How COVID-19 is changing the Football transfer market

Aakash Rao
2 min readNov 10, 2020

Before April, a swap deal between a 23 year-old Brazilian for a 30 year old Bosnian passing maestro would have seemed ridiculous and purely implausible. However, the above-mentioned swap deal of Arthur Melo and Miralem Pjanic was completed recently in late June.

Social media burst into flames shortly after, and my feed was filled with spectacular memes.

However, when looking into the transfer, it does seem to make sense to a certain extent. Pjanic has qualities Barcelona lacked last season, while Arthur Melo does seem to be a clever signing for Juventus.

While I wouldn’t say this was a great deal for both sides, it does seem like this will be the ways deals will be in the short term.

For a while now, the concept of swap deals has been fading away, and money, money, and more money were how most deals were done. The market has become very inflated since the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 seasons , when Virgil Van Dijk was added to Liverpool’s roster for a titanic fee of 75 million pounds in January 2018, Neymar moved to PSG for a world record 222 million euros in 2017 and when Paul Pogba swapped black and white for red when he returned to Old Trafford for a whopping fee of 105 million euros In 2016. Since then, the market has had numerous transfer records smashed. Alisson’s record fee of 67.5 million pounds for a goalkeeper was demolished a few days after joining Liverpool by Chelsea when they bought Kepa Arizzabalaga for a gigantic fee of 70 million euros (which in retrospect seems regrettable for Chelsea). Van Dijk’s record fee for a defender was beaten when Manchester United bought Harry Maguire for a mind-blowing fee of 80–85 million pounds.

This trend was on the rise and was expected to remain so, when COVID-19 hit the world.

A 120 million pound deal for Jadon Sancho was expected from either one of Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea. Now, Manchester United, who have gained a reputation for being heavy spenders, are not willing to bid for more than 80 million pounds.

In conclusion, with the exception of few clubs, (like Chelsea who have competed deals for multiple players at a whopping combined fee of around 214 million pounds) majority of clubs will be having to resort to less expensive and different types of deals like swap deals and free transfers, which may appear like a bad thing, but will help in stabilising and reducing inflation in the transfer market.

I hope this article was a meaningful read, and i would love to hear your opinions on how the football transfer market has been affected by Covid-19. Hopefully, once Covid-19 is over, football clubs will continue to spend wisely like most have in the previous transfer window.



Aakash Rao

An avid Manchester United fan and football/music blogger!