Club v Player – where does the true loyalty with transfers lie?

Transfer windows are always interesting points in a season. Invariably we are inundated with transfer stories true and false but regardless it can be exciting to see the transfer merry go round spin.

Players are always on the move; we as United fans been blessed with some of the finest one team men in the game but they are a rarity as the prospect of more money or more success can lead a man that was kissing his badge and declaring his love for the fans to jump ship to his previous team’s rivals.

The term ‘mercenary’ has become prevalent in the modern game. The sport has grown so has revenue and an influx of sugar daddies means clubs can afford to pay a player enough to wipe out a small country’s national debt.

As fans, when a player jumps ship it makes us feel better to brand a player ‘money hungry’, ‘greedy’ and such things but what is the protocol when a player wants to jump ship because he feels it is in the better interest of his career?

There are always claims that a player has stayed at a team too long, astonishingly I was told Scholes was not that great because he did not test himself elsewhere. But Scholes, Giggs, Neville etc are an exception to the case how do you go upwards upon leaving Manchester United?

It’s a question many have asked but it begs we look at another angle, personal development.

It’s all good and well being a star and trying to leave a club for another big club and testing the waters but what about the little man, the guy whose path into the team is blocked by those he is unlikely to supplant? In January Corry Evans, brother of Jonny, remarked,

“I supported Man United as a child but if the day comes I won’t be afraid to move on. It’s my career and I’m not going to sit about in the reserves for the rest of my life.

“If first-team opportunities don’t come there I know I’ll have to look somewhere else.”

Evans eventually moved on to Hull and rightfully so, if he wasn’t going to get games here he had every right to seek first team football elsewhere. It was refreshing to see as well, we all remember Winston Bogarde who was all too happy to grow roots sitting on the bench and in the reserves of Chelsea whilst collecting a fat pay check or even Carlo Cudicini who spent years sitting on the bench at Chelsea behind Petr Cech when he was clearly good enough to go to another team, a big team, and be first choice.

Earlier in the week, Sunderland launched a bid to sign United stars Wes Brown, John O’Shea and Darron Gibson . It was reported that the club had accepted the bid for all 3 and whilst I was mildly shocked we accepted the offer for O’Shea, there was no surprise that we had for Brown and Gibson.

Brown had been out of favour all season not even making enough performances to earn a Premier League medal whilst Gibson was always on the periphery of the first team, making appearances but never for a sustained period. There were players ahead of him and whilst his place in the squad was questioned frequently, I for one was always of the thought that given a sustained run, the kind he was unlikely to get at Old Trafford, he could do a decent job.

We had all seen flashes of his ability and game time would only bring talent to the surface so the fact he appears so open to a move to the Stadium of Light didn’t come as a surprise to me.

Quotes attributed to Gibson were released today where the Irish midfielder stated,

“It wouldn’t faze me one bit to leave Manchester United. All I want is what’s best for me.

“So, if the best thing for me is to leave and go somewhere that I’ll play every week, then so be it.

“If it comes down to it, I just want to go somewhere where it’s right for me.

“I haven’t sat down with Sir Alex to talk about it, but, obviously, if it comes to me not playing as much as I would like next season then I’ll have to move on.”

Gauging the response from fans after the quotes were released, I noticed an outpouring of anger against Gibson. But is he wrong to want to put his needs and the betterment of his career first?

As stated previously, his path into the first team isn’t exactly clear. There are already players ahead of him and competition is likely to get more fierce with players returning from loan and United being linked with players daily. At 23 and his best years ahead of him was he expected to sit on the bench and be used in an auxiliary capacity?

There is nothing in his quotes that suggest that it is a decision that he is happy with and I’m willing to hazard a guess that he would happily remain at United if game time was forthcoming. Nobody in their right mind would be happy to leave the Champions of England and drop out of the Champions League unless it was necessary. It’s a big step and as seen with Bogarde not one every one would be willing to take.

Another player linked with United that has come under scrutiny is Arsenal’s Samir Nasri .

Having looked at him earlier in the week I briefly touched on his case but here we can look at it in more depth. Quotes attributed to him appeared to suggest the young French man was open to offers from Manchester United. Arsenal fans immediately turned on him denouncing him as a traitor and that he was seeking to extort more money from Arsenal as he negotiated a new deal.

Personally I don’t think he will be coming to Manchester United but if he did want to move to United would he be so wrong? Arsenal fans claim he is disloyal but have Arsenal been loyal to him?

Presumably he joined Arsenal with the view to develop as a player and win silverware. Whilst he may have improved, Arsenal have done nothing to suggest that they want to win trophies. It is often repeated that everyone can see Arsenal’s problem that is everyone except Arsene Wenger.

Wenger’s philosophy is to be admired but it isn’t currently working and the fact he persists with his current formula which has resulted in zero trophies in the past 6 years rather than making the necessary additions to his team, borders on pig headedness.

Arsenal have good players and good player want to see the fruits of their labour. For Cesc’s ability all he has to show for his time at Arsenal is a solitary FA Cup whilst Nasri has no silverware to boast of.

Nasri further stated that he didn’t want to negotiate a deal until he saw Arsenal’s activity in the transfer market this summer. He need reassurances from the club that they would remain competitive having just finished 4th in the league and with next season looking to be even more competitive with Liverpool looking to have a say in the title race you can’t blame him.

If he feels that Arsenal isn’t going to be able to compete is he wrong to want to move to a team that will be able to reward his ability and performances with trophies?

The argument of a player’s loyalty to himself and his club is one that will continue to rage. Every case is different and should be judged on its individual merits and some fickle fans would do better to realise this rather than just slating a player who has alluded that leaving maybe the ultimate solution.

Read more of Chudi’s article at the excellent The Busby Way

 


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