Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Gareth Bale put Spurs under ‘intense’ pressure, but other Premier League stars aren’t getting their way


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.”

(MORE: Gareth Bale discusses “very stressful” transfer saga)

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.

(MORE: Liverpool’s American owner says Luis Suárez is not for sale, Uruguayan wants out)

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.

In “pretty good listener” Klopp, Liverpool has breath of fresh air

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC
Leave a comment

In some ways, all managers are the same: intelligent football men messing around with the puzzle that is winning matches.

But to listen to Jurgen Klopp’s introductory press conference is to get a different view. While some managers sound like they create the puzzles, or even create the game itself, Klopp speaks of the challenge with reverence.

[ MORE: Klopp unveiled as “the Normal One” ]

In other words, it seems unlikely we will be hearing him utter phrases designed at painting himself as a Picasso of the pitch, rather that of a museum curator.

For example, here’s the new Liverpool boss on the club’s history.

From JPW on Merseyside:

“Twenty-five years ago [since the last league title] is a long time,” Klopp said. “History is only the base for us, [we shouldn’t] keep the history in our backpack all day. I want to see the first step next week and not always compare with other times. This is a great club with big potential. Everything is there. Let’s try to start a new way. Everything is different – I don’t know it all but I’m a pretty good listener.”

The “normal one” speaks like an honor student, not the know-it-all professor demanding students regurgitate facts from the book he wrote and tossed on the syllabus.

And perhaps this is the manner in which the Reds will add a new, positive chapter to their storied history.

Kreis, Schmid dismiss Messing’s job switch comments

Sigi Schmid
Leave a comment

Broadcaster and New York soccer hero Shep Messing caused quite a stir with his comments during the Red Bulls/Impact match on Wednesday, and those words have cause plenty of reaction in MLS.

If you missed it, Messing claims that New York City FC is ready to move on from Jason Kreis after just one season, and that Seattle coach Sigi Schmid is set to swap jobs with the NYC boss.

Messing also claims that Caleb Porter could end his disappointing run in Portland to head back to college soccer.

Kreis and Schmid disagree. The latter says he loves the Sounders and is committed to bringing an MLS Cup to Seattle. Kreis was just flabbergasted.


“I was watching the game last night, and it caught me completely by surprise. I thought that was an absolutely ludicrous statement and unfounded,” Kreis said after training Thursday. “I have no knowledge of that information at all, and I kind of scratch my head because at the end of the day I’m very happy here.”

So is there any truth here? The Porter part makes sense, especially if the Timbers fail to make the postseason again and the brash coach wishes to go back to a place where he’s had success.

As for Schmid and Kreis, that’s a curious one. Maybe NYC’s star studded roster would like a change, and Schmid has more success with big egos. And Kreis would thrive just about anywhere, but why would NYC ditch a man who built this from scratch? They’ve invested so much in the ex-RSL legend.