Football’s a funny old game, there is no other sport in the world that can have so much drama, so many highs and lows, and be such an emotional roller coaster. It’s not just on the pitch either…as silly season starts to climax like a Ron Jeremy Porno, big moves are happening as rumblings of discontent emerge from players that are unhappy and new managers start to shape a squad, chopping and changing their employees as often as they change their pants – it’s just the way it is in this results ‘business’.
Silly season is hardly something new and neither is a good old ‘Player vs Club’ dispute. Last summer we were treated to the ‘Fabregas saga’ as us football fans watched him make some calculated maneuvers in order to force a move home to Barcelona. Then there was Samir Nasri…the least said the better for the Arsenal fans out there. Fast-forward to now and the latest storylines come as no surprise…
This summer more high profile players have waged war on their clubs in order to engineer a move to the ‘Promised Land’ as Robin van Persie and Luka Modric try to secure lucrative moves away north London. On the flip side, at least it is nice to be wanted, which is more than can be said for Liverpool striker Andy Carroll.
On the back of a half decent performance at Euro 2012, Andy Carroll must have been looking forward to getting back to club life and proving his metal to Brendan Rodgers, but things didn’t go quite to plan as Rodgers let the world know £35 million man Carroll was available to the right bidder.
So it’s Player Power vs Club Power and Club Power vs Player Power as new fights break out over the country. Let’s take a look at how these battles will be won and lost:
Luka Modric vs Daniel Levy:
This is one saga that could rumble on all summer as Spurs fans find themselves feeling all Arsenal in a situation that echoes Fabregas vs Arsenal last summer – you always knew it was going to happen, it was just a case of when. Similarly, most would agree Luka has done his time at Spurs, who only have themselves to blame for his departure – had there been a 3rd place finish and some Champions League football on offer, the love story with Luka at least had half a chance of lasting at least that season longer.
Spurs’ capitulation from February onwards cost them a lot – local face, 3rd place, Champions League and the departure of their only true world-class player. It is no surprise Real Madrid came knocking, it is also no surprise Modric followed the lead of players like Fabregas in forcing a move, especially with last summer in the back of his mind. Madrid got in his ear and turned the good boy bad as he went AWOL, refusing to travel with Spurs to fight for fans in the States, and took back some power back (albeit briefly).
Modric’s contractual breach to not join teammates on the clubs tour was a clear sign this relationship is over…well at least on Modric’s part. Levy can be a stubborn g*t and this time will be no different. With 4 years on his contract, Modric’s defiance could cost him as Levy is happy to do things the hard way, but will Modric’s grovelling apology be enough for Spurs to lower their price? Probably not – this is Daniel Levy we are talking about.
Verdict: Modric to Madrid…eventually.
Brendan Rodgers vs Andy Carroll
Poor old Andy Carroll, one minute he is flying through the air in Kiev, scoring a towering header – the next he is on holiday on Brazil reading how Brendan Rodgers is prepared to let him go. Carroll seems to be the first high-profile victim of Rodgers’ total-football regime. To come out so publicly and be so blunt about the future of a player who cost £35m is surprising, especially when at that point ‘Buck’ hadn’t even seen him close up, but Rodgers already is ruling the roost.
The Liverpool manager also has the backing of chairman Tom Werner who said Rodgers “is clearly the leader…and will do what’s in the best interests of the club”. This is a total role reversal of Modric – manager wants player out for no particular reason which seems hasty to me – is there something more sinister lurking in the background of this one? A strong dislike of ponytails maybe?
Whatever the reason, it seems the writing is on the wall for Carroll as the player keeps his head down whilst his manager makes noises that must strain the relationship between them to an uncomfortable level and make Carroll feel about as wanted as Luis Suarez is at Old Trafford. But Carroll won’t be in a rush to leave Liverpool, his hefty contract will see to that, he is in power here, but it could be a long season on the bench for the giant Geordie.
Verdict: Carroll will stay as no one will pay the money or the wages and Liverpool won’t let him go on loan.
Robin van Persie vs Arsenal
Much like Modric, we all knew this one was coming, especially after contracts talks were put on hold early last season before the truth was finally told. Arsenal captain van Persie went the only way he could to get a move – engineer one via his own personal website, which seemingly took the establishment by surprise as he declared a stand off.
Arsenal hit back with initial statements of waffle as they took flack from all sides. Since then Arsenal have tried to strength their position, but after so many seasons of Wenger being a sensible businessman, is there any reason why he wouldn’t take £20m instead of nothing to hold on to an injury prone player, albeit a very good one, for one more season? Arsenal also cannot pay anywhere near the money van Persie could get elsewhere, as a commodity it is in his interests to move.
RVP is in a strong position with only one year left on the contract, he knows he can kick up a stink and get out of Arsenal and he knows Arsenal will cave in, especially after the Giroud signing. It was no doubt a tough decision for a man who knows that it’s like to be a ‘true gooner’, but he also knows he will never reach the heights his ambition demands in an Arsenal side that is still in transition and a long way off challenging for the title.
It could go to the wire and Arsenal will publicly make the right noises to keep fans thinking ‘the board/manager did all they could’ or ‘there’s nothing we can do’ as fans resentment towards RvP’s forced departure will remain a bitter taste in their mouth’s for seasons to come. Unfortunately this is an all too familiar scenario now for the Arsenal fans, but at least Koschielny signed a new deal right?
Verdict: After Podolski wasn’t given a squad number for the new season, RvP surely has to leave? But then again this is the fickle world of football and anything can happen!
What is the future for van Persie, Modric and Carroll? Is player power out of control? Is loyalty dead? Or did it never exist in the first place? We want your opinion, so give it to us below. Make sure you follow us on Twitter and Facebook for a daily dose of football goodness…the Rascal wants you!