We live in strange times in the football world. Elite in Italy, Spain and other countries are facing difficult financial times. It’s a combination of the ‘Covid effect’, and years of bad management. In FC Barcelona we see it in an extreme way, as we needed to lose Leo Messi last summer. Meanwhile, people like Florentino Perez are blaming the clubs that are owned by countries. But I think that even he knows the truth, but he can’t say that. Player agents becomes so powerful, that they actually rule the football world nowadays. And it’s not going to change anytime soon.
Facing with clubs like Manchester City and PSG is difficult, economically speaking. That’s why the clubs tried to form the new ‘Super League’ last summer. Moreover, the CVC deal by La Liga President Tebas, was also a way to bring more money to the clubs. But the conditions were bad, and now we learn about the new JP Morgan alternative, that might bring money that will be important for FC Barcelona in order to bring new players.
The State-owned clubs are here to stay. Moreover, with the recent acquisition of Newcastle, it will become a more severe competition with more money. But we can see clubs like Bayern proving that you can still be an elite club at these times.
Football agents look at one thing only, and it’s the money they and their Players get. And it’s the opposite of what matters to us more ‘romantic’ fans. But it can also create opportunities in the market.
The Players Agents and their job
If we take a look at football players few decades ago, we can see that player agents were not so common. At that time most of the power was in the hands of the clubs. Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise us to see that football players didn’t earn so much money. Moreover, they didn’t get social benefits that every worker in the market should receive, like pension, sick days and more.
But the biggest problem was dealing with retirement. Back in those days, a football player would start his career at the average age of 16-18. However, in order to do that, he would ditch school and won’t finish school like every other kid. And by the age of 30-35 the player would finish his career with pretty much nothing.
Most players don’t earn like elite players, and most of them won’t get a football related job after their career will be over.
The Player Agents are there to make sure the players get what they deserve, and have a basic foundation for the rest of their lives. And that’s a good thing. As a society we can’t have so many players dealing with financial problems. And that would lead to other problems, like drugs and alcohol. Just take a look at legends like George Best, Maradonna, Paul Cascoigne and others.
Too much power is never good
The problem of the player agents becomes a thing when they have too much power. We see a clash of interests between the club and the player agents. The club would want to secure their best players for the longest period possible. Meanwhile, the player agents want commission, and they get it for every deal. Ansu Fati renewing his contract? Mendes gets a commission. Barcelona sell Semedo to Wolves? Mendes again gets a commission. And the commission can be tens of millions of Euros on every operation.
Now, when a player has few years left on his contract, the buying club will have to pay the selling club a lot of money. So less money for commission. But when a player moves on a free transfer? There you can see the commission for the player agents grow massively. The recent transfer windows show us plenty of examples.
A player like Memphis Depay, a star in the French league, at the prime of his career, moves in a free transfer to Barcelona. This is something that we wouldn’t see few years ago. And the next summer we might see Superstars like Pogba, Mbappe and others – leave their clubs on a free transfer. And their agents will earn big money from these operations.
The clubs? They have to sell their players in a reasonable price, or see them leave on a free transfer. A good example was the selling of Ilaix Moriba to Leipzig last summer.
Meanwhile, agents like Raiola set a release clause on their best players. We can see those clauses for Haaland and even De Ligt. Haaland will of course cost a lot more than the 75m clause, as both his father and Raiola will earn tens of millions in commission.
The Dembele Situation
A long time ago ago we also reported that Dembele might look to see out his contract and leave. Back then the reports talked about Manchester United, but it can be basically every other club.
The compliments from Laporta and Xavi did work, and Dembele wants to stay, but not in all cost. He and his agent see him a potential future ‘Ballon d’Or’ winner, and they want to earn like one. But then there is FC Barcelona trying to reduce the salary craziness in the club. Letting someone like Dembele, who suffered 13 injuries since his arrival, earn more in his next contract- would be a big mistake.
I still think that both parties will reach a solution. It might be a short term contract, maybe bigger bonuses, or maybe another solution. But eventually, I think the French winger would stay.
Looking at the current market, the fact that Player Agents “Rule the Football World” is a great opportunity for FC Barcelona to improve the squad. I believe that Alemany, Xavi, Jordi Cruyff and others are attentive to the market. They can see some of the names there, and some of them are very interesting.
Players like Kessie, Christensen, Zakaria, Brozovic, Ginter, Romagnoli, Mazraoui, Onana and others are all in the prime of their careers. Others like Azpilicueta or Cavani are also good options to strengthen the squad. They will might be available for free next summer, if they won’t end up renewing. But of course their agents will earn look to get the biggest commission possible.
Other Super Stars like Salah, Sterling, Oblak, Skriniar, Coman and Gnabry finish their contract in a year and a half. Same goes for rising stars like Vlahovic, Gravenberch (And Araujo and Gavi of course). So if they won’t renew by the summer, their clubs might look to sell them in a cheaper price.
It’s a fact that player agents have too much power. But the clubs can’t say anything publicly because they have to be on good terms with them. However, if you can’t beat them, join them. The market currently has opportunities that it didn’t have few years ago.
I feel that we will have a lot more free transfers, and cheaper transfers. The world is going this way, and I believe Barcelona will continue to be very active in that market. No more spending 120m on Griezmann/ Coutinho. And that’s a good thing.