Friday, October 23, 2020
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The latest football news from 90 Minutes Online

Kaka to Win-doh!

The burning issue of the day in the football world is the transfer window and the arrival of a certain Bible Bashing Brazilian, so I thought I would chime in with my two pence worth.

A lot of people who are pro-transfer window make statements like "a free for-all on transfers wouldn't work," and that it would be "a shambles". What a load of nonsense! 
 

 

So, pre-2002, football was in a state of perpetual chaos was it? No. The world still spun around and football was just fine. In fact, when talk of a window was first mooted in this country, people were incredulous.

 

If you're Rochdale and you unearth the next big thing then the reality of football is that you will soon lose him. Without a window, a bid will eventually come in and the player will go. Rochdale then have ample time to re-invest the cash to replace the player.   

 

With a window, you either get stuck with a player who gets increasingly disillusioned as the speculation about his future mounts during the inactive transfer months or you sell him, but are then forced to scramble around in the remaining time to try and secure a replacement.

It is argued that the window helps smaller clubs. Rubbish! If you are struggling financially, then it may be prudent to flog your star asset. If Rochdale look at the books in September and are a few hundred thousand short, then they have to wait four months before they can cash in on their next big thing - and if he suffers an injury or dramatically loses form in the interim, then they could face losing out all together.

As Tony Pulis mentioned the other week, the window is also problematic for those with smaller squads. A raft of injuries and suspensions hits the likes of Stoke hard, but they have no means of addressing these scenarios and are often unable to strengthen their squad at the time it is necessary.

What the window does do is distract from actual football. Rather than talking about what is going on the pitch, we are subjected to endless conjecture. The off-periods see unending transfer sagas grind slowly on, such as the daily pain that is the Ronaldo secret deal to Madrid, Ronaldo staying put, Ronaldo in talks with blah, blah, blah…  

The windows themselves are becoming more of a pantomime with each passing year. You have the theatrical countdown clock on Sky Sports News as an orgy of excitable reports build up to a crescendo as the deadline looms. What a soap opera the summer one was, with the last minute Man City take over and the hi-jacked Robinho move, the "screw job" drama of it was reminiscent of WWE wrestling. All you needed was Dimitar Berbatov to suddenly clobber Ferguson in the chops with a steel chair, then rip off his suit to reveal a Man City shirt before doing some Degeneration X crotch chops in David Gill’s face and the transformation would have been complete.

I'll make a prediction. Some time in the not too distant future, a player will contest his inability to move from one club to another outside the window. One February, a Drogba like figure will claim that they are depressed, shunned, frozen out and will demand a move. In this example, a team like Milan, loaded up to the gills in the wake of the Kaka transfer will make their intentions to sign the player clear. The hypothetical Drogba will have the time and money to hire top lawyers and challenge the legality of the window, arguing restraint of trade. There will be a landmark case and then, Bosman style, the player will win and the whole transfer window structure will come crashing down. You heard it here first.

This window has suddenly become dominated by the monstrous £108 million Man City move for Kaka. There is such a lot of fuss regarding how this transfer will destroy football and most of it, frankly, is a lot of tosh.

Sure, whichever figure is the correct one, the vast weekly wage Kaka looks set to accrue will be obscene, but what does it change? If the amount of wedge that Premier League stars earn is going to alienate you as a fan, you would have deserted the sport long ago. 
 

 

I remember the outcry when Fabrizio Ravanelli joined Middlesbrough in 1996 and was said to be getting £42,000 a week. "He must be going for the money, thats 50p a second" was the general complaint. I don't remember a sudden downturn in football’s popularity then and I don't expect it now.

Premier League stars may have ridiculous wage packets, but fame and fortune go hand in hand. Do you go to a movie, but then walk out in disgust because Tom Cruise got paid £20 million to film it? No, you walk out in disgust because its a Tom Cruise flick. Do people refuse to buy rap CDs because the money will contribute to the artists endless stream of bling and bitches ? We live in a society where celebrities operate in another world, a glamorous sphere that is celebrated by Heat magazine, MTV Cribs culture and sports stars getting huge wack is just an extension of that.

Another problem people have with the Sheiks throwing around all this wonga is that it will be "the death knell for smaller clubs" - another ridiculous claim. If Man City buy Bellamy & Santa Cruz, West Ham and Blackburn may then buy replacements from Wolves and Reading, who in turn get new players from Peterborough and Oldham etc. In a world facing a global financial crisis, this injection of oil money could filter down the leagues and be of a considerable benefit to a lot of clubs.

One thing is for sure and that is that if this transfer does come through, it is mind blowing to think of who Man City will be able to entice over the summer. I mentioned a few months ago that I had made several bets with friends that City would buy their way into the Big 4 by the end of the 2009/10 season. These friends naively argued that the wealth of Mark Hughes men would not help them attract top draw players and that the Big 4 would continue to reign supreme - but if Kaka jumps aboard the gravy train then it's full steam ahead for Man City in their quest to rule the elite.

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