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Did Barcelona overpay for Luis Suarez?

A football research group analysed the worth of the players on the 2014 Goal Transfer List – and it makes better reading for some clubs than others.

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PREMIER LEAGUE LEADERS Chelsea signed Diego Costa for almost half of his real value while Barcelona overpaid for Luis Suarez, a study by a footballing research group has estimated.

The Football Observatory, based within the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) in Neuchatel, Switzerland, specialises in the statistical analysis of football.

The group uses an exclusive algorithm – taking into account values such as length of contract, age, position, goals, shots and minutes – to calculate the current value of nearly 1500 players from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga or Ligue 1 who have transferred in the last five years.

The CIES Football Observatory analysed the players who featured in the 2014 Goal Transfer List and revealed that Chelsea were the big winners – signing Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas for well under their current value.

The Blues paid Atletico Madrid a €44 million transfer fee for Costa, but his real value today is €84m.

Meanwhile, Barcelona were the big losers, paying Liverpool €81m for Luis Suarez, who is only worth €48m, also recouping less than they should have done for Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez.

Chelsea dispensed with €37m for Fabregas, yet his current value is actually €62m. So far this season, Costa and Fabregas have been outstanding. The former has scored 12 goals in 13 Premier League games, while the latter already has 11 assists – more than any other player.

Chelsea also did great business when it came to selling players in 2014. Juan Mata was offloaded to Manchester United for a transfer fee of €44.7m, but his current worth is €33m. David Luiz was shipped off to Paris Saint-Germain for a mammoth €50m, yet his actual value is only €24m.

With the Stamford Bridge outfit currently leading the Premier League and looking well set for another assault on the Champions League, it is no surprise that manager Jose Mourinho is so pleased with the transfer work of his club.

“My club did fantastic, especially the way they killed the situation with Fabregas,” Mourinho beamed recently. “The club resolved the deal in record time and the way they did it with Barcelona was, for me, a big surprise.

“We are so happy with the squad we have. We have the squad we want and, I repeat, the club were fantastic in the way they worked so hard and so fast to get Diego, Filipe Luis and Fabregas.”

Manchester City were less impressive with their transfer business. The Citizens paid out €53.8m for Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala – making the Frenchman the most expensive defender in history. However, having struggled since arriving at Eastlands, the Football Observatory calculated that his real value is just €19m – a whopping €34.8m less than what City shelled out for him.

Of the five remaining members of the 2014 Goal Transfer List, only Arsenal’s Sanchez represented value for money – according to the Football Observatory. Arsenal paid Barcelona a fee of €40m for the Chilean star, but having netted 13 times already this campaign his current value is actually €61m.

Having undersold both Sanchez and Fabregas, Barcelona also overpaid for Suarez. The Uruguayan topped the 2014 Goal Transfer List, and will eventually cost the Blaugrana almost €253m if all bonus-related objectives are met during the course of his five-year deal at Camp Nou.

Suarez’s transfer fee from Liverpool was €81m – the third highest in history – but his current value is only €48m and this figure will continue to drop unless he starts finding his feet at Camp Nou. He has yet to score in La Liga.

Barca’s bitter rivals Real Madrid also spent over the odds on their big South American signing of the year. James Rodriguez was acquired for a transfer fee of €80m from Monaco, but the Football Observatory estimate his actual value at €30m lower.

Finally, Manchester United and their chief executive Ed Woodward have come under fire for a string of expensive signings over the last 18 months and once again they weren’t shy to over-spend this summer. Angel Di Maria’s present value is €57m, but was purchased from Real Madrid for €75m, Luke Shaw was signed for almost €12m more than his actual worth, while the aforementioned Mata was acquired at an inflated price.

Mata’s former club Chelsea were once derided for their excesses in the transfer market – but not any longer. Having signed Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas at a fraction of their actual value, the Blues can now be considered one of Europe’s shrewdest clubs.

– Carlo Garganese

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