In his second Exclusive Column for caughtoffside, super-agent Rob Segal lifts the lid on what’s really going on in British football.
The football world has finally realised why Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in the first place, which was to get his name out there so he couldn’t just ‘disappear’. You cannot make billions from millions in such a short space of time. But football took the money and now it’s in this mess.
It would be good if Nick Candy and other British businessmen and women started buying back football clubs because what is happening now is that a foreign owner comes in, with new foreign money coming in, but in fact, all that money is doing is going out.
I think when it comes to British managers, they’re every bit as good as foreign candidates but because the clubs are foreign-owned, they bring in a foreign director of football who in turn bring in foreign coaches. For instance, if Nick Candy does buy Chelsea, I think he would be thinking more of an English infrastructure.
Just look at them now – Chelsea has brought in Bruce Buck. Who is Bruce Buck? He’s almost just a cardboard cutout that they bring out and stand up when the teams come out.
Everton for example, let’s make no bones about this – The reason Everton is in such a mess is because of their owner. Everton had people, well-respected footballing people, like Marcel Brands, who took the blame for poor signings, but they were the owner’s signings who listened to a Brazilian agent and the club started buying players he recommended and everyone in football knew it.
To a certain degree, the same thing has happened at Arsenal with the same Brazilian connection at director level. When are these clubs going to learn? In fact, the only people who truly care about the clubs are the fans!
But going back to Chelsea and any potential transfer business they may look to do. I think Declan Rice is slightly snookered now. He was going to go back to Chelsea – that was the worst kept secret in the industry but Chelsea isn’t in the same position now, obviously. Rice still has a good while left on his contract, two years with West Ham having an option for another, so he is in a bit of a tricky spot now.
Manchester City don’t need him because they’re well served in that position, at least for another season, and are Manchester United up for it? – With Paul Pogba going for nothing will they end up paying West Ham, on a good day, £80m for Rice? – That would be amazing business by the Glazers, wouldn’t it?
I know Rice’s valuation is well over £150m, but there is a valuation and then there is what the market is willing to pay. However, in any case, when you include everything else, such as wages, a club is still looking at a good £100m, and I don’t know who is going to pay that. Football, financially, isn’t back to what it was.
If a club is going to be paying that much for a player and paying him £150,000-per week, maybe more, and they’ve got him for a couple of months before the players leave for the World Cup in Qatar in November, potentially a club is going to be paying a player’s wage for eight weeks and not even have the player.
I wonder whether or not the traditional big signings we usually see in the summer window will actually happen during the January window instead.
And on the subject of internationals – Harry Maguire was the big talking point this week after he got booed by large sections of England fans at Wembley.
I think he got booed because fans realise that if you’re not playing well, you shouldn’t be playing for England and just because you play for Manchester United shouldn’t automatically entitle you to a cap.
Maguire has played poorly all season. He’s always played well for England but I thought the checklist was that you had to play well for your club before being called up to represent your country but that appears not to be the case if you’re Harry Maguire.
He never seems to take the game by the scruff of the neck, so why did he get booed? – Well, I honestly think fans are fed up with averaging players keeping their place in the England team.