The Gold Rush in football – is 80m too much? 200m? When (and how) will this end?

Earlier this week, Planet Football opened its doors to the circus that is the transfer window.

From now until the end of August, the ring master, in the guise of Manchester City and Real Madrid, will be orchestrating the greatest show of them all.

There is no price is too dear for the big boys to pay anymore, while back in the real world, regular people face the threat of redundancy and trying to work out where the next pay cheque is coming from.

One man who doesn’t have that problem is Barcelona’s Samuel Eto’o. He’s reported to have turned down £250,000 A WEEK to join City. Instead he’s holding out for a slice of the transfer fee that would see his megabucks deal to Eastlands go through.

The Cameroon international is demanding more than £10m extra to sign on for Mark Hughes’ boys.

This is where football loses its tag of ‘the beautiful game’ for me. There is nothing beautiful about players turning down contracts of that magnitude in the hope they can hold out for more money.

Knowing the likes of Eto’o won’t join City for £13m a year leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

What happened to the likes of Alan Shearer, Matt LeTissier and Tony Adams? These guys were probably on a good sum of money themselves, but wanted to play for their clubs. They had a love for a club and would do anything to win and anything to succeed.

Now, success is a mere afterthought as greed drives on our idols.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Madrid is not one of love. It is again a demonstration of the dark side of football.

Ronaldo branded himself a ‘slave’ last season because he couldn’t just break his contract. News flash Ronaldo, you don’t always get what you want.

However, in this case, he has, and it annoys me to the pit of my stomach that his petulant behaviour has brought around the world’s most stupid transfer fee.

More than £80m for a footballer. One man. £80m. It beggar’s belief that kind of cash is being banded around for one single footballer.

Madrid will probably make that money back after Ronaldo’s contract is through with the amount of revenue they will sell with his name on, but who’s to say he’ll stay on?

Real Madrid are now near the the £200m mark for summer spending with the arrival of Karim Benzema. The lad has unquestionable talent, and through watching the French leagues last season it is obvious that he will be a star.

However, £35m for a man, who has yet to prove himself in Europe, or in a top European league, no disrespect to France, is ridiculous.

Messrs Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter, who have both slammed English clubs in the past, seem to differ on Real’s spending spree.

Platini has stuck to his guns, calling Real’s transfer policy “excessive”, but Blatter has gone against the grain saying: “It means that our product is still a good product. If this is the game of the people, they need stars.”

He’s sure changed his tune.

Don’t get me wrong, the transfer window is an exciting time for all fans of the game. I’m sure on August 31 I’ll be glued to my TV screen like the rest of you waiting to see who’s signed for who on deadline day.

It is exciting because for the next two months we will see a lot of talent swap allegiances and a lot of cash change hands, but we cannot let football keep on going the way it is because very soon we will reach the breaking point. The spending sprees will soon stop as the cash dries up and football will regret the day it allowed one man to cost £80m.

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