Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Three Unhappy Superstars

Amazingly enough, the wronged triumvirate of Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale are all now injured and unavailable for their club's respective pre season matches. In reality it's a contrived situation that suits all parties.

From the players' point of view, non participation - barring going on strike - is pretty much the only option available no matter what agents may or may not believe. It keeps it newsworthy and gives people - such as myself - something to write about.

From the club's point of view it also makes sense. Having the player around the other players is at this stage is disruptive, encourages an even bigger media scrum and maybe most importantly, the reality is that every player has a price so bearing in mind you might be about to receive an offer you simply cannot refuse then why risk having the player injured?

Rooney's case is probably the most interesting, Suarez's the most pathetic and Bale's probably the most worthy cause.

Rooney as already blogged about clearly wants out of Old Trafford, be it money, footballing reasons, no one really knows as he on the instructions of his agent is keeping sch tum. What is interesting with Rooney is how you value him. Bearing in mind the numbers being talked for the other two, 25 or 30M for Rooney seems very good value, but is it?

His wages are astronomical and his performances have been patchy and Chelsea must sense that ManYoo are tempted at some point. From their perspective, they sell an unhappy player who has not been first choice, he has only two years left of his contract (another big factor) and clear out a quarter of a million quid a week in wages, what's not to like?

The problem for ManYoo is that it sends the wrong message at the beginning of Davie Moyes' career, even if the problem is apparently with his predecessor. Selling to Chelsea could also be suicide if he goes on to have a good season and they finish above the Reds. The situation is far from straightforward.

Luis Suarez it appears lives on Planet Suarez where everything that happens is everyone else's fault and he should be allowed to serenely go around doing as he pleases and playing for whom he pleases.

Liverpool are a wonderful institute, occasionally a touch sanctimonious about certain issues but generally a proud and properly run club. They have stood by Suarez twice now, the first to their detriment and the second in this writer's opinion in any event an overblown storm in a teacup. Regardless, they have supported Suarez at all times and he was given a marvelous reception by the fans earlier this week by all accounts.

It is completely understandable that Suarez wants to play Champions League football but regardless of that fact and as is the case for every player, he has signed a contract and he has no legal right to break it.

There is clearly an issue with his contract that Arsenal believed they could exploit but Liverpool are cast iron that the contract is not explicitly worded such and we would tend to believe them.

Liverpool will let Suarez go but at their price and he should not feel wronged in any way by their instance that if he leaves it is on their terms. Suarez represents everything that everyone despises in the modern footballer.

Now we come to poor Gareth Bale who has fallen foul of the transfer pantomime villan that is Daniel Levy. Levy is much vaunted as the master negotiator who never fails to get his price and in truth he has extracted some fantastic fees for Spurs whilst also picking up some good players at cheap prices.

However, at this stage with the Bale saga, one can almost feel some sympathy for the player and wonder whether Levy has started to drink his own kool aid. If Real Madrid are genuinely prepared to pay 100M for Gareth Bale then Spurs are bonkers not to take it. Santos must be wondering how on earth they were duped into selling Neymar for a mere 57M Euros, HALF the price being talked of for Bale.

Yes, transfer fees invariably go up but this is even beyond the Ronaldo fee. Ronaldo however was arguably the best player in the world at the time- yes we've heard of Messi - but is Bale really that good? It is also not as if British players have a wonderful track record of playing abroad either although that is not Spurs' concern obviously.

Once Real Madrid go public like this they intend to see it done and Levy must know this but again he risks dragging it out too late and also the problem is everyone will know that Spurs will be loaded with loot when they come calling for their players.

For those reasons it smacks of pride that Levy apparently will not countenance a cash plus player swap arrangement. 100M of players could give Spurs a real shot at establishing Champions League football rather than relying on the fitness and form of Bale to constantly dig them out of trouble in the last five minutes.

You could argue how the proceeds should be used for team building but it seems like folly to reject anything approaching 100M for a player who has only had one truly great season. It is possible also he caught everyone a little cold last year as to the level he could play. He will be a marked man this season for sure, whether he can step up another level to counter that like Messi or Ronaldo can is still unknown.

One can understand people wishing to change jobs, nearly everyone does at some point but what the players fail to understand is that given the contracts they have signed they have no right to do so unless there are explicit clauses stating certain criteria that can be met.

They are also not normal jobs, they effect the lives of tens of thousands of people. No doubt these three sagas will drag on until late late late into August with a promise that noses all over Europe will be firmly out of joint by the end, we will watch with interest - No Nonsense.