A quiet weekend without internet access so what has changed? Not much really although there was strenuous exercise undertaken by Stephane Courbis, Emmanuel Adebayor’s agent, as he sought to dig himself out of the hole he has quickly put himself into. Arsenal have rebuffed Milan’s advances so Mr 20% has to switch faces and deal with the Arsenal Board and Arsene now to renegotiate his contract, having tried to extricate his client from the club.
It is a similar situation for Alex Hleb as reports emerge that Barcelona are becoming frustrated at Arsenal’s intransigence over the transfer fee, reputed to be £15m. It is a simple situation for the prospective buyers to resolve; most transfers these days involve incentives and bonuses – ensure that the base value of the fee is more than Arsenal paid and then add in a couple of million as structured. It is pleasing to be reading of the Board taking a hardline with the Catalans if true, a stance that they have not always taken in the past.
As with these matters, the players are getting some flack despite Adebayor protesting his loyalty and his desire to remain in London. Hleb meanwhile has let it be known that he is unhappy in the capital and despite the sensible solution for him to move out of the city to suburbia, he appears to want out of the country.
The pressure exerted via clubs to unsettle players comes predominantly through media outlets. There will be carefully chosen words in a journalists microphone combined with misquoted interviews from the player themselves, translations so loose that if they were trousers, the wearer would be arrested for indecent exposure as said clothing ended up around their ankles.
That it is agents who will in the main be the ones to speak of such a move is little surprise. They are wheeler-dealers looking for a sizeable commission on any transfer so fluidity of the workforce is in their best interests. The sums of money that are talked of in signing-on fees turns heads as does image rights which earn commissions also, more readily than salaries.
It also gives the players what Hollywood likes to call ‘plausible deniability’ in its movie parlance. They can, if they so choose, distance themselves from such utterances either directly (Adebayor) or with statements of indecision (Hleb). The latter is fraught with dangers as a route of denial for other interviews tend to catch them out. Even so, the loyalty route is not an easy path for in the minds of some, the agent / player are one in the same in these situations. Opinions are easily formed with cheap words and hard to change.
And yet the players do not keep their representatives in check. Had Adebayor told his agent not to make any more public utterances, the credibility of the story diminishes but apparently this has not happened in either of the examples cited above.
The 2008-09 fixtures were released yesterday and will be unrecognisable once the various TV companies have got their grubby mits over them. With the clashes against teams believed to be the closest rivals pegged at the end of the both halves of the season, there is plenty of time to build up a winning momentum going into those matches. The flip side of that is the lack of opportunities to rectify bad results in the top four clashes. Perhaps Tomas Rosicky might be fit for those matches in May 2009 because he does not seem to think that he will be fit for the visit of West Bromwich Albion to The Emirates in August.
Rumours abound that Robin van Persie is Internazionale-bound although The Telegraph contradicts itself inside two paragraphs as per normal which undermines the little credibility that the story has. Equally rumours of a £15m bid for Daniel Parejo whom Arsene expressed an interest in last summer stretch credulity. Arsene is also reportedly after Raul Albiol of Valencia – amazing what an hour on the pitch at Euro 2008 does for a players desireability.
The winners of the Kenny Sansom books will be announced later this week.