Football transfers, new signings and the importance of being liked

Ally Moncrieff is back with some more heartfelt football writing. This time on why football transfers need to make the right impression with fans…

‘We need a box to box midfielder’, ‘if we don’t sign a striker I’m not renewing my fucking season ticket’, ‘I’d swap members of my immediate family for a half decent centre back’. These are not uncommon utterances amongst football fans, a version of them may even have fallen from your own mouth, it’s understandable, you see an obvious problem with your football team and logic dictates there must be an obvious solution.

Everybody loves a new signing, their arrival is filled with nothing other than the promise of goals and glory. It’s worryingly easy to spend hours poring over the strengths and weaknesses of your new addition, YouTube videos and the rise of in depth blogging mean that before your next no.9 is pictured draped in the club colours, standing on the edge of the pitch you will already know that he has a tendency to drift into wide positions which can confuse the opposition defence but also leave the attack without a focal point, it’s the age of information and it pays to do your research. But one crucial attribute is almost always overlooked, the players likeability. Continue reading

This Summer’s Transfer Window is a Theme Park to be Enjoyed

Football Transfer Land edit

With players and managers switching up clubs across Europe, Greg Johnson argues that in the absence of a fixture list this summer is an attraction in its own right

Forget your suitcase, sun cream and tickets to paradise. With the major leagues of Europe settled for another season, there’s only one holiday resort for spectators marooned in the summer sun without their weekly football fix.

As the contents of the gossip columns bubble up and spill out into headlines and speculative editorials, it feels almost like the transfer hype-machine has become self-aware with supercharged anticipation. And while it’s easy to dismiss football’s fallow months as “silly season”, this summer’s transfer window is set to be a veritable theme park of landmark signings and thrill ride rumours.

Ignore the cartoon-fronted micro-nations of pleasure built on the swamps of Florida and dig in for June, July and August. With the full roster of the Premier League richer than ever, tensions growing between the established elite and their potential usurpers, and a palpable sense of change sweeping through the dugouts of Europe, for once the off-season looks likely to deliver on the preposterous horse-trading usually reserved for football fantasies and video games.

Welcome to Football Summer Transfer Land, the theme park resort where fan and agent dreams of ridiculous deals come true before your eyes. A Twitter account rather than a plane fare is all that’s required to make the trip: visitors needn’t even leave their homes. Continue reading

Götze to Bayern: 10 other deals with dodgy contract clauses and transfer fees


With the European scene reeling from the news that Bayern have secured Dortmund’s hottest property, Greg Johnson looks at past transfers and contract wrangles that have left fans scratching their hands or worse…

The only thing more shocking than the timing and ruthless nature of Bayern Munich’s swoop for Mario Götze was the size of the release fee clause that allowed it.

At £31.5M it’s hardly an insignificant fee, but with the 20-year-old Götze perhaps the most highly rated youngster in European football, it’s an unforgivably low amount considering the price tags attached to the likes of Gareth Bale and paid for in the case of Javier Pastore.

Heartbroken by what feels like a technicality created by oversights and complacency with the paperwork, Dortmund’s Champions League flourish will now be punctured by the impending defection of their best player to their worst, competitive enemy (Schalke not withstanding). Jurgen Klopp isn’t the first coach to suffer the pain of badly written contract clauses and perplexing transfer decisions.

Below are 10 varieties of player moves that came to pass through underhand tactics, poor decision making, disloyalty and sheer stupidity. Continue reading