READING FC boss Jaap Stam admits there is no sign of football’s money-making machine slowing down – then suggested he would be worth around £200m as a player in today’s market.

Transfer fees and player wages continue to rise at a rapid rate thanks to massive overseas investment from the likes of Saudi Arabia, China and the United States.

The current world transfer record stands at a shade under £200m following Naymar’s switch from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain last summer.

And in the past week Spanish giants Barcelona paid a reported £142m to acquire the services of Philippe Coutinho from Premier League Liverpool.

There are even some eye-popping transfer fees lower down the divisions following unconfirmed reports this week suggesting Reading’s Championship rivals Wolves were preparing a £34m bid for AC Milan striker Andre Silva.

Stam, who became the world’s most expensive defender when he moved from PSV to Manchester United in 1998 for £10.6m, believes it will be a long time before the market slows down.

The 45-year-old Dutchman said: “When I played I was the most expensive defender in the world at £11m.

“People wondered how far it would go but now people talk of players going for £80m like it’s normal.

Bracknell News:

Neymar made a world-record £200m switch from Barcelona to PSG. Picture: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/ Getty Images.

“So if you go up to the Premier League and want to buy six or seven new players you have to spend at least £30-35m per player. Imagine the amount of money you need when you go up from the Championship.

“You can disagree with the market but it’s how it goes. With more cash coming into football I don’t think it’s going to stop or collapse just yet.

“I think it will keep going up and within a year £100m will be common for good players.”

And when asked how much he would be worth in today’s money, Stam quipped: “I don’t want to be cocky, but I look back at my qualities at the time I would have gone for about £200m.”

Wolves’ new Chinese owners spent an estimated £50m last summer and are reaping the rewards with the club 12 points clear at the top of the Championship and well on course to win promotion to the Premier League.

But Stam says Reading’s Chinese owners simply cannot compete in the transfer market.

“If you can pay this amount of money for players you want to go somewhere as a club,” he declared.

“But we can’t go that far, we can’t even get close to that to be honest. It’s unbelievable, but it’s how the market is these days.

Bracknell News:

Jaap Stam in action for Manchester United.

“It makes it harder for other teams to get players in, the gap between clubs becomes bigger and bigger.

“Maybe you need to change the rules to make it more balanced, but I don’t think you will be able to tell clubs they can only spend a certain amount in the summer.”

Nevetheless, Stam is confident of bringing in ‘two or three’ new players in the January window after setting out his transfer plans on Wednesday.

Derby striker Chris Martin, Southampton full-back, Sam McQueen and Barnsley forward Tom Bradshaw have all been linked with a move to Royals.

But Stam also warned Reading may be forced to sell some of their best players in order to raise funds.

Reading return to Championship action with a trip to Hull City tomorrow (3pm ko).