How do you calculate the market value of a footballer? Tricky question. If objective criteria such as age, contract end date, position, number of matches played and goals scored in the league and the number of national selections allow us to have an idea of the price of a player, the market sometimes gives the impression of being totally disconnected from reality. The recent inflation of prices in Saudi Arabia and the colossal sums put on the table by several Saudi clubs to acquire athletes playing in European championships have once again demonstrated that it is indeed the negotiations which, in the end, set a price between two parts.
FIFA seems ready to revolutionize the practice of transfers in football. During a legal conference organized in Tokyo, Gianni Infantino said he was open to a total overhaul of the current system. The Italian raised the possibility of setting transfer fees (amount a club pays to another club to buy out a player's current contract) based on an algorithm which would take into account a multitude of data on an athlete.
The boss of Fifa, who wishes to “increase the transparency of the system” and “help the players” of football, however, did not give further details on the progress of a reflection which could lead to an earthquake on the football planet.
Algorithms are already used to evaluate the value of players, as on the very famous site transfermarkt.de which sets and regularly updates the theoretical prices of thousands of players all over the world. The Football Observatory of the International Center for Studies and Sport (CIES) also has software into which data is entered in order to establish values. But these estimates are sometimes completely different from the sums ultimately put on the table by a club when acquiring a player.