Sunday, 31 August 2014

A Rogue Transfer System Made By FIFA & UEFA

Manchester United's £60 million purchase of Angel di Maria from Real Madrid might serve to trigger the blow back that forces football Authorities to admit the inconvenient truth: the transfer market is over heating, with outlandish player valuations making a mockery of the theories and norms that underpin the transfer system.

Eleven of the biggest transfer fees ever paid, have taken place in the last five years.That underlines the fact that FIFA's creation of the transfer window has broken the system. Imposing time-lines on such trading, basic economics tells us, inevitably leads to artificial scarcity, that generates a spike in prices for players, who are in this case, de  facto commodities.
It's the simple maxim of too much money, chasing too few ( available ) commodities. If you widen the time frame for such transactions to take place, and maybe limiting it at the climax of the season (for example April and May) you then give clubs more than enough time to make assessments,  and do business without the panic of deadlines. Now, Clubs fear if they lose a player, there might not be enough time to get a replacement; so they over-value the asset they have to part with, in order to mitigate a potentially unfavourable circumstance.
The UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulation is another one of them flawed ideas. The theme is supposedly to make clubs live within their means. If not, get fined or banned from UEFA competition for spending more than they earned.
How can  UEFA contrive the same rule for all the clubs in Europe, when Clubs are formed and run distinctly, from country to country!
Why not allow national associations deal with such regulations, rather than overly centralising checks and control. If Clubs are made de facto legal entities,  whether owned by one person, a group, or share holders, in theory, the dynamics of capitalism would cleanse the system. Clubs that rack-up unaffordable debt would go bust, and out of business; or an investor may choose to buy the club, and pay the debt. Ken Bates bought Chelsea for a nominal fee of £1.00, and ended up selling to Roman Abramovich for a healthy profit. UEFA's puppeteers did not have to get involved. 
The likes of Chelsea, PSG, and Monaco, would find loopholes to get round UEFA's rules, or worse still, the  assets (players) they hold get sold for disproportionate sums, in order to buy, then balance the books, Much like Chelsea sold Brazilian defender David Luis for £50 million to PSG; and Belgian Striker Romelu Lukaku for £28 million to Everton to fund the purchase of Diego Costa, Felipe Luis, and Cesc Fabrigas
The likes of Real Madrid have also got in on the act. After paying the exaggerated price of £63 Million for the world cup's top scorer James Rodriguez, to part off-set their outlay, they sold Angel di Maria for £60 million to Man United. Just like they did last season, selling Mezut Ozil for £42 Million to Arsenal to allay the £86 million, world record transfer fee for Welsh star, Garreth Bale. To stay within the rules, Clubs are resorting chicanery and maximalist bargaining ploys. It's a clear indication of how these ill-conceived regulations by football authorities, has sent player valuation and transfer fees spiralling, artificially. Free up the market, and you put this rogue business back in line.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Celebrates with Gareth Bale
Silly Market regulations tend to conjure unintended consequences, as proven by the number of times the transfer record has been broken since the transfer window came into effect eleven years ago.
Trying to control how much Clubs spend is an exercise in futility. Clubs only resort to gamesmanship, authenticity dies as a result. Allow Clubs spend what they want to spend, and let the market sort itself out. Demand and supply are interdependent variables, and sustain themselves
FIFA and UEFA have unleashed a synergy policies that is harming foot ball. The game is getting heavily monitised, and frivolous. Clubs at the bottom of the rungs who are disconnected from the gravy train will suffer more, because everyone is looking for a star player. Who goes to the lower leagues to check on players? aren't Clubs in that bracket being undermined and isolated by all of this fixation on bigger names? Who remembers the practice of going down a division to scout for  emerging talent, who will join to Club to play as an understudy, waiting patiently till he gets his chance. Wasn't that much cheaper ?
To the ordinary fan, big prize tags for players, equates talent. He or she is duped into believing paying more to see games on commercial TV, or as a season ticket-holder, is a quid pro quo for enhanced value of entertainment. Fans have become restless, frustrated, and acerbic, when their team fails to buy "expensive talent". Our pundits and commentators who shape opinion, spout away regularly that only when you buy players like PSG and Real Madrid do can you be counted as serious contenders, further exacerbating the negative trend of events in the transfer market.
The game is being irreparably harmed if the current state of affairs continues.  Blame it on the interventionist policies, morons at the European Commission, FIFA, and UEFA put in place, that Joe Bloggs has a £30 Million price tag! You and I know he is not worth that much!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Jack Wilshere: Time For a Rebound

It would be fair to say the door opened for Paul Scholes to become a regular soccer pundit, when the  ex Manchester united, and England Midfield maestro, made a guest appearance on SKYSPORTS to cover an Arsenal game some time last spring. In his post match analysis, he observed Arsenal's midfielders to be irresponsible; played "tippy-tappy", inferring a lack of end product to their play.
Notably, he mooted the idea Jack Wilshere's performances had plateaued after a bright start to his career. It was perhaps a  breath taking  indictment, framed in stinging, nonchalant fashion. The media never miss the opportunity to hire blunt, and direct characters.

Scholes' critique of young Jack Wilshere has however, aroused
 wider scrutiny of the England International's performances, with suggestions he did not do enough to merit a place in England's World cup squad. It was only at the beginning of 2013, when England took on Brazil in a friendly at Wembley, when the Left footed Arsenal midfielder produced a dazzling midfield display that left many commentators purring.

Confident: Jack Wilshere believes Arsenal's comeback against Everton will inspire them against Besiktas

It's happened to have gone rather flat since then, and the adulation has turned to groans and frustrations, with another notable ex England international, Jamie Carragher calling on the Arsenal number 10 to start producing more in games.
There's no doubt Jack Wilshere is on a hiding to nothing from here on. With Steven Gerrard  and Frank Lampard now retired from the England set-up, and England seemingly lacking many credible, top-notch midfielders, the jury is out on the  22 year old. Can he make the next grade ?It's make or break time!
The pertinent issue to the debate should be framed: why is Jack Wilshere seemingly treading water? why has he not gone on to be a stand out player many believe his talent deserves?
For starters, his off-field indiscretions has fed into the narrative of a player losing focus. But there are also a number of mitigating factors: Paramount of the bunch has been injuries. After missing the whole of 2011/12 season, he has yet to play an injury free season yet..... 
When he burst on the scene, he seemed to possess the requisite strength, speed, and guile to go past opponents . Essentially, that acceleration and robustness in his game have gone missing; and that seems a direct consequence of a succession of ankle injuries.
Whilst his Managers at Arsenal and England have remained steadfast and believing in Wilshere's qualities, it won't be out of place to lay some of the blame at his Club manager, Arsene Wenger's door steps, as to why Jack Wilshere's performances have lost traction.
The lad is not going from strength to strength because the manger has not made him go back to basics. He needs to be told to smarten-up his midfield play. Wilshere persists in making the same fundamental mistakes like running into traffic when a simple pass will do; he has played too often  in sterile fashion, hardly making  goal scoring chances for team mates; neither has his passing range and vision been anything to write home about lately. Simply put, he is not at the cutting edge of midfield play. 
Injuries or not, Wilshere's understanding of the finer technical and tactical aspects of a midfielder can be called to question at this point, and the person who sets up the tactical frame work on a day-to-day bases at Club level, is Arsene Wenger.
The level of frustration will grow if he does not get back in the groove sooner. Jack needs to learn beating his man is not a prerequisite for a midfielder, but a supplementary quality.  He needs vision, and control of the game, offensively and defensively. He must learn to be a 12 -15 goal assist sort of player. These are the stats that matter. And the bases for that needs to be worked on  by his Club coach.
It's too early to start comparing Jack Wilshere to anyone, but he has smashing potential. He is supposed to represent the  breed of modern midfielders. However, he still is only 22, and we should not sling too much on his shoulders. Suffice to say, it would be a delight to see some vital signs of progress in aspects of his game, begin to emerge. Don't you think so Mr. Wenger ?
Let's hope first he has an injury free run  this season  for starters!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Throwing Money At Manchester United's Issues

Manchester United's home loss to Swansea on the opening day of the season underscores just how many commentators continue to misdiagnose current issues at one of the World's most famous Club sides.

Immediately after Loius van Gaal was appointed, commentators went into a frenzy about how the Dutch trainer would not tolerate egos in the dressing room; and how players would have to work extra hard. Then during the recently concluded FIFA World cup, as Holland Coach, he switched to a 3-5-2 formation, blitzed Spain 5-1 in their opening group game, and took the Oranje to the semi-finals. That seemed  to set the seal on his universal approval as the right man to restore the glory days at Old Trafford

Amid the cacophony of adulation, Brendan Rogers was right to caution that the Premier League is a tough one, and the lesser teams do not roll over that easily. Yes, the same rabble rousers who made Jose Mourinho's Chelsea champions last season, even before a ball was kicked.

The Paul Scholes-Alan Shearer School of Thought infer United need to go out and make expensive signings. Implicit in their theory is that Man United lack quality in certain areas, and like some pre-fabricated construct, all that is required is to get a customised accessories, and all will be well and good again for the Red Devils.

I reckon everyone knew Alex Fergusson to be a phenomenon, but also quickly forgot after he retired, that the level of success he created at United was an aberration. The dynamic he had set in place was going to be an albatross around the neck of his successor.

More to the point, it took time for Alex Fergusson to wake up the sleeping giant United were when he joined. At the time of his abrupt departure, many of the stalwarts of the team had reached the sunset of their career. Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic,  Nani, Anderson. The team was effectively in need of redefinition in Fergie's last season.

In the past, the Legend, Alex Fergusson could rebuild, no problem. He had been there long enough. He had authority, respect, charisma, successes, and the fans on his side. So much so, he could pull a rabbit out of a hat. He had created a fibre, an ethos, and a dynamic that weaved all the congruent parts into what they needed to be. United were a well oiled machine.

Folks must stop kidding themselves into thinking Manchester United's problems is a lack of big names. United's issues is one linked to transition and rebuilding. The absence of the man who had over seen such milestones for 25 years cannot be taken for granted

It would take time. How much time? no one knows. Louis van Gaal is an experienced manager, and an ideologue.  I am sure he realises he has to build a team, hone it tactically, create an ambience, and this takes some time. Building a team is a science. A number of variables need to interact to arrive at a state.

I must say I am surprised at the likes of Paul Scholes; formerly reticent, now transforming himself into a media pit-bull. I read his column a couple of week ago in which he was quite disparaging of  Young Players. Insinuating there is not enough English talent coming through, because Youngsters get paid a lot too early. 

It's that worn-out argument that money makes Young players lose focus. Scholes and his ilk should return pitch side, take-up the job coaching the youngsters at Club or National level, and create paradigms, rather posturing in the media. Only then can I take their opinions seriously. Talk is cheap!!!  

Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal have all managed to advance their squads from last season, while United try to find their feet. If LVG can nick a Champions League place, or win a cup competition in this transition season, he would have done marvellously well. There are no magic wands in football.