Originally posted on Goonersphere.
It has finally happened.
With the news of oil-drenched Manchester City capturing long-term interest Raheem Sterling for the cut price figure of £49million – is this the final stepping stone on the path to football madness?
It is a truly breathtaking amount of money for a player who plundered a staggering seven goals in thirty four appearances in the League last season. It is absolutely nothing to do with the blue half of Manchester sporting a few beads of sweat at the prospect of being in breach of FFP regulations in terms of homegrown players.
FFP rules that are continually broken. Quite why Pellegrini is in such a hurry to snaffle up any English talent belies any common sense. The same club broke FFP rules last season and we all waited in anticipation as UEFA were all set to even the odds for all clubs. Platini had an opportunity to lay down a marker – a statement that let all barons, dictators and philanthropists that the playing field will be forever level and any attempt to use a yacht-load of cash to curry favour will be met with retribution that will harm club prospects.
Instead, UEFA decided the schoolgirl approach would work best. Approach the target, softly slap them playfully and then apologise before running away in a pitiful mixture of tears and shame. The sanctions that were placed upon City and PSG for spending far above their income would have been ridiculous BEFORE they decided to lighten them. A slight squad restriction and even more implausibly – a monetary fine?!?! – will not send out any message that will linger with resonance.
So, City and PSG are pretty much footloose and fancy free, unhindered to shake their fistfuls of cash at any pretty filly they take a fancy to. This of course has sent the click-baiters into a mouth-foaming frenzy, linking these teams with any player that can be typed quick enough by these irksome types before their mothers ask them to leave their bedroom for the first time in a week.
Yet still Pellegrini insists on setting his tired eyes upon British talent. Knowing he could very well approach any player in the stratosphere and offer them a package that would turn even the most satisfied of heads, the fact he has given the go ahead to offer Liverpool £49million for Sterling should instill a modicum of doubt with City fans.
This is not a bitter rival fan that is typing this. It is a rival fan that genuinely worries for the future of the game that my life revolves around. Firstly, it shows that there are a select band of clubs that are looking down on the rest from their Scrooge McDuck money pile. No one can hope to match what the City Board offered a young and naive Raheem. Secondly, the clubs looking to close the gap to these cash-saturated outfits will be open and yearning for takeover bids from businessmen and heirs/heiresses looking for the latest toy to boast about at the next lunch at The Hamptons.
In terms of the player City are close to acquiring, the jury is out. there can be no doubt that the young man possesses enough in his repertoire to become a permanent fixture for the side and for his country. He has pace, he isn’t frightened to take on his opponent and he can finish if he gets a chance. The problem with Raheem is that he has shown that when pressure is inflicted upon his diminutive shoulders, he often fails to produce. Last season, the goalscoring burden fell at his feet. With Sturridge missing the majority of the season and Suarez finally getting his move away from Anfield, Rodgers insisted upon placing all the weight of expectation upon young Raheem. It didn’t pay off. Now with a near fifty million price tag hanging around his neck and the title ‘ Most expensive British player’ being flung around liberally – we will see if Sterling has grown and can take the heat that all top players are accustomed to.
The faded careers of Jack Rodwell, Adam Johnson and Scott Sinclair should act as tools of motivation for Sterling, rather than distracting totems of ill-omen. Much was expected of the aforementioned three, but all failed to deliver. All three players struggled with a lack of playing time and eventually looked to escape the City bench.
All three also were bought with big money, but pale into comparison when put alongside Sterling’s fee. The young man has oodles of potential, but a player boasting the same credentials as Sterling, but plying their trade in Ligue 1, would cost less than half of that figure.
The sad state of affairs is that if a player carries a British passport, then the transfer fee rises exponentially. It is almost like a tax. If the player was born in the British Isles, then much like unleaded fuel, you will pay a levy far heavier than any other country.
If Sterling was heading to our club for that incredible fee, then Gooners would be up in arms. Of course, there would be a pocket of fans who would be over the moon that Wengers chequebook was in use – regardless of the player bought and ridiculous fee. The bigger percentage of fans though, would realise that the money involved was bordering on insanity – especially when you consider that Sergio Aguero was captured for far less readies.
Of course, as a Gooner, I’d love it if Wenger sent ripples through the transfer market by chucking a bucket of cash at Lyon to buy Alexandre Lacazette. I’m also very pleased however, that we haven’t got a manager that thinks it’s completely acceptable to spend nigh on fifty million pounds on potential. He still has a firm hand on the mental tiller and I’m confident that when he does choose a player, it won’t drive the club accountants to heart palpitations.