Twenty four year old Togo and Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor did little to end the speculation about his possible transfer to Milan yesterday.
At a press conference he seemed to clarify the position by saying, “I have a good contract, we have a good team there and I’m playing for one of the biggest teams in the world. The most important thing for me is to keep on enjoying my football. I’m staying at Arsenal.”
Later on, after the conference he was asked by Sky Sports if there was any chance of a move to Milan. Adebayor replied: “Nothing has been decided yet. We will decide next week.”
So, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clear then. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stayingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦goingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦who knows?
With Flamini already departed for Milan and continued speculation over the future of Hleb, Arsenal fans and, indeed Arsene Wenger, must have been momentarily pleased and relieved after the initial comments.
This saga has some similarities with the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœis he, isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ farce involving the possible move of Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United to Real Madrid.
I have read so many articles criticising the players accusing them of greed and disloyalty amongst other things. On the surface, the behaviour of the likes of Adebayor and Ronaldo when they are on contract at their clubs does snack of a certain amount of immorality.
Having thought about this for a while there are two arguments that I would like to put forward in defence of the players. Firstly there is the media interest and intrusion and secondly there is the rule of supply and demand.
With twenty-four hour coverage of football and a constant demand for news and time filling on so many TV channels the need for players to answer questions is greater than ever before. The players are not often highly educated individuals and despite the probable media training they are given, they are unlikely to always come over well. Every word they say is dissected and analysed and they are asked variations of the same question time and time again.
In those circumstances, how many of us could cope? IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m pretty sure I would either lose my temper or say something controversial just to amuse myself. I had to smile when Cristiano Ronaldo told the assembled press at the Euros that he loved playing in an all white kit. He was being mischievous and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really blame him.
The one thing that Ã¢â‚¬ËœexpertsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, commentators, pundits and Ã¢â‚¬ËœhacksÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ like me have no idea about is what the players and the managers actually say to each other. Everything that we discuss is based on opinion and speculation and the words said by players in pressure filled interviews. For all we know, Ronaldo and Sir Alex, Adebayor and Wenger, may have all had a nice chat and know exactly what is going on.
In the past we had just the newspapers to bring us transfer news and speculation and players were rarely grilled by the media in the way they are now. It is impossible to say that todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s players are any worse than before because the players in the past were living in a very different world.
My second point about supply and demand is that it is not the fault of the players that clubs throughout Europe are prepared to spend stupid amounts of millions of euros to buy them and pay them.
I would challenge almost any individual in any walk of life to refuse an offer of double, treble or quadruple their current salary to remain with their present employers. Throw in a few hundred thousand for a joining fee and I reckon most of us would consider letting down our current boss.
I am simply saying that it is not unreasonable for these young men to carefully consider the option of moving to another high profile club. It is right that they give these ridiculous contract offers a lot of thought and it is difficult to answer dozens of questions from the media every day whilst they are trying to make a decision.
OK, so those are my arguments in defence of the players. I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think of too many more. In reality I think that a contract is a contract and players should be made to honour them in the same way that anyone else who signs a legally binding document would have to do.
It is not right that players seem to be able to hold clubs to ransom in the way that they do but it is not simply a case of the players being bad. There are always two ways to look at things and sometimes it is a useful exercise to think about how we would react in the place of the players.
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