The former England international, 37, was one of the first arrivals to the Man City squad of the Sheikh Mansour era and still thinks that he was an overpriced buy at the time, saying he still feels “embarrassed” by his £12m fee, despite the exponentially rising transfer fees paid for players in the modern game.
Bridge was one of the first signings made by Chelsea and Manchester City in their modern eras, respectively, winning a league title with the Blues and playing a big part in their Champions League campaign in 2004 after joining from his boyhood club Southampton.
Upon moving to Manchester City from Chelsea, Bridge made 58 appearances across four seasons and had spells at the likes of West Ham and Sunderland before retiring at Brighton at the end of the 2014 season.
Wary about his £12m price tag – which was then a steep price at the time – Bridge even had to speak to Jamie Redknapp about his unease and the sort of pressure it would carry.
“Even I pinch myself at the career I had and the money you can earn, but I almost find it embarrassing to talk about,” Bridge told Planet Football.
“When I was going for £12million to Man City I remember speaking to Redknapp about the price, and saying, ‘I think they’re paying too much.’
“He was like, ‘nah, you’re quality,’ but I didn’t see it.””
Manchester City spent an excess of £100m this summer on full-backs alone, bringing in the likes of Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker and Danilo. It is an age of football where defenders get bought for £50m – David Luiz’s transfer to PSG from Chelsea in 2014 was a world-record fee for a defender – yet it is a trend that doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.
Neymar’s move to Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain this summer smashed the record transfer of €222m (£198m), while Ousmane Dembele’s arrival to replace him at Barcelona for €105m is the second-highest fee for a player. These are numbers that don’t seem to be ending any time soon.
“The prices you’re talking about these days for full-backs, £50m, I can’t get my head round it,” continued Bridge.
“I never would have thought it would keep going up and up and up and up, but it’s still going. You think ‘when is it going to stop?’ and I really don’t know.”