When Aaron Mclean was sold by Peterborough United to Hull City for £1.3 million in January 2011, few would have predicted it would be the start of a spectacular run of striker sales.
The loss of the popular Mclean was compensated by a club record transfer sale, the first the club had conducted that yielded in excess of £1 million for an individual player.
That club record has subsequently been broken seven times in the following five years, most recently by the departure of Conor Washington for £2.5 million to QPR on Tuesday (January 19).
Six of the eight multi-million pound Posh sales have been for out-and strikers. Centre-back Ryan Bennett’s £3.5 million transfer to Norwich, at a profit of £3 million, and attacking midfielder Lee Tomlin’s £1.5 million switch to Middlesbrough, at a profit of £1.3 million, are the exceptions.
That’s a total profit (give or take a few sell-ons and add-ons, a considerable one in Britt Assombalonga’s case) of over £21 million on eight players!
Posh have made more than a 10-fold profit on Washington, a player they initially paid £150k for in January 2014, in just two years. Additional payments of £70k have since been made to his former club Newport who are also entitled to 20% of the Posh profit.
Posh made even bigger percentage profits on Craig Mackail-Smith and Dwight Gayle and, most impressively, they signed Paul Taylor for nothing in March 2011 and sold him to Ipswich for £1.5 million just 17 months later.
Of course not all Posh signings work out and money from the sale of players has to be ploughed back into the general running of the club. Posh reported losses of £1.9 million in the year ending June 2015.
Without the sale of a player Posh would lose money every year. They remain dependent on the backing of owner Darragh MacAnthony for their financial well-being.
They paid rent of £380,000 last year and staff costs were over £4.5 million for the same period. They are figures tough to sustain on average gates of under 6,000.
Posh lost over a million pounds on Tyrone Barnett and, on current form at least, they will be lucky to get anywhere near the £600k they paid Hartlepool for striker Luke James in September, 2014 or the £750k they spent to entice midfielder Jack Payne away from Gillingham in June 2013.
Those three players are among the five costliest Posh players in the club’s history. Michael Bostwick (800k) and Assombalonga (£1.25M) are the others.
MILLION-POUND POSH SALES
£6M Dwight Gayle to Crystal Palace (July, 2013). Cost: £470k. Profit: £5.53M
£5.5M Britt Assombalonga to Nottingham Forest (August, 2014). Cost: £1.25M. Profit: £4.25M
£3.5M Ryan Bennett to Norwich City (January, 2012). Cost: £500k. Profit: £3M
£2.5M Craig Mackail-Smith to Brighton (July, 2011). Cost: £125k. Profit: £2.375M
£2.5M Conor Washington to QPR (January, 2016): Cost 150K. Profit: £2.35M
£1.5M Paul Taylor to Ipswich (August, 2012). Cost: Free. Profit: £1.5M
£1.5M Lee Tomlin to Middlesbrough (January, 2014). Cost: £200k: £1.3M
£1.3M Aaron Mclean to Hull City (January, 2011). Cost: £150k. Profit: £1.15M
TOTAL PROFIT: £21.455M