January 19, 2009

Manchester City To Buy Moon On A Stick?

Ok, maybe they aren’t going to buy the moon on a stick. Maybe just a Brazilian midfielder who isn’t Elano.

In fact, a lot of talk has been dedicated to Manchester City’s apparently audacious attempt to sign Kaka from AC Milan with a lot of talk of those two dreaded words ‘fantasy football’. There seems to be a section of the press, and presumably the football fan public at large, worried that were this move to go through it would unbalance the transfer and wages market, as well as act as the catalyst to turn City into a dream team of the most expensive and luxurious players in the world.

Certainly securing a big name would show the world that City’s money and words can be persuasive, and could in theory encourage others to move, in a way in which Chelsea chose not to, and which QPR haven’t even bothered to try despite being owned by Formula 1’s big wigs. This certainly is a worry reflected in many newspaper columns, and the hope a lot of City fans have for their team which still languishes in the lower half of the table.

But it’s not that simple. For City to buy players they need to persuade the clubs to sell and the players to sign. Reports suggest that Kaka is being offered £500,000 a week and a clause saying he can leave if City aren’t in the Champions’ League by 2010. But even then it’s also because AC Milan have apparently accepted the £100m bid from City’s Arabian oil billionaire owners. And that in itself might be misleading.

If Kaka is worth £100m then there probably a few others players worth a similar amount – Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, possibly Torres, with players like David Villa, Buffon, Rooney, Fabregas, Gerrard, Aguero, etc, being worth anything between £50m and £80m. But what’s to say the clubs will accept.


Kaka and an elderly gentleman from England.

AC Milan could really use £100m. Really really use the money. A quick look at Milan’s squad list would give Arsene Wenger a heart attack of epic proportions. Whilst most of Milan’s squad are proven winners, they also tend to be old.

Maldini 40
Favalli 37
Kalac 36
Inzaghi 35
Dida 35
Beckham 33
Emerson 32
Seedorf 32
Nesta 32
Shevchenko 32
Abbiati 31
Zambrotta 31
Janulovski 31
Ambrosini 31

In fact the number of Milan players under thirty is startlingly small – Pato, Boriello, Pirlo (just, he’s 29), Flamini, Ronaldinho, Kaka may be big names but they are only a few names. Milan are in serious need of new players, younger players, and ones of the quality needed to get into the Champions’ League don’t come cheap. Most Champions League teams bring in younger players on a regular basis, at least two or three a season to keep regenerating, but Milan probably need at least a team’s worth, nine or ten at least, within a season or two. £100m would go a very long way to easing that problem (reportedly Adebayour and Clichy of Arsenal are targets) which suggests that Milan wouldn’t be too devastated by Kaka leaving if they can get a decent amount of good players from hat money.

If City wanted to make a big signing to demonstrate their clout Kaka would be the most logical player to go after after securing Robinho, who was sold as an unhappy rebel wanting out of Real Madrid at any cost. Very few of the world’s top players play for teams who want or need to sell but Milan do and have a player City are willing to use as an overpriced symbol of intent. It is beneficial to City’s owners and Milan themselves. But it is not indicative of the rest of the big clubs.

What would it really mean? It would probably mean that City will be in, at overinflated prices, for any talented player at a non Champions League contender (the Benzemas and Arshavins of the the world) but would be unlikely to catch big fish already at big clubs, despite the press’s hyperbolic speculation of a team featuring Buffon, Sergio Ramos, Rio Ferdinand, CRonaldo, etc. But that doesn’t really make for good newspaper copy I guess.


- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Allan Smith

    I agree with near enough everything you say. Money alone cannot bring any player to the club, as is the case with Kaka and the reports of getout clauses and guarantees on the squad around him. Also he seems more than happy to stay on Milan for the £100k-ish a week peanuts he’s on if it comes to it.

    Although this is heralded as the death of football in the same way as it was when Trevor Francis was sold for a million, Chris Sutton for £5m, Roy Keane on his outrageous £50k a week contract etc., I just can’t see this heralding a new norm for spending. Even if Man City are the only club who can offer these riches, they can only appease 20-30 professional footballers unless they sign the Winston Bogardes who are happy just to cash in.

    With regard Milan, losing Kaka will be a huge blow, but the alleged £30m bid for Ribery would cushion it somewhat, and Gourcuff’s rave reviews at Bordeaux surely warrant him being given a chance next year.

    19 Jan 2009, 16:03


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