Feel like you pawned that gold ring a little too early as the value of the precious ore rises in volcanic fashion? Well if that resonates, you may have sympathy for Manchester United who could be about to spend £104.2m more to repurchase the same commodity they sold only four years ago.
Given the world of private jets and gated condos that football has become, the figures have to be put into some context, but you don’t have to be a stockbroker to deduce someone at Old Trafford made a monumental booboo in letting Paul Pogba leave for £800k in 2012.
The latest ‘development’ in this tortuous back-page saga is that United are now prepared to pay £105m for their former charge – as readers of the Sun will be familiar.
Seeing is believing in the realms of football transfer land, but should Jose Mourinho sanction this world-record outlay, then without a shadow, in terms of ignominious player u-turns, this will trump all that went before it.
As you’ll see from this list of the current top five, that’s pretty good going…
Cesc Fabregas – Barcelona – Arsenal (£2.7m) / Arsenal – Barcelona (£29m)
Arsene Wenger’s scouting network proved far more adept at spotting Fabregas’s enormous potential than Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, which let the then 16-year-old midfielder be swiped from the Camp Nou back in 2003. Seeing their former charge go on to captain Arsenal by age 21 must have been difficult viewing for the Spaniards.
Marco Reus – Dortmund – Rot Weiss Ahlen II (Free) / Monchengladbach – Dortmund (£15m)
According to some sources Reus’s physique was deemed too slight for his hometown club, whom he had supported fervently as a boy, to offer him a professional contract. BvB had changed their tune by the time the attacking midfielder bagged 18 Bundesliga goals for Gladbach in the 2011/12 campaign.
Nemanja Matic – Chelsea – Benfica (£2.5m) / Benfica – Chelsea (£23m)
The Serbian midfield enforcer wasn’t deemed dominant enough to impose himself in Chelsea’s ranks, so after following the well trodden path of a loan to feeder club Vitesse, off Matic went to Benfica. That was clearly an erroneous judgement on behalf of the Blues who fetched their man back for £20.5m more three years later.
Peter Crouch – Tottenham – QPR (£72k) / Portsmouth – Tottenham (£9m)
The man nicknamed ‘2-metre-Peter’ has endeared himself to the supporters of many a top-tier side across a journeyed career, but it all began in the white corner of north London. At 19 and after a loan to Sweden, Spurs let Crouch move across the capital for a pittance of what they’d later shell out on the England striker. The overall figures may not be as eye-catching, but in terms of percentage increase (1150%), the folly is obvious.
Mats Hummels – Bayern – Dortmund (£3.4m) / Dortmund – Bayern (£32m)
This is a stinger, even for a club with pockets as cavernous as FC Hollywood. Not only did they let their defender leave for a relatively low amount, but very soon afterwards Hummels was expertly anchoring a BvB side that would claim successive German crowns at Bayern’s expense. Bayern could finally take no more after another impressive season from the World Cup winner, so returned cap (and chequebook) in hand this summer.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.