Any club in the world that currently employees a top class player and wants to keep hold of him will for the next couple of weeks be avid Spurs supporters.
Currently the north Londoners hold a two point lead over Manchester City with four games to play. Should that be the case at the end of the season, it will deny City a place in the Champions League.
And that’s crucial. Money will be no object this summer for City. They can and will spend what it takes to assemble the best squad possible. They put me in mind of a slightly sleazy sugar daddy, hanging around your girlfriend’s house in a flash car, trying to chat her up and convince her that she’d be better off with him.
But without Champions League football to offer top players, they will be restricted to buying players who are either too old to care or young enough to wait. The creme-de-la-crème only want Champions League football and no amount of money will persuade them to move to a club that doesn’t have it on offer.
There’s talk of 50 million on the table for Torres but Torres has no reason to leave Liverpool for Eastlands if like Liverpool they are in the Europa League. It’s like for like. However, if they’re in the top four, it’s a different prospect all together.
It’s often said that modern football is all about the money. That money buys you success. While that is obviously true to an extent – though Real Madrid do a good job of showing us the folly of always assuming it will – ironically, because players are so well paid anyway, a few thousand more doesn’t make that much difference. For the best, already wealthy players, the money has become irrelevant, its now about winning trophies and earning their place as one of football’s winners, not one of the also rans.
City could offer the 250 million Euro buy-out clause in Messi’s contract and it would make no difference if they were not in the Champions League, and probably no difference even if they were.
City should realise that they risk buying in second tier players who are motivated more by money and less by the football when they don’t have the top European prize to offer prospective players. They risk buying in aging internationals that are looking for one last big pay day.
Big money buyers want results and quickly. The only way they can think to do this is to throw a shed-load of money at a problem. It would be a delicious irony if the richest club in the world found itself unable to spend its money on the best talent.
All managers and chairmen right across Europe, will be hoping that Harry Redknapp doesn’t blow it for Spurs and throw away their lead. If they do and in doing so let City into that top four, it could be a real game changer for the Premier League. It will allow City to attract some of the best and thus make them stronger and pushing out one of the long-time top four for good.
They are trying to create a powerbase from which to become one of the biggest most successful clubs in Europe. The next four games will decide whether they can or whether it’s been postponed for another year.