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Agents: Their role, and what they bring to the table

Siddarth Monday, November 1, 2010

Rooney and his agent Paul Stretford

Sid's note: The following article is a contribution from my good friend Chris, and hopefully this will be the first of several more from a writer who's a devout follower of almost all major football leagues in Europe. Below, Chris takes a look at Agents and their role in arm twisting clubs to get what their clients, the player wants.

Football has had agents for decades, they are hired primarily to ensure that their clients get what they would ideally want, but the question is ‘are they needed, and are they damaging the modern game?’

Agents can be regarded as helpful in terms of players finding new clubs and unemployed managers being able to find jobs. However, it’s 2010 and one must look at the current situation and ask ‘are agents really needed?’ With the internet, you would easily be able to post out job advertisements and be able to be recruited that way. An agent’s earnings are based on commission and individuals such as Mino Raiola make millions alone on a single transfer for a player like Zlatan Ibrahimovic by merely using the world’s ever increasing player power. The same goes for Wayne Rooney whose agent Paul Stretford who currently is receiving the brunt end of the stick for trying to influence Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney into departing the Manchester based club by making his intentions public. Ultimately, these players got what they wanted, a move for Ibrahimovic, and an extended five year stay for Rooney. However, one must look at this and think ‘do players and agents have too much power?’

Agents may not look like it, but agents have a power that has the potential to be stronger than the club. Agents like Raiola and Stretford are merely looking to make a living, but the amount of strain that it can cause towards football can be quite damning. Ibrahimovic is undoubtedly one of the best strikers in Italy, but that’s not the only thing he’s well known for, just ask Inter and Juventus fans, you will find that he is hated by the Turin and Benemata faithful for being an exceptionally well known traitor. Rooney while is one of the best strikers in England with a 30+ goal tally to his name, however with only 18 months left on his contract he demanded a payrise to an estimate of 250,000 pounds. Whether the amount is deserved is up for debate, but Stretford’s role in ensuring Rooney got this sum of money means he will be one of the most hated men of Old Trafford for the foreseeable future.

An agent’s main role is to ensure that the interest of their clients will always come first, but many agents tend to forget this, people such as Stretford and Raiola tend to do it more for the money involved, an example of how much Paul Stretford really cares for his players is the first account from Andy Cole who had him as his Agent for most of his career. Robben and Ronaldinho have hired loved ones who are more concerned with the player’s well-being than the monetary gains they might receive mostly since they really care about the player.

One can also ask whether an agent is really needed because if one hires an attorney to do their legal paperwork for them, they can ensure that they can get what they want and the attorney in question can just sign the legal documentation to ensure it happens, while an accountant can ensure that they have enough money to spend or are receiving their wages and bonuses. But then, Attorneys and accountants though don’t have the experience and guile to deal with the negotiation process, an Agent is cunning and knows the best move to get the best for his player!

The use of an agent and the power of the agents need to be significantly reduced as well as player power, players being able to force moves and agents being there to help them is not a fair situation for any club, managers such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, David Moyes and Mark Hughes to name a few will be fuming at the fact their players have as much power as they do.

The situation that present day football is shambolic, one can only hope that clubs can find a way to rein in the spiraling power of players and how agents influence them. But if we allow this trend to continue, it’s just going to make Football uglier, gone will be the days of the one club players and club loyalty! We might as well start calling footballers as Mercenaries!!

Note: I'm looking to constantly improve the content of the blog and like all writers would love some feedback on the articles on the blog. feel free to leave some comments or mail me with any suggestions

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