Football Agents: A necessary evil

The transfer of Andrei Arshavin to Arsenal had supposedly been confirmed by the player’s representative even though Arsene Wenger had not known much about it. This is the other side of football agents but are they of great importance to the game?
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The fact that this deal had already been confirmed by his agent even though such representatives can only enter the fray once a fee has been agreed between the two clubs. The agent is then expected a call from either manager of the two clubs before beginning talks with the player.

Arshavin’s representative Dennis Lachter’s comments come at during a time where endless speculation is expected to arise even though 90% is likely to be false as the papers  look to put two and two together to try to make four.

The comments supposedly by Dennis Lachter regarding the confirmed deal of Arshavin shows the ugly side of football. Whether or not he did make them, such comments are not unknown among agents. The Russian playmaker’s value will drop every passing year with the number of potential suitors will follow the same suit. During a time of such financial uncertainty there comes no better time for his player to leave, which if sold for £18million will pocket Lachter a couple of million.

Of course not all agents operate solely for their own financial benefit by inflating the cost of their representative. For the most part most agents look after and give good advice to players careers – from their marketing to the personal side so they can concentrate on playing. Not all players need agents such as the instantly marketable face of Gary Neville or one looking for the quiet life as Paul Scholes.

“Footballers think they need agents – but it’s not the case,” says Gary Neville. “Players need good advice and good accountants – but they don’t need people taking hundreds of thousands of pounds off of them.”

“A guy can go in to a deal and expect to be giving hundreds of thousands or, these days, even millions to an agent. That money’s going out of the game.”

Other players do need them and this is where agents seek to take advantage of them, advising them in making big money moves or leaving boyhood clubs for other lucrative offers and bigger contracts. Agents are looking to find players with potential and which they feel can be involved in high profile transfers hence more agents looking to represent South American and African players.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes agents play an important role in the sport.

“I have worked with agents my whole career and I do not share that opinion,” he said. I am confident that once Gary Neville is a manager, he will change his mind. There are agents who do very well for the players and there are very few who do not do well for the players. There are also some agents who do very well for the clubs, because I have got some players through agents – they have a good eye to identify a player, talk to you about him, you go and watch and find a good player.”

With them it means quicker deals with less complications, their knowledge priceless and all the while hopefully limiting the amount of dodgy dealings and underhand tactics through registration and regulation. However armed with that knowledge they can be aggressive in negotiating a fee and exploiting clubs and  players.

The role of the agent can be of great value but that is when they deal in the interest of the player first however in an economy where cash is king there is bound to be a conflict of interest.

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One thought on “Football Agents: A necessary evil

  1. Dennis Latcher or whoever Arshavin’s agent is, is a bad egg to football world. Arshavin could have made his dream move last summer to barca, but could not, just bcos of selfish interest of this agent(on the amount of money he would earn). Now Arshavin is confused on which club to for.

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