50 Sheikhs of Greed

THERE is this beautiful young girl. She wants the best out of life. She wants the best things in life. So what does she do? She attaches herself to a wealthy man. Diamonds, shoes, clothes, exotic holidays and expensive perfumes are the order of the day. Life could not be better. She is set for life.

However, what would happen when her sugar daddy inevitably grows bored of her presence?

Kicked to the curb, the young stunner is now forced to move on, with choices to make. Either she can be stubborn and continue to look for life’s bling, or she can come to the realisation that money is not everything and substance is the most important aspect of any relationship.

Now you may be wondering what this piece is doing featured on a football website? Well, the current game – like it or not, has made pretty young girls out of our footballers.

Clubs run by mega rich owners clearly have more money than sense. Manchester City are the prime example of such a club. Emmanuel Adebayor is the perfect example of our young, hopeful woman from above.

Adebayor’s move to the Citizens from Arsenal in 2009 was met with mixed feelings from the football fraternity. Many were split as to whether his move was purely based on money or whether he truly felt success was achievable. Of course the large majority labelled him as a money-grabber – and he probably was, but who would turn down the chance to earn a massive salary while also having a proper chance at success?

It didn’t quite work out that way, though, and his stock quickly plummeted in the eyes of his rich club. A fantastic first season, where he scored 14 goals in 26 league games, was followed by loan moves to Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur, as he was slowly frozen out at Eastlands.

Upon his return from Spurs, where he impressed with 17 league goals and 11 assists during the 2011/12 campaign, he was not met with the open arms he was hoping for at City. The White Hart Lane club were keen to snap up the 28-year-old on a permanent deal as a result, but a lot hinged on Adebayor’s life choice. Was he going to be stubborn and sit out his mega contract, or rather add that necessary continuity and substance to his stalling career?

Thankfully for the lanky striker, he decided to move on and join Tottenham.

It was not an easy process, however. Fights over pay-offs, a possible pay-cut, signing-on fees and contract lengths nearly scuppered the deal, but sense eclipsed greed in the end and now Adebayor has the chance to re-ignite his career at a club who will appreciate his talents for what they are realistically worth.

Sadly, Adebayor is not alone with regard to what he has experienced. The amount of money which is being thrown at players makes it difficult for them to move on in the future – especially for the clubs looking to flog them. Why should a player take a pay-cut when he believes his current salary is exactly what he is worth?

Adam Johnson recently left City for Sunderland and took a pay cut. Good on him. However, all players are not the same and there is going to come a time when a footballer would rather sit on his huge pay-packet than move on for the better of his career – to the detriment of the club. We have seen a similar scenario at Chelsea before, where Winston Bogarde traded first-team football at another team for a spell in the west London club’s reserves, purely because it was the only way he would continue to earn the wages the Blues had put into his contract. This was acceptable at Chelsea because they could afford it, but imagine this happened at a team like Everton, for example.

This is a nightmare scenario for any club, let alone those with big money, and it is eventually going to catch up with those in question. Situations like what we have seen with Portsmouth are likely to become more of a reality in the future if this continues. The money will run out eventually, or the sugar daddies will grow bored of their ‘projects’ and bugger off somewhere else. This is a harsh reality which could ruin the game we hold so dear.

UEFA’s FFP is supposed to counteract the massive spending we have seen of late, but whether European football’s governing body will have the balls to see it through, remains to be seen.

There are two sides to any transfer, but until players themselves are able to take off their cash-tinted glasses, the game is going to have an ugly side to it. It really should start with the clubs not being so willing to shell out whatever a player desires, but in a results-driven industry, that isn’t going to change any time soon.

So for now, we are just going to have to get used to the sugar daddies promising pretty young girls the best out of life, only for them to bring their worlds crashing down in front of them.

About Andrew Hallett

Andrew Hallett is a sports journalist who has written for Kick Off, Football365.co.za, TeamTalk.com, Soccer Week and worked as a correspondent for Sky Sports Radio during the 2010 World Cup. All views are his own.

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