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Kylian Mbappe PSG
Kylian Mbappe PSG

Paris Saint-Germain’s signings frenzy

The French team, Paris Saint-Germain, was not the most hungry, but the team that blew to Mercato’s Bubble created by English teams (mostly Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea) in the past couple of season.

We have seen how Pep Guardiola signs a goal-keeper for 35 Millions GBP, Defenders for 50 Millions GBP; how Manchester United paid around 80 Millions GBP for Martial, 100+ for Paul Pogba.

Yet, a skeptic, Barcelona couldn’t believe any team would and could come after their star Neymar Junior. But it happened for 222 Million Euros. Of course a jealous Barcelona, who saw one of his stars going, made a claim to the UEFA and La Liga, the same as La Liga’s President, Javier Tebas.

Then late, on the last day of the French market, Kylian Mbappé signed – on loan for a season – for PSG. This later fact made a few teams jealous, but also – we guess – afraid of not been able to compete against a new strong team.

I think financially speaking PSG will be OK, I can’t imagine them signing these players and risking – again – a sanction without doing their homework first.

The real question is: Does the Financial Fair-play actually works?

Personally I don’t think it does. It was an illusion of the UEFA trying to protect Football, when they were actually only protecting the BIG teams who can afford to buy players for a cheap price and impose ridiculous clauses on them, like the 222 Millions on Neymar, believing that nobody else could then buy them.

The Manchester teams, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid and lately Mónaco, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich were paying 20, 40, 50 or even 80 millions like it was nothing and this summer was just the ultimate proof of the need of a regulated football market.

Some of you might remember the days of the NBA were you could watch Jordan, Shaquille, Barkley or Ewing on TV, among other great stars of their time. Those days, season after season (not only in NBA but also other US Sports) we used to see threats of strikes due to salary issues. Finally, in 98-99 the NBA season was reduced to 50 games due this Lockout; similar to the 2011 lockout where the season got shorten from 82 games to 66 after reaching another agreement to replace the CBA that expired on 2005.

As much as I love sports in general, I ‘admire’ how US sports are managed with all kind of rules to make it competitive for all teams; this is mostly beneficial for fans of all teams.

In Europe, and probably worldwide, we should enforce controls over Player’s Value in the market, duration of contracts and clauses to insure the clubs and players respect those contracts.

Speculation inflates the prices; if I bid 50 and another team bids 60, they ask for 70 or why not a 100 millions?
This is crazy. How about having an Entity, an official board of professionals of this sport, who prices the player based on age, season as pro, achievements and other metrics?

Then also enforcing contracts to be met, where a player can only negotiate with another IF his current team agrees, this if earlier than 12 months before his contract comes to an end. Which is similar to what we have at the moment but not really respected.

Reaching the end of his contract or within the last 12 months of employment, if the player is eager to leave, he has to inform his management to be able to begging negotiations with potential teams.

The above and many other ways or forms of controlling and making football more competitive within leagues and across leagues have to come or we will see how it becomes more and more a mercenaries business rather than a true ‘feel the colours’ attitude.

It’s easy to point fingers at one team like PSG buying strong players this season, but don’t forget that the Premier League has been spending large for many years. Leaving the same top 5 – 6 teams always on top of the PL, with the exception of Leicester’s dream season of course.

The issue is not who or how they spend that much money, where 120 Million GBP for a 19 years old player, like Dembélé from Dortmund to Barcelona, looks normal. The real issue is how to keep it competitive; how to add more controls and how to evaluate players to pay their real value in the market and not the selling team’s caprice.

In the end it should be up to the player’s decision to play here or there, without prejudice of their current team, by paying the clause – yes yes, like nowadays – but the fact is that these clauses are like throwing a stone in a lake: let’s see how many bounces it does and if someone can do better.

Thoughts of Lucas Lebleu