Almost twenty-two years ago, Newcastle United paid out a world record transfer fee of £15 million to sign Alan Shearer from Blackburn Rovers.
It’s also thirteen years this year since the club broke their transfer record, the £15m paid for Shearer, to bring Michael Owen back to the Premier League from Real Madrid.
These two iconic players are two of the best English strikers to have ever stepped foot on a football pitch and, if they were at their peak, would demand extremely high prices in the transfer market today.
Let’s look at just how good and how valuable Shearer and Owen, as well as another iconic NUFC striker Les Ferdinand, were and how much they would be worth in today’s transfer market.
In 1995, Les Ferdinand was twenty-eight years old and had spent his entire professional career at Queens Park Rangers. He didn’t have the experience of winning trophies and wasn’t an England regular at international level.
However, he was extremely prolific in front of goal and had netted sixty Premier League goals in the three previous seasons with QPR. That was enough for Newcastle to pay £6m for him, which was just under £3m more than they offered for him in 1992.
Ferdinand was absolutely brilliant for Newcastle, scoring twenty-nine goals in all competitions in his first season as the club finished second in the Premier League.
The following season he was more the support act to a certain Mr Shearer, but still managed to net twenty-one goals in total and helped the club to second place for a second consecutive season. Four of his goals came in the UEFA Cup, as Newcastle reached the Quarter Finals.
Newcastle paid £6m for Ferdinand in 1995, which would roughly equate to £10.85m today taking inflation into account. Football transfer fees have far exceeded normal inflation, though, and his value in today’s transfer market would be more like £35m
Fee in 1995 – £6m
Value in Today’s Market – £35m
Michael Owen was just twenty-five, had already earned seventy-one caps for his country, had played in two World Cups and two European Championships, and had scored over 170 competitive goals at club level, when Newcastle broke their club transfer record to sign him for £16.8m from Real Madrid.
He was a record breaking forward who had taken the world of football by storm since breaking onto the scene as a seventeen-year-old. He was keen to guarantee himself first team football ahead of the 2006 World Cup, so moved back to the Premier League to join Newcastle for the 2005/06 season.
Unfortunately, he suffered an injury before playing a game and had to wait longer for his debut that initially planned. It was to be a sign of things to come.
Despite the fact that Owen was a prolific goal scorer, netting seven in eleven appearances in that first season, injuries blighted his time at St James’ Park.
When fit, he was a fantastic goal scorer who had the ability to win games on his own. But, he was rarely fit for his first two seasons at Newcastle. He was more of a regular in the two seasons after and had scored thirty goals in seventy-nine appearances by the time he left to join Manchester United.
Before the serious injuries, Newcastle paid £16.8m to acquire the services of Owen in 2005 and a recent Betway blog post believe this to equate to around £80m in today’s transfer market.
Fee in 2005 – £16.8m
Value in Today’s Market – £80m
Alan Shearer, a Newcastle-born lad who had turned into the best striker in England by the time he returned “home” for a world record fee of £15m in 1996.
He had just finished top scorer in Euro ’96, as England reached the Semi Finals, and he had scored a total of 173 competitive goals at club level playing for Southampton and Blackburn Rovers.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson had made Shearer his number one target, but he opted to join his hometown club and went on to become a Newcastle legend who broke several club records.
He brought his career on-the-pitch to an end in 2006, having netted 206 goals in all competitions for Newcastle. Thirty of his goals had come in European competitions and he got so close to achieving his dream of winning silverware while playing in the famous black and white shirt.
There’s no doubt that Shearer would be one of the most valuable players in the world if he was still playing today. The £15m paid for him in 1996 would be worth around £200m in today’s market.
Take into consideration the fact he would probably have several clubs in a bidding war for his services and that £15m Newcastle spent on him could well be over £200m today.
Fee in 1996 – £15m
Value in Today’s Market – £200m