I want to talk about the role of the manager at top clubs around Europe and particularly the Premier League. It seems to me that the job now entails trying to get the best out of the players you have and is less about ensuring that those players are the ones that the manager actually wants.
Sunderland manager Roy Keane is looking to make wholesale changes in his team and making a huge admission that he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think his current players are good enough. He has said that he is looking to make Ã¢â‚¬Ëœfive or six signingsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ to assist him in ‘changing history’ at the Stadium of Light. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s half a team!
Keano has had that team for two seasons and they are very definitely his side. HavenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fans got the right to ask how he has managed to build up a side that he himself believes to be not good enough?
The Sunderland manager has also hit out against people who criticise players for showing a lack of loyalty. He points out that when clubs have had enough of you they show you the door and show little loyalty to you after that. It seems that about five or six of the players who helped his club to promotion and survival in the Premier League, are about to find out what he means!
It is reported that Sunderland have approached Tottenham and asked about four of their players. Again, reports suggest that those players may be Steed Malbranque, Pascal Chimbonda, Younes Kaboul and Teemu Tainio. All of these are no doubt fine players, but are they significantly better than what Keano already has? Are they really players that will Ã¢â‚¬Ëœmake historyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢?
With no signings prior to this weekend Keane was hopeful that some of his targeted names might start to arrive at the club very soon. He regards the signings as being important to the future of both the club and himself. He told the Daily Mirror;
“The next two or three weeks are a vital part of the future of Sunderland and my future. I know they are working extremely hard and had some very good bids turned down. It’s all very well trying hard and nearly having these deals. The real dealmakers get over the line. Supporters say we don’t get these deals done and history tells you we don’t, but that’s why I’m here, to change history. I’m confident Niall Quinn can get the deals we’re after, perhaps in the next 48 hours. I want real quality, players who have handled the Premier League. I’m hoping to get five or six players I’m interested in.”
These are strong words from Keano who seems to be trying to apply a considerable amount of upward pressure on his employers. He also seems to be sending a message to the fans that if they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get a lot of new players, it isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t his fault!
Obviously I know that the money men have to agree transfer fees and personal terms and the like, but I would come back to one of the points I made yesterday when I asked what managers actually do now.
In the past, managers would have been having clandestine meetings in motorway service stations where they would sell their vision, ambition and club to the player they wanted to sign. They would tell the player why they were so important to that vision and ambition and do what they could to persuade that player that they should join them.
What Keano has said makes it sound as though he has said to his chairman, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I want him, him and him. Go and get them for me.Ã¢â‚¬Â
It probably isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like that, but surely the manager should have more input into the transfer of players than they appear to have at this time.
It appears that Keane is leaving it all to his chairman. Robert Green is threatening to leave West Ham but hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t spoken to Alan Curbishley about it. Gareth Barry said that Martin OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Neill hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t spoken to him during the whole transfer to Liverpool saga. Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon has been very vocal in the attempts to sign Cristiano Ronaldo but manager Bernd Schuster has said very little. I still question just how much input Mark Hughes had in the attempt to lure Ronaldinho to Manchester City.
Surely a managers job is to build a team and to build team spirit. A huge part of that process is good and open communication with the players and the skill to integrate the right players, both as a footballer and a person, in to that team.
If the managers are having little to do with the actual signing and retention of players, then they canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have the necessary input required to create what they need to be successful.
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