The connotations are ugly. It draws an image of gratuitous opportunism. The blackmailer is the undeserving have-not taking advantage of those who have. It plays on a certain weakness that resides in the nature of the have which allows them to be taken advantage of.
When Chelsea went after Shaun Wright-Phillips I’d visit Man City sites and I’d read things like “we should ask for Â£20m or Â£35m or Â£40m plus Duff and Gudjohnsen”. Similarly with the Essien debacle, Aulas was talking about Â£35m because he was as good or better than Gerrard. Before that was Drogba at Marseille where they wanted the money went up and up in spite of a record that showed only one top class season. During the Arnesen incident Spurs were saying it should be umpteen million plus Parker and Bridge. There was even a story that Chelsea should continue paying Â£20k\week of Parker’s wages too because otherwise their wage structure would be broken.
The point being, the obsession with money and huge transfer fees belongs to other clubs. When Chelsea come calling the cash-registers roll in the eyes and they see a payday coming, hoping to leech more and more. All these are the demands of blackmailers – when the figure is met it isn’t enough and more is asked again.
Rafa Beneathus is constantly poor-mouthing Liverpool because they blew their Champions League wad on paying Gerrard to stay (Â£6m\year) and can’t afford except misfits now. He can’t open his mouth without saying how little money he has left – yet Cisse and Morientes are thrown on the scrap-heap along with yet another Spanish failure like Josemi or Nuno Gomez. But money remains the obsession of those without it – not those with it.
The extent to which money really is killing the game is the number of outright blackmailers who inhabit Liverpool and Lyon and Marseille and Man City and Spurs and Blackburn and Milan. They do this and blame the club with the money for having enough to pay the blackmailers off – more fool Chelsea in all honesty. Clubs have been turned down before, like in the Parker example above, but when it’s a particular player Chelsea want they go the whole hog. Even Shevchenko was refused at silly prices before, but agreed to when the price got down to Â£30m.
Now it’s Arsenal’s turn. This player is worth about Â£6-8m in a free market, but has a buy-out clause of Â£16m. Word is coming out that the buy-out clause applies to anyone bar Chelsea, for whom they require Â£20m, Â£25m even Â£30m. Their greed precedes them. The price varies, not according to what he’s worth, but according to what can be leeched. They harp on that Cashley is the greedy one, but don’t let that stop the meter running up ever higher.
But look at Arsenal sites and they’re all talking about what scum Cole is and how he’ll never play for them again. For a club that has to sell, they’re in no position to demand more – they need to sell quick. And if they don’t sell by the time their squad has to be submitted to Uefa, his value reduces. If he were to play in the CL his value either plummets again or Arsenal are forced to retain a player who no-one will accept at the club. Arsenal have no negotiating strength but still feel they can continue to blackmail their price higher and higher.
What we need is a club to stand up against the greed of the blackmailers, wherever they appear. A club that can uphold the standards of honour that this noble game is built on. That club can only be Chelsea.
Turn down the opportunity to buy Cole. Make Arsenal forgo the Â£30m, Â£25m, Â£16m or more realistic valuation of Â£8m and leave them with a destabilised player who may never play for them again. That’ll teach these blackmailers not to hold money above all else. Chelsea must save the game from itself.