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MONEYBALL: HERE’S WHO YOU COULD HAVE SIGNED…

Zopa calculates the players your team could have bought if they’d kept the cash they spent on transfer flops

Peer-to-peer lending pioneer, Zopa, today reveals the players that Premier League teams could have had on their shopping lists this summer, if only they had chosen to invest their money in previous windows rather than splash out on expensive failures.

Around this time every year, football fans up and down the country urge managers and chairmen to put their hands in their pockets and invest additional transfer funds in new talent to improve their team’s prospects. But not every big-money move goes to plan: for every Thierry Henry or Eric Cantona there is an Andy Carroll, Fernando Torres or Andriy Shevchenko.

Zopa has calculated exactly how much these transfer fees would now be worth today had the clubs involved lent rather than spent. After earning an average 5% interest for each of the intervening years, the players available make for far more attractive reading than their less illustrious predecessors.

For example, had Manchester City chosen to invest the £24 million they spent on Joleon Lescott in the summer of 2009, they would now be sitting on over £30 million. This summer, that could instead have brought in Spanish maestro Cesc Fabregas, who instead moved to Chelsea. Similarly, Chelsea splashed out £50 million on Fernando Torres in January 2011, but with interest that fee would now be worth £59.5 million: enough to have bought them Angel Di Maria in this summer’s window.

Here are 11 transfer flops from recent years, along with the players that their transfer fees could have been used for today:

Who they bought Transfer Fee Date Years ago Value today £ Earned % Increase Who they could buy today
Michael Owen (Newcastle) £16m 24/08/05 8.99 £24.8m £8.8m 55.1% Adam Lallana, £25m (Liverpool)
Khalid Boulahrouz (Chelsea) £8.5m 30/06/06 8.14 £12.6m £4.1m 48.8% Alberto Moreno, £12m (Liverpool)
Craig Gordon (Sunderland) £9m 31/08/07 6.98 £12.6m £3.7m 40.6% Jan Oblak, £12.6m (Atletico Madrid)
Jose Bosingwa (Chelsea) £16.2m 13/05/08 6.28 £22m £5.8m 35.8% Dejan Lovren, £20m (Liverpool)
Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd) £30.75m 31/08/08 5.98 £41.1m £10.4m 33.9% Alexis Sanchez, £35m (Arsenal)
Joleon Lescott (Man City) £24m 25/08/09 4.99 £30.6m £6.6m 27.6% Cesc Fabregas, £30m (Chelsea)
Aleksandar Kolarov (Man City) £16m 24/07/10 4.08 £19.5m £3.5m 22.0% Filipe Luis, £20m (Chelsea)
Fernando Torres (Chelsea) £50m 31/01/2011 3.56 £59.5m £9.5m 19% Angel Di Maria, £59.7m (Man United)
Darren Bent (Aston Villa) £24m 31/01/11 3.56 £28.5m £4.5m 19.0% Romelu Lukaku, £28m (Everton)
Stewart Downing (Liverpool) £20m 13/07/11 3.11 £23.3m £3.3m 16.4% Toni Kroos, £24m (Real Madrid)
Erik Lamela (Spurs) £30m 30/08/13 0.98 £31.5m £1.5m 4.9% Diego Costa, £32m (Chelsea)

Figure based on 5% annualised interest compounded once a year

Giles Andrews, Zopa CEO and co-founder, comments: “Spending isn’t always the best option, as this list of transfers all-too-clearly shows. If these clubs had shown a little patience and instead lent their money at an average interest rate of 5% over time, they would have some very attractive prospects on the table this season. With interest rates and ISAs at many banks in an offside position against inflation, reliable alternatives like Zopa are providing predictable and better returns for consumers who are prepared to think outside the banks.”

Zopa, the world’s first peer-to-peer lender has now lent over £600m in peer-to-peer loans by providing better rates for both lenders and borrowers since it was founded in 2005.

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