One way or another, this season, whatever it may hold for the Premier League clubs, will be remembered for the year when players took control.
Years ago, the clubs had total control of those on its books and were in a strong position to dictate contracts and influence a players future. But as we’ve seen so far this season, only a few games in, that has diminished considerably.
It’s the players and their agents who hold all the cards and can hold the club to ransom if they choose to do so.
It’s a bit dispiriting to know that players can just hold out for a better offer or choose the club of their choice to promote their talents and fill up their bank accounts.
They can refuse to train, catch colds, pick up stomach strains or refuse to come back from a sandy beach, rather than play for their employers.
The recent hubbub with Diego Costa is a slightly different matter with Chelsea Manager and player involved in an acrimonious split after an ill conceived text message and one feels a degree of sympathy with the player.
Gone are they days of the one club player, it was only in the twilight of a career that they had no choice but to ply their trade elsewhere. Given the choice John Terry would still be in a Chelsea shirt instead of Aston Villa’s.
This change in attitude has been coming for a while as transfer fees climb and wages inflate like a three-year-olds bouncy castle.
It’s not exactly a new thing, it’s happened over the years in isolated incidents but this season has proved to be a watershed, bringing conflict between club and player.
The list is seemingly endless:–
Van Dijk, Coutinho, Costa, Neymar, Lukaku, Barkley, Walker and at Arsenal Ozil, Sanchez and even the Ox.
All of which have been involved in some sort of manipulation to move on, engineer a transfer or grab a few extra bucks elsewhere. Ozil apparently is both eager to stay but also to head to Barcelona, Sanchez …who knows? City, PSG, Chelsea and the Ox is on the radar of a number of premier league clubs.
One has more sympathy for Oxlade-Chamberlain who’s role has been peripheral and obviously wants to play week in week out but only managed to get a run out from the bench.
As for the majority of the others, they have been consumed by the want away bug for more dubious reasons, reducing their Managers to the role of onlooker whilst others carve out lucrative opportunities.
Quite where it ends, God only knows, it was bad enough with agents, now even they are under the control of the players. Ozil and Sanchez have been the most annoying from an Arsenal perspective. Sanchez has made it blatantly clear he wants out but has at least delivered on the pitch.
Ozil at times has flattered to deceive. Sometimes sublime and on other occasions, uninterested and uncommitted. He is a frustrating player, capable yet indifferent, delivering exceptional quality or just plodding about seemingly counting the blades of grass.
He drifts in and out of games on occasion and if he didn’t have his name on his shirt, you wouldn’t know he was there. My own position as a fan, which pays the wages I might add, is to cut them loose and get rid.
The effect it has on the team is fractious, it’s not fair on either the club or its supporters, constantly wondering if they will stay or go.
Liverpool who have adopted the ‘Wenger stance’ with Coutinho are in the same position but in this case, it’s reported that the player has stated that he has played his last game for the club.
Again, get rid. Barcelona have a considerable amount of cash and Klopp could use a few new players to mount a serious challenge in the premiership.
Is it worth holding on to players who don’t want to play or worse still want to play for another club? It appears that clubs are just flexing muscles they don’t actually have, trying to tie players down to dwindling contracts who have no intention of giving 100% to the cause.
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