunday.
Apr 24, 2015, 9:25 AM EDT
Can Saints get revenge on Pochettino as he returns to St Mary’s? Watch live, Saturday, 7:45 a.m ET.
Apr 24, 2015, 8:10 AM EDT
Jose Mourinho has delivered an update on Costa’s progress ahead of Sunday’s big game.
UEFA Champions League semifinal draw: Guardiola’s Bayern get Barcelona; Real Madrid take on Juventus
Apr 24, 2015, 7:31 AM EDT
Former Barca boss Guardiola is heading back to the Nou Camp for the UCL semis.
Apr 23, 2015, 11:17 PM EDT
Mauricio Pochettino feels that any team not having to contend with Europa League has a better chance of qualifying for Champions League.
- Premier League Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. Liverpool 0
- SportsWorld: Jose Fonte talks playing with Ronaldo, shares thoughts on MLS 0
- Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks: Time for the underdogs to shine 0
- WATCH: NBC Sports’ Premier League TV schedule – Week 34 0
- Jose Mourinho: “Arsene Wenger is not my rival” ahead of Arsenal vs. Chelsea 6
- UEFA Champions League semifinal draw: Guardiola’s Bayern get Barcelona; Real Madrid take on Juventus 0