This morning Tottenham Hotspur manger Andre Villas-Boas has revealed some of the things that went on behind the scenes at Spurs all summer.
And it wasn’t that pretty.
Despite wishing his former star player Gareth Bale all the best as he swapped Tottenham for Real Madrid in a record breaking transfer last weekend, AVB has suggested that the 24-year-old Welsh international put the London club under intense pressure to make his dream move a reality.
“The pressure we were subjected to by the player has been intense,” Villas-Boas said to the media after attending a coaching summit at UEFA’s headquarters in Switzerland. “The influence of Real Madrid has been very big and you get to a point where you have to consider if it’s feasible not to accept an offer and whether you can press on with a player in that state of mind.”
But despite the pressure Bale piled on Tottenham to get the deal done, AVB accepted that Real Madrid’s new attacker ultimately had the right to decide his future.
“Obviously, we should be happy with the transfer fee that was paid,” Villas-Boas said. “Players want to win championships and I believe that with Gareth that is within reach. At the end of the day, it’s up to a player to decide if he wants to stay or wants to go.”
The Portuguese manager is right, Bale does have a choice.
Yet this summer has seen the choice of the player in a potential move become more and more complicated, compared to the past. We won’t take this ‘player power struggle’ all the way back to the famous Jean-Marc Bosman ruling back in 1995 — a landmark victory for players as they were given the power to decide which club they would sign for when a contract ended with their current side — but with the transfer saga’s of Bale, Luis Suárez and Wayne Rooney dominating the summer, the players have been put in their place.
Back in ’95 the Bosman ruling allowed players to move freely after their contract had ended, but Bale, Suárez and Rooney all wanted early exits despite being under contract at Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester United respectively. Over the past few years the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka all wanted moves away from their clubs whilst under contract and they got their wish.
However the summer of 2013 marked a period when the clubs fought back. They were sick and tired of being dictated to by players.
Manchester United decided they wanted Rooney to stay and Liverpool likewise with Suárez. And it’s not just in England, look over to the Bundesliga in Germany where Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski demanded a move for Bayern Munich…. only for Dortmund to block the move. That stance cost Dortmund a transfer fee as Lewandowski can leave for nothing next May.
In the end Gareth Bale got his way. But the clubs are fighting back.