Club Loyalty

With the transfer season in full flow there have been a number of transfers which have caught the eye. As usual we have had the overpriced transfers which seem to amaze us annually – £80m for Cristiano Ronaldo???? – but theres always those transfers that come under scrutiny because of the lack of loyalty involved. When the prospect of making millions of extra dollars, euros or pounds makes itself available, club loyalty is quickly forgotten.

Manchester United have been involved in two, other, transfers which raised the eyebrows. Firstly, they signed Michael Owen from Newcastle. From a purely footballing point of view this is a great signing – a low risk, low cost investment which has the potential to reap big rewards, especially as Owen seems unstoppable in preseason matches. Owens career has lost its way in the past few years and Old Trafford might just be the place to reignite it. But what is interesting here is that not that long ago, Owen was the favourite at Liverpool, Uniteds bitter rivals. In no time at all then he has become a despised figure amongst Liverpool fans. Of all teams to sign for, why them? One wonders whether Owen really cares what Liverpool fans think – probably not when he picks up his wage slip each month. Should it be an issue for him? Is he free to play wherever he wants without guilt? Football is a passionate and tribal game but sadly it would seem that that passion is quickly dissipated when self interest is concerned. Owen has shown scant regard for the feelings of those who support the club with which he made his name. Of course, it is rumoured that Owen was a boyhood Everton fan, so perhaps in his own way he is showing some loyalty!

The other United transfer is of course that of Carlos Tevez to United’s local rivals Manchester City. Clearly, here there is a smack of revenge. Tevez often complained about being left on the sidelines particularly when he only had a substitutes role in the Champions League final. Utd it seems offered Tevez a five year contract which would have made him one their highest paid players yet Tevez still chose to leave. Despite being a fans favourite Tevez could never be guaranteed selection. Tevez had the choice of any number of clubs throughout Europe to move to and yet chose Manchester City….. a mid table side who have been big players in the close season as they seek to bridge the gap between mediocrity and the top 4. Upon joining City Tevez was quoted as saying “I’m here to win things…” That remains to be seen but its an odd statement given that he turned down an offer from Manchester United!

Then we have the rather bemusing transfer swap of Samuel Eto’o + €46 million, for Zlatan Ibrahimovic between Barcelona and Inter Milan. One wonders who it is at Barcelona that considers Ibrahimovic to be not just better than Eto’o but €46 million better!!!! Ibrahimovic is the player that Martin O’Neill in 2006 rated as the most overrated player on the planet! But there is a loyalty twist to this transfer as well. In his first post transfer interview, Ibrahimovic was at pains to tell the assembled press that there was only one club he would leave Inter for. Apparently he told Inter President Massimo Moratti “I made an agreement with the president of Inter that the only club they could sell me to was Barcelona.” Then upon presentation to the Barcelona crowd he made a grand display of kissing the badge. A Barcelona fan for life then.

I wonder if anyone believes him.


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