Jack Grealish, Raphael Varane, Harry Kane

HOW FOOTBALL FINANCES HIT BY COVID STARTED THE ERA OF PLAYER EMPOWERMENT REGARDING TRANSFERS

This year’s transfer window has already seen some heavyweight players change colours. Club captains, upcoming young talents, exciting teenagers and established pros have all made moves in Europe. With a month of transfers still on the horizon, there is no doubt that more news is in the offing.

On that note, one of the main talking points of this summer has been and their potential buys. The Cityzens are looking to bring in two of the best English assets in the game right now in Tottenham’s and Aston Villa’s .

 

Though Spurs have steadfastly maintained that their captain is not for sale, the Villains have already offered Grealish a new long-term contract. Whether he signs it or not is a different matter which needs addressing in these pandemic-induced times.

 

CONTROL OVER FUTURE

The coronavirus pandemic has made players wary of their next club in terms of movement. Gone are the days when they would be looking for one club stability by signing long-term deals. Spurs’ reluctance in not wanting to let go of Kane is rooted in the knowledge that their best player cannot leave at this critical juncture. He has a contract running till 2023 but it does not look like he will sign a new one right now.

 

That can be the same case with Grealish. City have offered 100 million for the playmaker while Villa’s new contract is still on the table. It will be hard for him to overlook the mammoth fee which almost guarantees a shot at silverware. Both the players know that they have significant leverage when it comes to demanding a transfer due to their stature. The allure of flexibility in movement and knowing your worth in today’s market has led to such deals becoming a regularity.

 

Gini Wijnaldum was able to get a five-year contract with PSG having felt neglected by fans of his previous club, Liverpool, and hurt at the club’s offer of a contract that failed to meet his demands. , captain of Real Madrid and a serial winner, joined the Parisians on a free transfer rejecting Los Blancos’ deal which did not convince him that they wanted him.

 

Furthermore, it now seems like that the tradition of players signing a multiple year deal before being sent out on loan by the parent club has also come to an end. The most glaring example in this regard is Chelsea. The Blues have lost some promising names this year, players who did not want to keep on playing on a loan basis.

 

Marc Guehi, Fikayo Tomori, and others have signed on a permanent basis elsewhere to get regular playing time. However, it is not just in England where this is happening. Donyell Malen and Brian Brobbey, aged 22 and 19 years respectively, left their homeland clubs to join the Bundesliga. Brobbey, in particular, is moving to RB Leipzig after just one year of top-flight football with Ajax which goes to show how much self-belief the players have in themselves.

 

TREND SET TO CONTINUE

This trend of wanting to have more control over which club they play for next is something that is set to continue. The contract saga surrounding the futures of Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe is another tantalizing drama to keep an eye on. Both the players will become free agents next summer as things stand, holding the keys to their future entirely.

 

Pogba is rumoured to be coveted by PSG this year with Manchester United’s hopes of holding onto him fading quickly. Meanwhile, Mbappe has been forever linked with Real Madrid and speculation over whether a move materialises will continue till his future gets sorted out. No matter what they decide to be their next destination, it is more than likely that their current clubs will have a hard time convincing them to sign another deal. This phenomenon has been accelerated by COVID as buying clubs no longer have the funds to keep spending on lavish transfer fees. Players signing shorter contracts to keep their options open and leave on free transfers as they see fit might become a new trend.

 

One thing that needs to be understood amongst all of this is that what is being witnessed among all these deals is different from a yesteryear’s’ glamour associated with top clubs. Players now want moves to teams which have more than just a chance of winning. A fantastic example in this regard is Gianluigi Donnarumma. The Italian goalkeeper had shown interest in Juventus after leaving AC Milan before eventually linking up with PSG.

 

Given how the Serie A’s competition has gotten stronger while PSG have been having a superb transfer window, this decision feels like a no-brainer in terms of winning silverware. Additionally, along with the French club, , who signed upcoming talent Dayot Upamecano to reunite with Julian Nagelsmann, and Barcelona are almost certain to win trophies every year.

The Blaugrana, despite all of their financial woes, managed to snap up two established goalscorers and a promising defender. History and tradition often have no place for sentiments at this time, especially when players on a free or with age on their side are in high demand. However, in all of this the most underlying truth remains that form is playing a crucial role when it comes to potential suitors.

 

Players past their prime or having lost their abilities over the past couple of seasons are finding it hard to change clubs in order to get more gametime. There has been no better time than now to take control of the transfers and it does seem like that will become the norm as the years go by.

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