This season, the most high-profile player to have been the victim of this is QPR‘s Robert Green. After deciding to leave West Ham for a ‘new challenge’ after they were promoted back to the Premier League in May, Green signed for QPR on the understanding that he would be the club’s first choice keeper.
But a month later Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar arrived at Loftus Road with Green instead warming the bench, left sulking in the shadow of Champions League winning star. This got me thinking wether players are sometimes tricked in to signing for a club without actually knowing what’s in store for them.
Last week Green spoke out about his disappointment at the way he was treated at QPR by former manager Mark Hughes. He words were quite shocking, especially when you consider how much he was liked at West Ham and how he probably wishes he stayed there instead.
Green said: “I asked Mark Hughes. He told me Julio was going to play, that I’d done nothing wrong and that he wanted two top keepers competing for the position. I replied ‘Well, if he’s going straight into the first team he’s not really competing, is he? Where does that leave me?'”
The keeper then goes on to explain how Hughes told him that he was free to leave whenever he wanted, which he describes as “not quite what I wanted to hear.”
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The problem here is that Hughes pretty much tricked Green in to signing for a club that had no real intention of making him a permanent first choice fixture in the team. That all seems to have changed since Harry Redknapp took over, but that’s not the point.
But how can it be prevented? If a manager wants a player, regardless of what plans they have for him, they will do and say anything to ensure they get his signature. QPR might well have been the only club that offered Green first team football, so to then freeze him out just months later is not fair on a keeper who can still cut it at the highest level.
And at what point does it become a breach of contract, or is that where players are missing a trick? I’m no expert at what’s exactly outlined in a contract between club and player, but surely a detailed job description would be in there some where?
In Robert Green’s case, the contract may have said: “Position: First team goalkeeper. Job role: To concede as little goals as possible on a weekly basis.” If I’m right then QPR have breached his contract. He hasn’t been able to concede as little goals as possible on a weekly basis because he wasn’t playing, which isn’t his fault.
Green obviously isn’t the only player to have been tricked in to signing a contract, though. Robinho famously signed for Manchester City (ironically by Mark Hughes) thinking he was actually signing for rivals United, although the move may have been more down to his overall confusion about where he was going to end up after he initially thought Chelsea was going to be his final destination.
And what about Scott Sinclair’s move to Manchester City? Aside from the obvious attraction of money, was he promised more football than what he’s actually getting or did he know he would have no chance at making a positive impact on a team packed with some of the world’s best players?
With all that in mind, maybe it is time for players to insist that their squad status is outlined specifically in their contracts from now on, that way they we won’t see the likes of Robert Green being treated the way he did any longer.
Do you think players are sometimes tricked in to signing for a club without knowing what’s in store for them? Leave your comments below.