Summer is the time when transfer speculation and analysis dominate the news. Almost all of the transfer speculation focus on the players going to new clubs. However, for managers, selling and releasing players is also important during off-season.
Like other sports, managers sell or release players based on different obvious reasons. Some players were sold because they became too old, the money was too good to turn down or they didn’t fit the tactics anymore.
But there is another reason why certain players were shown the door: they need to go to improve or maintain team chemistry.
Whenever I read stories about Cesc Fabregas or Carlos Tevez, I always think: “It’s time to sell both of them”. Both are captains for their clubs yet they provide a lot of distractions for their team mates. Does anyone (especially Arsenal fans) wonder why Fabregas went to see the Spanish Grand Prix while his teammates were playing against Fulham? Do the Citizens fans feel disgusted every time Carlos Tevez says he’s not happy playing football and wants to quit soon? If the fans start to feel disgusted, you can imagine the feeling of the other players in the dressing room.
There are different “problem players’ in the dressing room and managers don’t need a lot of them to cause distractions to team and in some cases, could cost your job.
When a player’s heart is not with the team anymore, the player becomes useless for the team, regardless of their role. Granted, Fabregas and Tevez have performed quite admirably this season (especially Tevez) but their actions implied a “me first” attitude which could be detrimental to their teams. In this era, you can blame media for creating stories that certain players want to quit or are unhappy with their lives but when the same players frequently appear with the same story, then there must be something wrong with them. If you watched Eric Cantona’s performance in his last season, I bet that no one ever predicted that he was going to retire at the end of that year: there were no Tevez-like statements of “I’m disillusioned with football” although that was the real reason behind Cantona’s sudden and premature retirement.
When a manager decides that a player has started to challenge his authority, it’s always a good reason to sell him. Paul Ince was sold to Inter Milan when he started calling himself “The Guv’nor of Old Trafford”, Bayern Munich’s captain Mark van Bommel’s contract was terminated in January by Louis van Gaal because he challenged LVG’s authority. Fernando Morientes also was loaned out of Real Madrid after lashing out at Vicente del Bosque because he didn’t like playing in the “garbage minutes” and there’s another reason besides tactical why Craig Bellamy was sent to Cardiff on-loan instead of staying in Manchester to name just a few. Interestingly, Bellamy also managed to rile Graeme Souness when playing for Newcastle and Rafa Benitez while at Liverpool.
When a player creates frictions with his teammate, it could also be a good case for the manager to show him the door. Theoretically, you don’t need to be friends to work together (just ask Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham) but if the player attacked his teammate with a golf club (Craig Bellamy) or reportedly sent harassing text messages to a very powerful teammate (Bellamy again), then the exit door would be shown by the manager. Ruud van Nistelrooy was let go not long after he reportedly mocked Cristiano Ronaldo by saying “Go to your daddy” (referring to assistant manager Carlos Queiroz) while Ronaldo’s dad just passed away several weeks earlier. But no famous player learned this lesson the hard way more than Roy Keane: the Manchester United then-captain was shown the door in two weeks after giving an interview with MUTV criticizing United’s younger players, Darren Fletcher and John O’Shea.
Despite the importance of selling these “trouble makers”, the process is not as easy as it looks because of the nature of this decision.
First, there is an importance of a particular player to a team. Take Fabregas and Tevez: will the manager be criticized for selling that particular player if the team fails next season? Can he find an adequate replacement? Alex Ferguson still regrets selling Jaap Stam to Lazio after Stam’s book mentioned the Neville brothers as “not world class defenders” and implied Fergie of illegally tapping him. The same consideration was probably behind Arsene Wenger ‘s decision not to show William Gallas the door, but merely stripped his captaincy after Gallas criticized his teammates in 2008 during an interview with AFP (Gallas was even offered a contract extension before ended up joining Tottenham in 2010).
Another reason involves cost and benefit of keeping against selling/releasing the players. Sometimes, things become a waiting game: the selling club wants to get rid of the troublemaker as soon as possible and the prospective buyer wants to wait until the seller budges. Sometimes, not many clubs can afford the players and selling the player could result in the player haunt his old club. Take Bellamy as example: Mancini refused to let him go to a certain Premiership club while none of the “permitted” clubs could afford to pay his salary that he eventually loaned to Cardiff with City paying certain portion of his wages. Another example is Samuel Eto’o: Barca was so anxious to offload him to Inter and he came back to haunt Barcelona.
So, Man City and Arsenal fans, should Tevez and Fabregas be let go this summer? Also for other club’s fans: are there any players you think should be shown the door because of the factors above? Share your opinions in the comments section below.
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