The transfer saga is here to stay
A big trend in the transfer windows of the last few years has been the ‘saga’.
This summer we have Bale, Suarez and Rooney, Lamela, Willian and the list goes on… In years gone by the names Fabregas, Van Persie, Ashley Cole and Modric have all been the main characters. But while the names and clubs may change the story remains the same.
With clubs ever more desperate for success higher and with fans begging clubs to spend the TV money to achieve it, the ‘saga’ is worse than ever.
As strange as it may sound, transfers in football are rarely simple and rarely actually planned.
Opportunism is a key driver, unless you have a director of football and manager working together to a single vision. Indeed, it’s not a coincidence that Spurs and Manchester City, who operate under this kind of structure, have already done business this summer in a manner which seems more planned – something that certainly wasn’t always the case for either club.
The role the media plays in transfers is both overplayed and underplayed. I know of cases where media stories have informed clubs about contracts and availability.
While some players have briefed newspapers themselves Bale and Rooney have all done their talking via others. Suarez has in fact done both, ironically using the very industry he cited (Has Uruguayan radio ever had a hotter summer in the UK?) as his reason to leave Liverpool as the tool to engineer his move.
But who is the puppet master of the saga? Is it the media? The agent, player or the clubs? Each though it pulling on the strings.
The media certainly has an interest in keeping the narrative going, which means clicks to their websites (no one buys newspapers anymore, do they?) which means more cash for them from advertisers.
The agent and player, if they let a saga roll on, can provoke a move and a cash payment or a new contract. Or sometimes just enjoy the benefits of a newly boosted media profile.
And lastly the clubs. While the selling club generally don’t want to be part of the saga, unless they are acting the damsel in distress, the buying clubs need it to continue because every backpage headline unsettles the selling club making it tougher for them to play hardball (see Real Madrid for case examples every year…)
One thing is for sure, the saga is here to stay. It’s not going to get prettier, it’s not going to get shorter, but it is going to get a hell of a lot more tedious.
- Tottenham Hotspur: Bale on brink as he misses Spurs training (clubcall.com)