Agent over-involvement – a worrying trend

Stretty News editor Dale O’ Donnell has some examples of agents’ over-involvement with football matters, an increasing trend in the English game.

Football agents in the modern game are spoken about in a derogatory manner. While generalizations are unfair, there are more negative connotations than positives in this business’ public image.

The typical football critic tends to complain about footballer’s wages – an entirely fair point of view. However, it’s important to realise that these footballers have representatives that claim to work in their employer’s interest and that, unfortunately, is not always the case. These agents take a certain percentage off the wages from whoever they represent.

Paul Pogba & Ravel Morrison

Two exciting talents from the Manchester United academy, Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba, have been offered new contracts from the club but have yet to sign them. Sir Alex Ferguson made it clear that Morrison and Pogba’s representatives are trying to influence the pair to look elsewhere to see where they can make most money.

A glance back at the team Sir Alex Ferguson had in 1996 with Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs among others. You will notice how these players accepted their contracts without any hesitation whatsoever – the money wasn’t an issue. Playing for a big club like Manchester United was all that mattered.

Carlos Tevez

The never-ending Carlos Tevez controversy. First of all, he signed a contract at the start of his career which allowed the companies that owned his economic rights to move him to a different club during any transfer window.

In the Premier League, this act is prohibited. A club, West Ham for example, shouldn’t enter an agreement which gives a third party permission to influence the performance of the team. West Ham pleaded guilty for telling a “direct lie” to The FA in order to cover up for Tevez’ representatives, who at the time had Javier Mascherano wrapped up in the same deal. The Hammers were later fined £5.5million due to their player’s arrangements.

When Tevez decided his time at Old Trafford was over he entered the market looking for a new club. Manchester City are believed to have offered over £40million for the player but that money didn’t go to Manchester United. He was still owned by a non-football organisation and the money offered was placed to buy him out completely.

However, Carlos is currently in a similar situation with City after relations between himself and the manager, Roberto Mancini, broke down after a number of uncalled-for events took place. His advisor, Kia Joorabchian, will be on the lookout for the best deal possible.

Wayne Rooney

Paul Stretford is one of many well-known football agents. He founded Proactive Sports Management, which was renamed Formation Group recently. Stretford is also the main representative for Manchester United star and England international, Wayne Rooney.

When Rooney was in the middle of negotiations with United over a new contract in 2010, the centre forward announced that he wanted to leave the club because it lacked ambition. A few days later, he agreed a 5-year deal which is said to earn him around £180,000 per week. Paul Stretford was heavily criticised for his part in these events, especially after Sir Alex Ferguson said he’s “not the most popular man in the world – certainly at our club.”

He got the best deal possible for Rooney and more importantly, himself. Rooney later revealed during a court case that Stretford received 20% of his off-field earnings, an amount the player regarded as being fair.

Ashley Cole

Another controversy in the English game involved Ashley Cole. An England international who was found guilty of making contact with London rivals Chelsea, in 2005, over a possible move without informing Arsenal. The meeting is believed to have been arranged by his agent Jonathan Bernett, who invited Chelsea manager José Mourinho and chief executive Peter Kenyon.

After all of this happening, Cole went on to sign a one-year extension to his contact with Arsenal. However, a year later he was left “trembling with anger” when they offered him £55,000 per week wages to re-new his contract when Chelsea were believed to have first offered £35,000 more than that which caught his attention.

Cole then signed for Chelsea and his wages increased to £120,000, therefore, Arsenal supporters afforded him the nickname ‘Cashley’.

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