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In many respects football is a world and a law unto itself.

There is no better example of this than the corrupt and murky realm that is the transfer window.

This is probably the only industry in the world where millions of pounds are gambled on a single individual. In what other job could you demand you want to leave, go on strike and still walk away with £250,000 a week? This is football, and it’s becoming a circus of greedy, gluttonous money grabbing agents, players, owners and clubs…

The transfer market is a much scrutinised aspect of the modern game with deadline day becoming just as eagerly anticipated as some cup finals for many football fans. Every rumour is thrown for the grapevine and discussed ad nauseam by fans on social media, forums, blogs and everywhere else online. There’s a royal baby on the way, yet my Twitter trends still read, Rooney, Barcelona and Bernard (the Brazilian ace is subject of an anticipated move to the Arsenal).

Jim White Show: Or Transfer Deadline Day Media Circus Courtesy Sky Sports News

Jim White Show: Or Transfer Deadline Day Courtesy Sky Sports News

Transfers of players usually involve complicated and intimate negotiations. More often than not these negotiations are between four parties, all of which will be scrabbling for their cut of the deal. The selling club and the buying club as well as the player and usually, his agent. This is a dog eat dog business that would make Lord Alan Sugar wince.

So, who holds the cards in the concluding deal?

The Club? Now, you would think that ultimately all the power lies with the selling club wouldn’t you? After all, if they don’t want to sell, they simply just say no. You would think, that they can simply refuse to sell him if they are not in agreement with any offer made, wouldn’t you?

While this is true to an extent, clubs are often pressured into selling their top stars against their will for a valuation that they do not deem satisfactory. The clubs financial situation is probably the biggest factor in a players transfer. This is especially the case with smaller clubs.

A League 1 club for an example more often than not can not afford to hold out for £1million when an offer has been submitted for 25% less than that valuation. The day-to-day running of the club is more important than that extra £250,000 that may never come. This is where selling clubs will attempt to negotiate clauses regarding sell-on fees and appearances for example. A sell-on fee will help the club to obtain a percentage windfall at an unspecified date, should said player move on again.

It is a different matter for those who can afford to say no. Take for example, Manchester City and Carlos Tevez. When the Argentine forward decided he’d had enough at Man City one day, he refused to come on as a sub and eventually went on strike. Tevez was trying to engineer a move out of the club and refused to play, whilst still collecting his reported £250,000 a week wage. As no club would go near the volatile striker, Manchester City opted to see out his contract, which would have left any other club hugely out of pocket.

Carlos Tevez Denied Refusing To Make Sub Appearance v Bayern Munich

Player Power: Carlos Tevez denied refusing to make sub appearance v Bayern Munich

Tevez had no other choice but to stay at the club and eventually went on to help them lift the 2011/12 title. Tevez was recently sold to Italian giant Juventus, probably for a third of the price they asked for 18 months ago. The appalling behaviour of Carlos Tevez towards his employer leads me to my next point…

Those of you who follow football will know all about who is dominating recent football headlines. I’m talking of course about a bloke called Wayne Rooney and a little club named Manchester United.

Manager David Moyes faces the biggest challenge of his Manchester United career and season hasn’t even started yet. ‘No individual player is bigger than Manchester United’ the boss claims, well it appears Wayne Rooney is, Mr Moyes.

This is where the player has the power…

Rooney, 27, is seemingly pulling the Premier League champions strings, they say ‘he’s not for sale’, he says, ‘I’m unhappy and angry, I want to leave’, and thus, the speculation and bidding wars across the country commence. Now that’s power.

This is where I am massively disappointed with football. Although I will defend the game to the bitter end, this is an issue I really struggle with. Players holding clubs to ransom I find enormously unprofessional and saddening.

The final decision of a players transfer destination should of course rest with the player himself. However, a player should not dictate when a transfer happens. Attempting to force your way out of a club that has supported your livelihood, I find hugely disrespectful. Take for example, the ever controversial Luis Suarez.

What an appalling lack of respect shown by the Liverpool player. A player who has been supported, sometimes wrongly, by his club through thick and thin is now demanding a move away from the club he deems lower than himself. A shameful lack of respect. Luis Suarez is an exceptional talent, but I refuse to believe that Liverpool fans aren’t ashamed of some of his actions. The Uruguay forward has repeatedly made it clear that he wants to leave – stating that he needs to escape the English press that are damaging his and his families life. My heart bleeds for you Luis, well it might do, had it not been for a sudden charge of heart as he attempts to engineer a move to Arsenal – in the countries capital; a press hot-spot.

Suarez and Rooney are both on astronomical wages and are both openly saying they want to leave. If this was any other job, they would have probably been told where to go.

I'm a Footballer... Get Me Out of Here! Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney

I’m a Footballer… Get Me Out of Here! Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney

As a fan I find it very hard to deal with when a player actively pushes their way out their employers door. Very often, the reason for this is money. Although the player would have you believe they ‘need a new challenge’ or it’s for ‘personal, family reasons’, I find this very difficult to believe.

Some players will have a clause in their contract that maybe allows them to leave should a Champions League team bid for them, or one that allows them to leave on a free should the team become relegated. This is sometime a deal breaker for the player. However it is not always the players themselves that put these demands directly on the club.

Some players might not understand contract negotiations entirely, other might not be confident with numbers.

This is when, the agent comes in… The agent. A top businessman? A friend and advisor? A greedy money grabber? The line between the three is often one which is very blurred. Ask any top flight footballer and I’m sure he will agree.

The chief role of an agent is to negotiate playing contracts, some however go above and beyond, obtaining commercial sponsorships, buying property, and suggesting what a player should do next in his career. The power of an agent is one that can become very scary.

Some agents are better known than others, some a well known to be very shrewd in the financial market. Open a newspapers football gossip column and you will find the name Jorge Mendes at some point in the transfer window, whilst Israeli Pini Zahavi is probably a more recognisable name in the papers than half the Israel national playing squad.

Players will often seek new agents, who will help to represent said player and ensure they conclude a deal to a new club. Very often this will result in the agent generating thousands themselves maybe even millions just for concluding a single deal. It is no wonder then, that agents show no conscience of how damaging their behaviour, the actions of the player or the deal itself could be to the club.

A proposed idea has been that an agent should represent an entire clubs playing staff, thus resulting in equal treatment. This is an idea that would help to banish players holding their parent club to ransom, as the agent wants to represent the club in the most positive way. It is an idea, however, that is likely to be rejected by both agents and player. I would think the reasons for this would again be money driven.

A player, even if he likes a club, wants to feel that he is getting paid his true worth and trusts his agent to negotiate on his behalf. Having an employee of the club tell the player what he is worth is probably not going to appeal quite as much.

There is clearly a role for the agent in modern-day football transfers, but again, it is the actions and the ethics of a select few which seem to cause the most strife. Rumours planted purposefully to generate interest or pressure a club into selling, or offering higher wages, are now commonplace, though no more agreeable.

There is a firm grasp of control over player transfers. It is not the grasp of a player, and agent or a club however. It is the firm grasp of the modern world, money. Nearly all controversial issues and conflicts during the transfer window are money orientated.

The next two months will provide many more indications of just how complex the nature of transfers are in world football, with deals dragging on for days or weeks before a successful conclusion.

For supporters, the only thing that matters is the squad lists at the end of the window. For clubs, players and agents alike, an awful lot of telephone calls, meetings and skilled negotiations have to go into each deal just to make a move happen.

It’s a balancing act, one which shifts on a window-to-window basis with each potential transfer, and one which isn’t going away anytime soon.

Post written by Shaun Rowley
Blog: thehalftimeorange.blogspot.co.uk, Twitter: @HalfTimeOrange_

Image Credits
Transfer Deadline Day Sky Sports News Studio © Tim Anderson

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