Rooney’s Wages?

October 20, 2010

"Who's Chris Smalling, Boss?"

Seasoned Fergie-watchers were rather taken aback by his recent press conference. Usually, when Ferguson issues his diktats, they’re a brusque run down of the world, according to Sir Alex and that’s your lot. However, on the 19th October (Tuesday), they were treated to a, quite frankly, masterful performance by the old stager. Sir Alex Ferguson, the man who kicked out David Beckham, Jaap Stam and Paul Ince because he didn’t quite like the cut of their jib, played the role of the stunned and spurned father.

Of course, Ferguson is none of the kind, he’s the most ruthless operator in the game and he knows that Rooney is lost to him and his club, so he’s spinning the events to suit his agenda, which is to win the PR war.

To some degree, this has been largely successful; the story reverberating around sport is that Mr Rooney is a selfish, money grubbing chav, more concerned with the size of his pay packet than playing the beautiful game for the club that nurtured him through the tough times and the good times (not Everton).

As ever, I suspect that the truth lies somewhere in-between Ferguson’s press conference and the view expressed above. There’s no doubt that money is a major factor for Rooney to consider, compared to some top level footballers, Rooney is paid a pittance at a mere £90,000 a week. Of course, this is no small change, even for Manchester United, but when you consider that a player as average as Yaya Toure is estimated to be earning in excess of £180,000 a week at Eastlands, you can see why Rooney may be agitating for a transfer. Whatever you think of Rooney, there’s no denying that he’s a World footballer in the same league as Messi, Ronaldo and Kaka and if he feels he should be paid a wage comparable to theirs, well, you can’t blame him for that.

Personally, I’m not sure that the money is as important to Rooney as it’s made out to be. Rooney has made multiple millions over his career to date, the simple question is how much more money does a player need? Speaking from a small amount of personal experience I’m of the opinion that after a point money becomes less about acquiring things and becomes more about a measurement of your status and importance to the organisation you work for. Does Rooney want more money? Undoubtedly so, but when he grumbles about Manchester United not showing enough ambition in the transfer market, I believe him and I believe that this is the main reason for his wanting to move away.

Compared to other clubs, both in the Premiership and Europe, Manchester United haven’t competed as far as transfers are concerned. Naturally players have come in, but I can imagine that it’s difficult for Rooney to get excited about someone like Chris Smalling or Bebe, especially when Manchester City have been signing players like James Milner, David Silva and Mario Balotelli.

I don’t blame Rooney for wanting to leave if I was in his shoes I’d do the same. Rooney knows his worth as a player and as a commercial entity and in the era of “Player Power”, that’s the only knowledge a player needs.

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What’s It Worth?

January 27, 2010

Recently, I got involved in a heated discussion with Mike about the value of Carlos Tevez. Mike is of the opinion that Tevez was indeed worth the 25.5 million that Manchester City paid for him, I took the “Neville” view that Tevez is overpriced at 25.5 million.  Both our arguments are redundant in so far as Tevez is worth what somebody is prepared to pay for him, if Manchester City want to pay 25.5 million, then he’s worth that to them. Personally, it seems like a very expensive piece of gesture politics on behalf of Manchester City, but there you go.

While we were arguing, Mike made a point that I find difficult to accept, that being that if a player scores over 20 goals in a season that instantly makes him worth 20 million.  I can understand his point to the degree that if a player scores 20 premiership goals, that will probably spell the difference between mid-table mediocrity and a European campaign next season, which in turn may be worth 20 million to the club, but I fail to see how this can explain the sudden inflation of a players’ value.

Take this scenario, Nottingham Forest get promoted this season, next season, Robert Earnshaw scores 21 Premiership goals (Unlikely I know, but indulge me). Now according to Mike’s theory, Earnshaw’s value will then sky-rocket by some 18 million (at least).  This is a patently ludicrous scenario; Earnshaw isn’t worth 20 million and never will be, even if he scores 40 Premiership goals in one season.

A player’s value isn’t solely based on his performance over the last season, it’s based on his performance over his career up to that point and it’s naive to think that his value is only a reflection of what he does on the pitch. If we look at the career of David Beckham, sold to Real Madrid for 25 million, but would Madrid have bothered paying THAT much for him if he wasn’t the most famous footballer on the planet? The sheer clout of Beckham’s appeal in the Far East alone meant that Madrid were able to recoup most of the initial outlay through shirt sales alone.

So back to Tevez, is he actually worth 25.5 million? Well, as I’ve said before, that’s really for Manchester City to decide. Tevez managed roughly 1 goal every 3 games in all competitions for Manchester United (34 goals in 99 appearances, 19 of those goals are in the Premiership), so following Mike’s own logic, not even Mike thinks he’s worth 25 million. As Tevez scored roughly 10 Premiership goals per season at Manchester United, doesn’t that make Tevez worth around 12 million?