By Tony Attwood
The Daily Mirror is today publishing a story about Denis Suarez which makes particularly interesting reading. I am most grateful to my pal Steve who sits next to me at Arsenal Stadium for picking up on this story and alerting me to it today.
The story attempts to get to grips with what appears to be a most extraordinary tale, and understand it we have to look first at Suarez’ career thus far. Wiki shows it like this…
|2014–2015||→ Sevilla (loan)||31||2|
As we know, this January Barcelona loaned the player to Arsenal, having previously extended his contract until 2021.
But the Mirror tells us that, “When Barcelona signed Suarez back in 2013, a contract agreement stated in his initial deal would see City paid £715,000 for every 10 first team appearances he made per season.”
Now the Mirror picked up this information from the Spanish publication SPORT, and with the Mirror (as indeed with most national newspapers in Britain) it is worth going back to the source of the tale just in case the British paper has manipulated it in any way so it matches their own agenda.
In this case what we find is this (obviously translated from the Spanish)
“Barça have to pay 800,000 euros every 10 games he plays due to the agreement with Manchester City. Denis has played 54 times for the first team and in 31 of them a minimum of 45 minutes, a condition which is demanded in the majority of contracts of this type. Every bill which arrives from the Etihad Stadium is met with a sigh in the Camp Nou offices, but there’s nothing they can do but comply with the agreement. Denis has seen his progress blocked and the club are now saving on having to pay the English club more money.”
The interpretation of this by the Mirror is that “Due to the agreement, Suarez has not played consistent football for over five years now and this was highlighted by his pitiful 71 Barcelona appearances since 2013.
However the Mirror goes further and, for reasons that it does not explain, changes the original SPORT story which says this sort of deal is normal, to one that is quite different. For the Mirror says, “But it’s fair to say that his unusual contract may well have hindered his development at Barcelona and has resulted in the Gunners signing a 25-year-old work-in-progress as opposed to the finished article fans were expecting.
“It’s also fair to say that Suarez isn’t what Emery – who worked closely with him as a youngster – was expecting when he made the Spaniard his no.1 target this January.”
Now the Mirror also doesn’t explain what it means by that last paragraph – that is how the article ends. But it clearly implies that Mr Emery and his team were sloppy in sorting out the deal, not checking on how often Suarez has played, how fit he was etc and the background of the deal. Arsenal in short were conned – and since this is a regular Daily Mirror theme – not for the first time.
This approach indeed is not at all unusual for the Mirror’s website Football.London which publishes on average ten Arsenal stories an hour throughout the day. Arsenal cock-up is one of their main themes.
But it is interesting to see here just how they made that story up while pretending that they are simply quoting from a reliable Spanish source. For returning to the SPORT version what we find is the notion that the clause is normal – they speak of “contracts of this type”.
However there is something else going on here as well, which the Mirror avidly avoids in order to continue its daily support of Manchester City. For a more careful analysis reveals a rather concerning trend.
The City Group which own Manchester City also own New York City, Melbourne City, Yokohama F. Marinos, Club Atlético Torque (from Uruguay), Girona (playing in La Liga, with City owning 44.3% and Pep Guardiola’s brother owning the same amount), Girona C (previously known as Segona Catalona), and Sichuan Jiuniu (of China).
There is also much media chatter that City Group are currently in negotiation with Estoril and Boavista of Portugal (they will obviously only make a bid for one of them), and French club AS Saint-Étienne.
One of the worries that we have expressed on Untold over the years is that this worldwide ownership of clubs by a middle east power, will lead to new methods of trading, and that the power of the group will itself make occasional methods of trading within football quickly become established as the norm in football, simply because it is what City group does.
Of course as noted above the original Spanish commentary on our loanee is that the details of the deal are commonplace – it is the Mirror that suggests otherwise – and it is certainly possible that this approach is becoming normal because it is spreading around the growing power of the City group network of eight clubs.
Certainly this approach of payment for games played (which of course has been around for a long time, and dates back to the deal that Sir Henry Norris did with the signing of Charlie Buchan in 1925 through which Buchan himself earned an additional fee for each goal he scored in his first season at Arsenal) can seriously hinder the development of loanee players.
We have regularly looked at the multiple number of players that Chelsea have on loan (38 at the last count), and the way their activities have led to a one year transfer ban being imposed on the club. Chelsea’s problem is that they have been signing under age children, while the City Group’s actions relate to signing players that they don’t want or need anywhere within the group, and incorporating an additional cost on players for each game played is a way of controlling multiple players, and restricting their ability to play (or of making a huge amount of money if they do play).
Of course it really needs Fifa and Uefa to take action to stop this, so that all transfers are straight and simple: players need to be over 18, and there is a straightforward sale or loan fee from one club to another). But I can’t see that happening. Uefa are still not willing to take on Manchester City over their sponsorship deals relating to the Champions League, so I doubt they will now open up an attack on a second front.
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