Soccer Sports Business

Power Shift in European Soccer Transfer Market

While closely following the European soccer transfer market which wrapped up this week, something came to my attention; the shift of power from the owners to players and agents in European soccer. In most instances, if the player wanted to be transferred, sooner or later the wish was fulfilled. The latest example was Joleon Lescott’s transfer to Manchester City. Although Everton’s coach, David Moyes, insisted that Lescott was a key to his team, Lescott wanted to double his salary with the move to M.City. Some even accused him of not performing in the first couple games he played this season for Everton. Another notable one was Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He went as far as texting his famous coach Jose Mourinho to let him go to Barcelona. If you are following the Serie A closely, Ibrahimovic was Inter’s savior in most games and was critical in the last couple Scudettos Inter won.

Even last year, we saw the signs of this shift with the transfers of Berbatov and R.Keane from Tottenham. Keane was a target for Liverpool and Berbatov was wanted by Manchester United. Both declared that they wanted to leave, Berbatov even refused to train with the team. The team’s chairman, Daniel Levy, knew how important these two were, and was very angry with the way M.United and Liverpool acted, threatening to open a lawsuit against them. After weeks of speculation, both transfers went through and at the end the players got their wish. The same happened with Robinho as he also wanted to earn a lot more by coming to M.City. He wanted to leave Real Madrid, and to do so, he even declared how unfairly he was treated at the club, how the atmosphere in the club was bad and at the end he was the one getting his wish as well.

There are a lot of examples of this kind but these are the most “known” examples. As these types of transfers continue to happen, I think this will lead more to teams first having an agreement with the player in contract (which is prohibited by FIFA rules) and then forcing the club to sell him. Of course the recent Chelsea ban would throw fear into many, but as the transfer fees are going ridiculously high by the help of R.Madrid and M.City, it may not be very realistic to think that this way of conducting the transfers will change.

Agents, on the other hand, now will have more leverage when they are marketing their players. As clubs start to realize the power of the player, agents will more and more start to be the first point of contact for a transfer inquiry, thinking that if the agreement can be reached with the agent, the rest will take care of itself.  Of course, this is my take on this power shift and everybody would look at it from a different perspective, so don’t hesitate to say your take on the issue below.

2 replies on “Power Shift in European Soccer Transfer Market”

1 thing that really gives players and agents leverage is the fact that these fans are relentless..meaning if a star doesn’t want to play for their club they will feel betrayed and managers know it isn’t worth the hassle..especially if you can draw some major cash..and plus there are always young superstars blossoming. Good article

I disagree with this wholeheartedly. Players never have the power in this relationship. If no other club wanted their services, they would no seek a transfer. This is kind of a chicken and egg argument though.

However, what I disagree with most is your hypothesis that we will see clubs enter into contracts with players before a transfer is complete. Unless FIFA drastically changes its rules, this will not happen. The entirety of the FIFA Regulations is aimed at maintaining contractual stability. If the situation you described were to happen, the new club would receive the same sanctions that Chelsea received.

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