Player Power

Alan Hansen, ex-Liverpool soccer player and current BBC pundit expresses his interpretation on a situation currently affecting Everton here.

Manchester City, North-West rivals of Everton and recent beneficiaries of Middle-East wealth beyond imagination, have publicly pursued Everton defender Joleon Lescott. Lescott has been settled at Everton, a good solid team who perform just behind the ‘big four’ in English soccer, and compete in Europe in the coming season.

Yet Manchester City, who won’t be competing in Europe this season, are proving to be too strong an attracting force for Lescott. Rumours are that City will double Lescott’s salary, and a player at the age of 27 (footballers tend to last until their early to mid-30s) would surely jump at an opportunity at this stage of his career to double his money.

Hansen also suggests that the current impasse (Everton unwilling to sell, Lescott contracted) is indicative of the current state of player power in the English Premiership. Twenty years ago a player would have had little say in the matter and would have had to carry on playing at Everton – power was with the clubs. Now, Lescott supposedly has much more power.

The essential difference is that now, once Lescott’s contract is up, he can leave Everton without Everton receiving a fee, whereas in the past, any club seeking to buy Lescott even after his contract had expired would have to pay Everton a fee. Which is what makes Everton’s situation weaker since they will lose the player without compensation eventually, but they could cash in right now.

The upshot of the furore, short term, Hansen also reports, is that Everton were in disarray on the opening day of the Premiership season last Saturday, and were thrashed 6-1 at their own stadium by a rampant Arsenal.

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