Only at the right price
The rumours abound; this player is desperate to leave, that player desperate to sign. For footballing reasons, for personal. He’s not for sale, of course he can go – but only at the right price. The close season always initiates the elongated, mind numbing transfer sagas the likes of which we have seen in the past with Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo and, this year, with Cesc Fabregas (not to mention last year, and the year before) and Samir Nasri. Add to this, Manchester City’s captain Carlos Tevez’s stated desire to leave to be closer to his family and you have a developing narrative to satiate the lonely hearts of football fans, throughout the cold hard months between seasons. What though, is the best way to manage the exit of – or cling on begrudgingly to – these disaffected players?
Arsene Wenger has often been cited as a manager skilled at moving on aging players, at the right time, for a decent price. Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Viera and, to a lesser extent, Henry, were all sold, for large sums of money to European clubs at which, whilst succeeding, they were perhaps not the force they once were in the Highbury heyday. Wenger’s team now comes under threat for two of his best players as Barcelona’s reciprocated interest in Fabregas continues for another summer transfer window and with young Frenchman Samir Nasri attracting interest from a myriad of top European teams. Whilst Wenger, in previous off-seasons, has repeatedly succeeded in clinging on to his captain Fabregas, a hint of resignation has entered his language this summer. Gone is the talk of his skipper ‘not being for sale at any price’ and reports have it that negotiations have continued apace.
THE YOUNG UPSTART
Nasri however is an altogether different prospect. Fabregas has long declared his desire to pull on the Blaugrana of his childhood and family heritage, however Nasri’s apparent desire to leave is borne of frustration at a lack of success and an ambition to secure the trophies so lacking at the Emirates stadium. As supporter unrest increases at six trophyless seasons, Wenger now faces revolt in his own dressing room from one of the charges he has developed and nurtured. No longer it appears will he be able to hold on to his latest creative charge, moving him on only when the situation is right for the club. As Nasri’s Arsenal team-mate Gael Clichy has shown, to succeed is to seek a move from the Emirates. It is highly likely Wenger will play hard ball and cling on to Nasri for another season at least, but with the player’s contract running down, a departure will certainly not be too far away unless Wenger can return the North London team to the pinnacle achieved in the first half of the last decade. Perhaps with the addition of several top quality players from the funds generated from the sale of Fabregas, Wenger’s boys can secure a trophy or two to satisfy the ambition of their young French International. If not, expect to see The Nasri Saga, Part II next summer.
Carlos Tevez of Manchester City is another player reported to be agitating for a move away from his current employers. In the January transfer window, Tevez announced his desire to escape the glamour of Manchester to join a team in a region more palatable for his young family to relocate to. His transfer request was dismissed as an unnecessary distraction by his manager and the directors at the club. As no bids subsequently arrived, Tevez withdrew his request and went on to win Manchester City’s first trophy in decades and to qualify for the Champions League for the first time. He has again this summer, reiterated that family must come first and repeated his desire to move to a club where he can be closer to his Argentina-based family.
At £50,000,000, his likely transfer fee will certainly prove insurmountable to any South American team, so one must believe that he is angling for a move to a Latin European nation, where his family may move with less of a language barrier in their way. Manchester City’s handling of the situation however is unique in modern football where wealthy young players continue to have the upper hand in such negotiations. City made little or no comment earlier this week when Tevez again stated his desire to leave, preferring instead to focus on the signing of Clichy and the impending arrival of Stefan Savic. If any team in world football can afford not to worry about a player earning £200,000 per week who also cost the best part of £30,000,000 in transfer fees, sitting on their bench or even sitting at home in Buenos Aires and running down his contract, it is certainly the Middle-Eastern Oil Billionaires.
Tevez may have just and distinctly understandable reasons for wanting to leave, however City’s refusal to allow to him to force a move seems to redress a balance in an era of overarching player power back towards the club. With Internazionale officially distancing themselves from signing the player, unless their city rivals Milan or one of the big two Spanish teams lodge a huge and acceptable bid, Tevez may find his desires frustrated.
A TASTE OF THE BIG TIME
Luka Modric of Tottenham Hotspur is another citing ambition as a reason to leave White Hart Lane, with Spurs’ failure to qualify for a second Champions League hitting their hopes of keeping their star playmaker. As Modric pines for a move to Andre Villas-Boas’ Chelsea, Spurs’ Chairman Daniel Levy and manager Harry Redknapp repeatedly cry from the rooftops that he is not for sale. Chelsea are reported to have lodged a bid in the region of £22,000,000 which was swiftly rebuffed (somewhat unsurprisingly if you consider Liverpool’s purchase of Jordan Henderson for only £2,000,000 less than that) and Modric is due to meet with Levy today, apparently to again be told to keep his gaze fixed on success in North, not West London.
When clubs firmly plant their feet in the turf, as Spurs and City in particular have, and refuse to enter into discussions with players under contract over their preferred departures, they perhaps succeed in clinging on to their prized assets in the short term. Such disaffection does not disperse however, instead festering and developing a stronger and more pronounced inclination. At times, with Fabregas last summer versus this for instance, it can prove to be the eventual detriment to the club. If Fabregas had been allowed to leave last summer, Arsenal could have realistically hoped to secure a fee in the region of £40,000,000. This summer however, after a disappointing 2010/11 season blighted by injury and poor form, his value has apparently dropped so that Arsenal and Barcelona are now said to be haggling over whether £34- or £35,000,000 is acceptable.
If Modric, Nasri and Tevez are in all situ at their present clubs come 1st September 2011, chairmen and managers alike may claim victory. That is a big ‘if’. Those same chairmen and managers are no mugs, they will realise that an unhappy player can have a negative affect not only on their teams as a whole, but also on the individual form of players who will be ever closer to the expiry of their contracts, reducing their sell-on value further. If the player wants to go now, he is likely to want to go in 12 months time and who knows what injury, form, or otherwise related issue could diminish the amount of money the respective clubs may be able to obtain from their sale.
Headers & Volleys predict that Fabregas, Modric and Tevez will all leave this summer. Nasri’s future is more uncertain due to the obstinate nature of Arsene Wenger. If the Frenchman does not allow his young compatriot to move this transfer window, renewed interest in January will be hard to ignore, particularly if Arsenal are somewhat off the pace. We predict Nasri will be pulling on a different shirt within the 12 months following the 31st August 2011.
Since this post went live, Blackpool’s Charlie Adam, one of the standout players of last term, has agreed a deal thought to be in the region of £7,000,000 to move to Liverpool. In January, Blackpool manager Ian Holloway rebuffed advances from the Merseyside club for his best player. The rumour of the time had Liverpool offering in the region of £15,000,000 for the Scottish playmaker and today’s signing might be seen as somewhat of a coup for the Reds. However Blackpool’s determination to hang on to their most influential player in their battle to avoid relegation had offered them their best chance of survival. When their Premier League status was subsequently lost, so too it would appear, was their resolve to keep their prized asset.
Some might decry Adam for having his head turned by the advances of Anfield, however the conduct of both the player, in staying and proving no less instrumental in their fight for survival in the second half of the season and of the club, in honouring what was clearly a gentlemen’s agreement to hinder the development of the Scot no further, stands out as a shining light in the current transfer climate. Despite having effectively lost £7-8,000,000 in keeping him in January, Blackpool’s resolve to do what was, in purely footballing terms, right for the club and now in allowing the player to make his preferred move highlights a dignity and grace which will be sorely missed in the Premier League this season.
Posted on 06/07/2011, in 1. Latest and tagged arsenal, charlie adam, football, LFC, Liverpool, man city, modric, nasri, premier league, spurs, tevez, transfers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.