La Liga stars who could be leaving their clubs in January: Eric Abidal, Ricardo Costa, Kaka, Nilmar, Mesut Ozil, Roberto Soldado…
— The Beautiful Game (@iWorldCup) December 27, 2011
Manchester City announced a $193,000,000 loss in the most recent papers, and it hasn’t been much better over the years before. However, they are busy as usual in the transfer market. While they have a valid problem with Carlos Tevez, there are many other cases one has to wonder what these people at City are thinking when it comes to transfer business. Jerome Boateng, Manuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy, Wayne Bridge and a few others currently experiencing what can happen when the business side of a club is unable to take a look over the edge of the plate.
Jerome Boateng, not wanted by City is after one year, ready to move to Munich. Bayern is ready to pay a decent fee, but has no intention to pay City’s “moon prices”. Boateng was a bad move for City, and so was City for Boateng, and the club needs to close the book on this. Asking for an astronomical price doesn’t help here. The treatment of this case doesn’t really reflect very well on City. Other clubs are already fed up with City as Munich’s Rummenigge made the comment: “Seems they want to have 48 players on their roster, while only 25 are allowed”. Much less does the treatment of the other players reflect well. These are all guys that over the past years put the club where it is right now. One would think there could be a little more “giving” from the club. To leave the players hanging while making it clear without saying that they are not wanted and put a price tag on them that no one is willing to pay, doesn’t show a lot of ability, but much rather a big dose of incompetence.
Manchester City has a lot of people on the roster that really give a penny for the club. The reason for that is the way how people are treated. Beside of those that have to leave, or stay while cashing in millions if the club doesn’t get its act together, there are a few others that were quite annoyed during the last season. Milner comes to mind as well as Deco and one or two others. Roberto Mancini and his helpers in the business suite must clearly lack people management and business management skills. Here is what is going to happen, if nothing changes: The other European clubs will not like to make deals with City and will leave the “goods on the shelf” of City. The players that are on the shopping list in the coming years, will not make a move, because their risk is too high. Yeah, it is good to cash in big time, but only if you can make some decent money after leaving City as well. Being a starter for one year on a four year contract and sitting the rest out, can cost you millions afterwards. Not a good deal. Players will no longer sign up for this nonsense.
As far as the next season goes, having all these guys running around in the reserve and delivering them weekly paychecks of $175,000 a week for nothing, like in Adebayor’s case, cannot be called sense of business. In addition, having Tevez on the roster in the next season will not be a lot of joy. The guy wants to leave quickly and won’t be in a good mood. A $80,000,000 price tag might not help in solving this problem. Admitted, Tevez is a different case and should not just let go for change. Some other superstars, in their own mind, won’t be pleased as well, with sitting on the bench. City will have a lot of small battlefields that can and will ruin the entire 2011/12 campaign.
Miss management is a common thing in clubs that didn’t grow into their role of being a leader, but were pushed into it by a flood of money from the outside. It wouldn’t be the first time that such an experiment is failing. There is this old saying in between soccer cracks: “If you want to p.. with the big dogs, you must be able to lift your leg”. Way to go, Manchester City.
Schalke 04 and Bayern Munich currently negotiate the conditions for Manuel Neuer’s transfer from Schalke to Munich. What comes to the surface is a ridiculous circus created by the “want-to-be-someone” officials from Schalke. The facts are on hand, Neuer has one more year contract with Schalke and with that this year is the last chance to cash in some major money. Bayern Munich offered $25 million and Schalke declined. Bayern Munich, in a second offer, expressed willingness to pay $29 million plus another $5.5 million should they win a title with Neuer. Schalke’s comment: “Now we have a normal conversation”.
Bayern has in the meantime extended the contract of Hans-Joerg Butt, Bayern’s current number one. In other words, while they would like to have Neuer, and Neuer would love to transfer to Munich, Bayern would not really need him. In theory, Bayern and Neuer could wait it out for a year. Neuer stays in Schalke, and they (Schalke) “look into the blue moon” comes next year when the contract is up.
For Schalke to say “now we have a conversation” is quite ridiculous, they can’t afford it, not on the money side and not with other credit, especially not with the escapades to their name. Bayern has already announced that they are not willing to pay a “moon price” and negotiations could end any time. In that case, Schalke would continue with Neuer, try to get a result in the next season, and then wrap Neuer up and send him to Munich as a gift. Almost $35 million would flow down the river. Schalke, while making some good money in the Champions League, is broke and in need of every single penny they can get. Major other income sources are not in sight and some adjustments to the roster are necessary in order to play for a Champions League seat in the 2012/13 season.
Schalke’s attitude might be considered as clever negotiations by some, however, the truth is this is a circus they can’t afford. Besides that, having to sell a player like Manuel Neuer is a homerun that can be accomplished by a first grader. There is no need to display “big gun power” when there is nothing than wet powder. This deal is not to demonstrate negotiation abilities, it is a deal to earn a lot of credit in business and soccer, not necessarily with an immediate dollar sign, but with lots of potential down the road.
Bayern Munich is a club with an outstanding record, not only in soccer and in the business world, but also on the human side, if that is still of any value for the business minded. Bayern wants Neuer and will pay what is necessary, and is somehow justifiable, not because Schalke is saying so, but because they will not leave Neuer hanging. Those that remember the van Bommel deal from last January, will understand what I mean. One of the things they have to learn in Schalke, and in other clubs, sometime you leave a few bucks on the table as an investment in other deals that will come up down the road. It is one of the reasons why Bayern is Bayern, or “Mia san mia” (we are who we are) as they say.
59 million Euro and still no goal for Chelsea. While in Liverpool the supporters can’t hide their smiling faces, Chelsea fans and officials are wondering what is going on with Fernando Torres. Coming from Liverpool in January, he hasn’t scored in 11 games. Roman Abramovich’s face is getting longer and longer as the season goes on. Carlo Ancelotti even “admitted” a mistake in bringing Torres from the beginning in Chelsea’s Champions League game against Manchester United.
So, what is going on? Torres can’t play anymore? He lost his ability to play soccer? As it always is when players, coaches or teams are in crisis, there is quite a number of people who knew that (in this case) Torres is not as good as the press made him. Looking at his game at this time, if you wouldn’t know better, it almost looks like it. However, in my opinion, Torres is still a world class player. Yes, he is completely out of his game, nothing works. There are quite a few reasons for that. Some easy to understand, other’s need a little understanding and experience of the subject.
Let’s go back to the Euro 2008. Torres just made Spain European Champ with his goal against Germany in the final. He came back from the Euro 2008 and had a good season in Liverpool with awesome games, against Manchester United in March of 2009 for example. At one point, he caught an injury and Liverpool, including coach Benitez, a crisis. As it often is the case, Torres is not the first player that faces a problem to find form after injury and other issues, the dynamics take over and the entire “run” comes to a stop and all of the sudden nothing works. The pressure is increasing and one thing comes to the other and the problems mount. In between is the world cup, where Torres got injured again. While, like every other player, he was happy the world cup and the long (unsuccessful) season was over and he could rest, the new injury just put him back again. Injured, only a short break after the world cup, no real good preparation for the new season and a lot of pressure in Liverpool to do better than a year before. It didn’t look promising.
Playing Europa League wasn’t good enough for anyone at Anfield Road. Pressure, injury, only a short break after world cup and a team that is actually not a top class Premier League team is a recipe for disaster in an environment like Liverpool. By the way, Torres is not the only one that is suffering from loss of performance. As the best example you can use Bayern Munich and a few players of that team, including Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery.
To keep your cool in a situation like that is difficult. You want to perform, you can perform, but everything seems to be against the team and the player. Liverpool wasn’t able to stay in touch with the top five in order to play for Champions League glory in the next season. Torres, and a few others became nervous. While “the others” didn’t have offers, Torres had one, Chelsea! Was it the right thing to do? In my eyes not. It wasn’t good for both, club (Chelsea) and player. The only one that made good in that deal was Liverpool. With that, I want to bring your attention to my blog post from early January, “Liverpool and the p…”! In that post I talked about luck in soccer and that sometimes luck comes back for some incredible reason. In this case, Torres leaving the club served as a turning point for Liverpool. Deep inside, this freed the team and club of pressure and somehow things that already started to get better with Kenny Dalglish, turned the curve for good. Personally, I was hoping it would have been something else and it would have turned out good for both, Torres and Liverpool. I think he had a good platform at Anfield Road. All it took was the turn of the tide, somehow.
If you can blame Torres for anything, it is the bad advice he took. If he acted on his own, he made a wrong decision. This, however, can be made up very quick. Soccer is a fast pace business, what happened yesterday is worth nothing tomorrow. Liverpool is already out of the woods, Torres will score goals again, I am sure of that, and Chelsea will play Champions league again next year. If that is enough for the “ownership” of Chelsea, is a different story. There could be the next storm coming up for Fernando Torres. Back in January, I gave Liverpool the advice to stay cool and have a beer, the tide will turn. Now I am giving Torres advice: Forget about yourself for the rest of the season, rest mentally and just support the team. Try to shift your focus on something else. Go to the coach and ask him to only bring you after 60 minutes and start with the others until you get your game back. Your game is scoring goals, and once you hit again, many more will follow. Until then, you need to get out of the firing line. Small example, Wayne Rooney and his crisis after some “private matters” earlier this season.
Transfer time is over. Thank God!
First things first, I was wrong! In my last contribution to this blog I stated that the Torres transfer will not happen. Well, wrong. Nobody knows everything, not even me. With that said, I am not really sad about the fact that I was wrong. This transfer is completely insane and I claim I have common sense. Therefore, I couldn’t see this kind of waste coming. I learned.
$80,000,000.00, look at all the zero’s, for Torres? Yes, he is not a bad player and a couple of years ago he was really good. But that was before and right after the Euro 2008. For a year and a half he surely didn’t demonstrate a “value” of that magnitude. That’s one thing, and, yes, I admit, he was injured for a while. The other is, I didn’t see Chelsea being short of a striker at this time. Looking at the roster, there are quite some capable guys around. This is one of the things I have a hard time to understand, you have good players and you replace a good one with one that is not better or not even that good, just to spend money. ManCity had a few of those buys as well. For example, Dzeko is coming for $40,000,000.00 and Adebayor goes on loan to Real Madrid, where he scored today. What I am saying is this, don’t spend so much money for stuff you actually don’t need. In personal finance such leads to being broke at one point. And here we are at another point one should not underestimate: In times like this, recession and all, you might not set the right tone, especially when you a few hours before the deal was announced declare you made a $70,000,000 loss. Afterall, you also have a “public relations point of view” to handle. Even if I would wear a “blue cap”, I am not sure I would be really happy about this Torres deal.
The games today showed some interesting results. Not so much on top of the table, were the 4 of the top 5 won their games and kept themselves in the race for glory, but the results from 6 to 20 displayed interesting outcomes. West Ham won in Blackpool and made ground up, while Blackpool now all of the sudden changed the status from survivor to want-to-survivor. The same can be said about West Brom that just managed a tie against Wigan. The theory with “having a game on hand and that is a good thing” can turn quickly into a liability when the pressure is increasing as the “circus” moves into the last third of the competition. What three game days ago looked like same points, but a game on hand, turns now into a must win. Everyone from 15 to 20 will agree with that, I am sure. I am under the impression that some of those you wouldn’t think about today will face some trouble over the coming weeks. This counts for Newcastle, Blackpool, Stoke, West Brom and Birmingham. Lose a home game and you are in the middle of it.
A word about ManCity, only a tie in Birmingham. Not enough, in my opinion. 13 games left and if they want to win the title, they can’t leave any points on the table anymore. Sounds like a tall order.
Winter-Transfers and other problems
The last few weeks have produced some interesting transfers, not only in the Premier League, but also across Europe. Adebayor to Real, Dzeko to ManCity and a few others still pending to happen before Monday 11:00PM. Of those that are still pending, the “Torres deal” is probably the most interesting. I am wondering, Liverpool needs some “upgrade” of the squad, no doubt. But why would you just buy a striker and in the same move sell your “biggest caliber”? Selling Torres wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever. Think of it, Liverpool is still in for 5th place and with that some European money, and that is what they need. An exchange, Suarez for Torres, would not be anything more, an exchange not an improvement. Besides that, Suarez would do better from coming behind Torres rather than taking the place on top. My tip, the Torres deal is not happening.
ManCity and the money
Let’s take a look at ManCity and their staffing strategy and business tactics. They spent quite some money in the past. Sometimes, one is wondering about the plan behind it. $40 million for Edin Dzeko from Wolfsburg. That’s a lot of money. Was it a necessary transfer? Well, that can be debated. In my opinion, it was not. There were 4 players to fit the position: Adebayor, Balotelli, Jo and Tevez. Considering the system played, 4 guys for one job. With that kind of guns already available, you don’t spend $40 million. That looks like “I just want to have it”. Now with Adebayor gone to Real Madrid (on loan, still paid by City) and Dzeko in, there are still 4 guys for that one spot. As a coach, while it is nice to have such choices, there is a lot of unrest cooking up. Looking at this from the business side, it is not making a lot of sense either. Go and add up the spent money on the forward positions. I claim, they will never get that money back. Not to talk about making a profit in buying and selling.
After today it appears that in Spain the cake is eaten. Madrid lost in Osasuna and now Barca is sitting on a 7 point advantage. That means they need to lose twice and draw another one while Real has to win every game. Not happening!
They just got Adebayor on loan from ManCity in order to improve fire power and possibly win their games a little easier. After today’s loss, what’s left of this deal? Adebayor will not be able to play in the Champions League and the league title is further away than ever. All that’s left is the Copa Del Rey, which they can still snap from Barca. Well, it might be worth the loan fee.