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Transfer sagas : Footballer-trafficking is not what it was

1 week ago

Thanks in no small measure to George Eastham and Jean-Marc Bosman, players can no longer be bought and sold like second hand cars without having any say in the matter.

Which brings us to the current Sven Botman saga (or soap opera).

There seem to be two conflicting theories as to the cause of the impasse.

The first is that Lille keep trying to bump up the price and Newcastle United are baulking at paying any kind of Newcastle tax.

The second, and the more likely, is that Botman has set his heart on going to Milan and the prospect of Champions League football.

The added attraction of Milan over Newcastle, especially if one factors in the possible WAG element, being posher housing, high end shopping (Milan is the fashion capital of Italy ) and La Scala, as opposed to Darras Hall, Eldon Square and the Sage.

That being so, is it not possible that Botman and AC Milan will try to run the transfer window clock down so that Lille will be faced with losing out on that £30million?  Newcastle will by then of course – if Newcastle United have the good sense with which they are credited – have long since baled out of the deal.

There are too many recent examples of clubs flunking their transfer window in spending too long on difficult transfers. The risk for Sven Botman is that he may find himself stuck in Lille for another season but the gamble will be that Lille will cave in at the last, especially if AC Milan jack up their offer a bit, rather than saying adieu to that much-needed dosh.

It’s all a bit like a cross between House of Cards and Footballers Wives. Great fun if you like this sort of soap opera to go with the usual close-season rumour blizzard. Or do we not feel a twang of nostalgia for the more simple days of footballer-trafficking?

(Retired journalist who saw his first game at SJP on March 24, 1951 – Newcastle 1 Liverpool 1)


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