Opinion: Player Power – are the clubs taking it back?
Several Premier League stars have had to stay put
The 2017 summer transfer window was one quite like no other. But despite all the drama, all the money and all the deals, it’s the players who didn’t move who made as many headlines.
For the last 20 years or so, kicking off with the Bosman ruling, the balance of power between player and club has leant towards the former.
But this summer it appears that many clubs are now putting their foot down.
Diego Costa wanted to leave Chelsea. Philippe Coutinho asked to leave Liverpool. Riyad Mahrez and Virgil van Dijk did the same at Leicester and Southampton respectively.
All four made their intentions clear, and the quartet could each have commanded sizeable transfer fees. Yet none of them moved.
Granted, all four players have several years left on their contracts, so none of the clubs were in any hurry to sell.
But generally speaking, when a player no longer wants to be at a football club then he will be sold as quickly as possible.
But each of Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester and Southampton stood firm.
Over to Arsenal
And then there’s the case of Alexis Sanchez and Arsenal.
Ordinarily when a player is entering the final year of his contract and doesn’t wish to sign a new one, he’ll be sold with 12 months to spare.
Sanchez has never formally requested to leave the Gunners, but that didn’t stop Manchester City offering £60m.
Yet Arsenal held station, and Sanchez will now have to wait for his move to the Etihad (or elsewhere).
Of course this is partly down to Arsenal failing to find a suitable replacement in time, but the Gunners could still have sold up and piled those £60m funds from a Sanchez sale into next summer’s transfer kitty.
Whether or not that pans out to be a good decision remains to be seen, but the Gunners did not bow down to player power. Neither did Chelsea, Leicester, Southampton or Liverpool.
A player may still want to leave a club, but as this summer showed, he is no longer assured that his wishes will be granted.
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