The beautiful game is now all about money
"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death; I'm very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that," said Bill Shankly, the most famous figure in Liverpool's illustrious history.
Indeed, late 19th-century football was a beautiful game and players were passionate for the clubs they used to play for, until money came along. The likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, PSG and Real Madrid have turned the beautiful game into a money game.
In today's world players are being sold for ridiculous amounts of money. The latest example is Lucas Moura who almost joined Manchester United for 28 million pounds until PSG came in with an offer of a whopping 40 million pounds for a 19-year-old player with no experience of European football.
And that's not all. If you go by media reports, the total deal is worth more than 100 million Euros. Here is the distribution of money involved in this deal: Lucas Moura to PSG fee 43million euros + 250,000 per week on a 4-year deal + 9 million euros agent fees = total transfer cost of 100 million euros.
That is an insane sum of money, but Lucas is just one of example. Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri, Eden Hazard and Cristiano Ronaldo are players for whom clubs have paid over the odds to the agents to get the deal done.
Sir Alex Ferguson recently provided us with a verbal glimpse of what happened with the Hazard deal. He said that they were close to negotiating a transfer but 32 million pounds plus a massive fee demanded by Hazard's agent and the player's unrealistic wage demands is where United drew a line. Chelsea on the other hand, financed by their Russian rubles, had no trouble paying that much and more to secure their man.
Ferguson did not stop there. On Wednesday, when asked about what happened with the Lucas deal, he said, "When somebody's paying 45 million pounds for a 19-year-old boy, you have to say the game's gone mad."
Football has become a business. When Manchester City was taken over in 2008, the club initially needed some investment to show the world that City could be a force to reckon with in future. This explains the over-the-top transfer fees and wages paid for players like Robinho, Kolo Toure, Aguero, Nasri and dozens of players. This in turn changed the whole value in the transfer market.
In the early 2000s, there were deals for Rio Ferdinand, Veron, Wayne Rooney, Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack which were over the top at that time but they were one-offs. But in today's world, every club expects to sell their players for no less than 25 million pounds even if that player is not worth that much.
Take the example of Arsenal striker Robin van Persie. No doubt he is Arsenal's prize asset and the golden boot winner last season in the EPL and they don't want to lose him, but with just one year on a contract remaining, you cannot expect any club to pay 20-25 million pounds for a man who is at the same time 29 and can leave for nothing next year. So who is to blame? Manchester City, PSG and Chelsea? Yes.
Arsene Wenger has brought Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla - who have the experience of playing in Europe - for just 40 million pounds, which is an absolute steal. Not to forget that United will be getting the tried and tested Shinji Kagawa for just 13 million pounds. Well, the clubs and the owners are not the only one to be blamed here. Players' agents are the ones who inflate the market most. Just look at Moura's agent Wagner Ribiero, who earned 9 million euros for just making sure that his player joins PSG and not United, who were not willing to pay that much to him.
If anyone feels this will stop, be rest assured that they can't stop now. Prepare for a summer of spending that may seem mindless, purely for the fact that it exists solely because few mindless owners with ridiculous amount of money in their bank accounts made it happen. UEFA Fair play is a useless strategy to start with because if a club is willing to spend, no rules on earth can stop them.
More about Abhishek NandwaniNot a sports enthusiast by choice, Abhishek has been brought up with the passion as playing turned into scribbling.
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