During a transfer window, it is pretty inevitable that there will be sagas that drag on, and on, and on, when it comes to the future of certain players and managers, who have been linked with a move away from their current club.
This summer seems to be one of the most prominent yet, with Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph both engineering moves away from their respective clubs, albeit in different ways, with Sterling refusing to sign a new deal and Delph putting pen to paper and declaring his loyalty for Aston Villa, before promptly upping sticks and slithering all the way up the motorway to Manchester.
Today seems to be more about contract renewals and stability for clubs than chopping and changing on the eve of the new Premier League season, with Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini seeing off persistent rumours of the sack and arrival of Pep Guardiola, penning a new deal to keep him installed as manager until 2017.
Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann has also committed his future to his side despite rumours of an impending move to Chelsea, and on paper, will be tied to Diego Simeone’s men until 2019 – but quite if the new deals are actually to ensure the duo remain as player and manager of their respective sides is another matter altogether.
Griezmann will eventually leave Atleti – they are a selling club and he is too good a player not to want to move on to one of the very best sides in Europe. All the new deal will ensure is that the Madrid based side will be rewarded handsomely when he does make the step up – think Luis Suarez and Liverpool. The same thing will happen with hotly rated Valencia star Gaya, who penned a long term deal with the La Liga side only last season, to ensure his immediate future is secure, and that when he does leave, Valencia will get the maximum amount possible for him.
The winger is tailor made for the Premier League, but for now, his future is in La Liga, which is terrible news for Chelsea fans, with the club actually looking like they signed Radamel Falcao because they wanted him, and not as a favour to Jorge Mendes, who would then pay them in kind, facilitating the transfer of the Frenchman. That will not be happening this summer at least.
City and Pellegrini meanwhile are an intriguing case. The club are hardly making their pursuit of Pep Guardiola top secret, and will replace the Chilean come the end of the upcoming season, if success is not achieved – and maybe even then. They are trying to instil the Barcelona method throughout all levels of the club, and what better way to ensure it translates onto the field than bringing Pep in as manager?
The new two year deal for Pellegrini will dampen the speculation for now, making sure that City have some ‘stability’ and their manager has some credibility ahead of the season, and is undeniably a good move. A new contract does not guarantee a manager or a player will stay at a club, it protects both parties and will offer a handsome payout to said manager if something goes wrong – a factor the likes of Andre Villas Boas know all too well.
Of course, you then get players who point blank refuse to sign a new deal, and attempt to engineer a move away from the club – and while David De Gea is not quite at the Raheem Sterling stage yet, it is a glaring example of how clubs can end up stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Do they sell the player as soon as they want to leave or get held to ransom trying to convince them to sign a new deal – and end up having a player who does not want to be at the club? It is not an enviable decision for owners and managers to make.
Louis van Gaal seems to be set on selling De Gea, unwilling to keep a player who does not want to be at the club – or risk losing the £25 million transfer fee should he leave before his deal expires in the summer. According to the Manchester United boss, the number one will not feature for the club during their opening game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur – with the Dutchman handing the nod to new stopper Sergio Romero instead.
United have come a cropper more than any other club this summer when it comes to contracts being renewed – De Gea will not renew his deal, and they have been used by two separate players in order for them to get improved deals at their current clubs.
Both Dani Alves and Sergio Ramos surpassed even contract improver extraordinaire Wayne Rooney, flirting with the Red Devils extensively, putting the feelers out there and batting their eyelashes to the point that United fans were convinced that they were getting a world class right back and central defender. They ended up with neither, but both players managed to get deals so sweet with their new clubs that they are laughing all the way to the bank.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho claimed that for him, the transfer window is now shut, with the Blues boss not keen on having speculation over players once the season starts up again, and while that is a valid point, even he will probably see at least one more player arrive, with Baba Rahman tipped to join the club, replacing Filipe Luis, who arrived this time last year, on a long term contract, only to be shipped out the door.
Luis failed to impress, thus had no future at Chelsea. Should Sterling fail to impress this season, he will have no future at City. The same will go for Pellegrini, who will be axed if they fail to win the league and improve in Europe. Griezmann meanwhile will remain in Madrid for now, but if anyone thinks his new deal really will tie him down until 2019, they don’t understand how contract extensions in football work.