The other day a few of us had some conversations about Eddie Nketiah’s salary. He is reportedly being paid £100k a week (£5.2m a year) and some folks feel that it is too high. After a few rounds on Twitter – in which I was more or less convinced that perhaps he isn’t overpaid – Scott Willis (@oh_that_crab) posted a couple of articles on his CrabStats web site which purported to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Nketiah was paid the correct amount.
The only problem I had with his logic was that he used the example of Scamacca at West Ham. Scamacca’s transfer to West Ham is one of the more expensive deals in the League and combined with his salary he has an annual cost of £11.7m. So, yes, it is obvious that he’s being paid a lot and costing West Ham a lot.
But, I wondered, how much value are West Ham getting out of Scamacca? And who is getting the best value for their forwards?
I wanted to compare a projected goals tally (expected goals!) for a handful of forwards from a bunch of different teams and break down their cost per expected goal and assist. In other words, I wanted to get a rough estimate of what teams were paying per goal for their forwards.
I used Capology and Transfermarkt for salary and transfer fees. I hear that you have legitimate complaints about the accuracy of these sites but they are the easiest, most, readily available method for obtaining salary and transfer fees.
I then used fbref for the player’s expected goals plus assists per 90. In some cases I had to guess at how many goals that they were expected to score and adjust up or down for this season’s performances over, say, last season. I extrapolated that out over a 30 game season – 30 games because that’s a good number and very few forwards play all 38 games. I probably could have done 40 games because a lot of the forwards on the list play in Europe and in the League but there were a number of forwards who don’t play in Europe (yet) and so I stuck to 30.
These numbers aren’t intended to be a hard ‘cost per goal’ but rather, an estimate. I could go back at the end of the season and revisit these numbers to see how much their goals did cost but I’m lazy.*
Anyway, the point here is that using all of these fake numbers and my crazy formulation, I have decided that Arsenal have three of the cheapest goal scorers in the League: Saka, Martinelli, and Nketiah. Interestingly, we also have one of the most expensive: Gabriel Jesus.
|Name||Salary||Transfer fee||Annual cost||Goals + Assists per90||Projected goals per 30 game season||Cost per goal|
Ok, so, one big note: you will see a lot of “0” in the transfer fee section. This happens when a player either didn’t cost the team a transfer fee (like Saka, Nketiah, Rashford, Kane, and Foden) OR when they Bosman out of their initial contract with the club (Salah, Iheanacho, Martial, etc.). At that point, I don’t think the club is still amortizing their contract so, I don’t tally an annual cost.
The other thing here is that some players (like Nketiah and Iheanacho) are part timers. So, I don’t actually think Nketiah will get 17 goals+assists this season. It would be ‘hella’ cool if he did but it’s not likely. Not even if he plays in every Europa League game and we win the tournament. He did get 10 goals and 1 assist last season though, so.
With players like Nketiah I think you have to pay him that much – even if he doesn’t get you the 17 goals you want – because that’s what he’s worth to another team, one who would probably start him. So, you’re paying a premium to have an English player, who can get you 10 goals a season and would probably be a 17 goal a season player on West Ham.
Another thing to look at here is that Saka and Martinelli probably need a big upgrade to their contracts. Saka got 11 goals and 7 assists in the League last year and is well on his way to a 23 goals+assists record in the League this season (if he isn’t kicked into oblivion). He’s easily worth double his reported salary of £80k a week.
And finally, there’s the sticky wicket of Gabriel Jesus. Jesus’ overall play is crucial to Arsenal. He’s the entire set of pistons in our engine room. However, he did cost Arsenal a ton and he’s on a huge salary. So, while he will likely get 23 goals+assists he does cost Arsenal about £24m a year in salary and amortized transfer fees.
Oh and finally, you’ll no doubt note that I have Haaland’s transfer fee at £100m. I know that the reported fee was £55m but I frankly don’t believe it. I’ve seen it reported elsewhere that City had to pay his daddy a fee, plus he was given signing bonuses, and so on. I have his annual cost at just under £40m and I bet you we find out that it’s closer to £60m.
Anyway, there you go. Something new to argue about.
*I actually set a reminder for myself on May 29th to look at this again.