Despite reported interest from Lokomotiv Moscow in Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor, the Togolese forward’s much-vaunted move to Tottenham Hotspur appears the most likely conclusion to a nomadic post-Arsenal spell. That he was signed by Manchester City for £25m was surprising enough, that his wages are reported to be in the region of £170k per week is even more so.
How then could Spurs possibly hope to afford such an expensive striker on their books? They may be rich but, Darren Bent aside, they don’t tend to be in the business of being extorted.
A transfer fee of less than £10m seems a relative bargain, and the wages? If reports from various newspapers are to be believed then Manchester City will subsidise Adebayor’s wages in order to sell him.
Tottenham will continue to pay a similar figure towards his wages that they did last season and Man City will pay the rest. This is totally amoral. I’m not specifically talking about Adebayor’s proposed move but ALL deals of this nature.
For a club to pay vast sums of money on a weekly basis to a player who no longer belongs to them is a farce that borders on collusion; what’s more, it totally goes against the competitive nature of the game.
If a club hands out a contract that is so extravagant that they then cannot persuade a player to leave that is their fault. With so many loopholes in any regulations within football it is increasingly hard to find ways to curb the spending of clubs and punish them for spending ridiculous sums of money on players.
Here would have been a perfect example. If Man City wants to supply contracts like this then they should have to live with the consequences. How do UEFA, FIFA and The FA hope to create a culture of sensible spending if no lessons are ever taught?
Likewise, the increasing greed amongst footballers could also be addressed with issues such as this. Like Adebayor, there are a number of players in the Premier League whose parent club over-pay them but do not play them.
By not allowing their wages to be subsidised by another club we could teach these players to think twice before blindly accepting large contracts without thinking of the consequences.
Only by making them choose between money and playing time can the authorities send out a clear message that football is about more than money. It seems harsh to want to make an example of people through their careers but these sorts of deals send out poor, mixed messages.
It may be a cliché but footballers should be taught that they can’t always have their cake and eat it. In allowing moves like Adebayor’s to be subsidised we are allowing them to do just that.
For many fans, having to pay wages to an ex-employee is punishment enough, but is that really an issue for some clubs? It isn’t really plausible that mega-rich clubs will be losing any sleep over having to pay a bit more money per week in wages.
A more appropriate and effective message could be sent were they to have to use the player in question until the end of his contract, or until somebody else is willing to pay that level of wages for them.
To have spent so much on a player and used them so little reeks of thoughtless, frivolous spending. The governing bodies are trying to create an environment of careful spending; you don’t do that by allowing clubs to sweep their mistakes under the carpet.
Finally, all sport is based on competition. Therefore, for one team to be able to help another team in this way seems counter-intuitive for football. Sport is only enjoyable because we think it is fair, regulated and unpredictable. I’m not saying that giving money to players that belong to other clubs will necessarily damage this, however, it doesn’t quite sit right with me.
The Adebayor example does not bring any party’s integrity in to question per se. Nevertheless, to allow such occurrences to become something of a regular feature in football would be not only naïve but also irresponsible and, arguably, unfair.