ANOTHER winter and the chatter around Erling Haaland is recycled again by his agent Mino Raiola.
The 21-year-old Norwegian forward provided an explosion of goals for Molde, Red Bull Salzburg and, currently, Borussia Dortmund.
His father and guide Alf Inge Haaland, once from Leeds, placed his boy with Raiola probably because he realized he had quite a property in his hands and the agent would maximize it.
Raiola works with some of the best players in the world and is known for his negotiating prowess and fearlessness towards billionaire club owners and football authorities.
So he believes, perhaps rightly, that he can do whatever he wants.
He likes to whisper to his friends in the press about his players. That’s why you hear so much about transfer, to begin with, from Haaland, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
But is it true that Raiola and her guy should be leading a Dutch auction?
It probably breaks FIFA rules and does nothing for the reputation of football. This is further proof that the agents are out of control.
Most players don’t seem to mind being treated like commodities on the exchange. Would you, if like Pogba, earn Â£ 290,000 a week? Or Cristiano Ronaldo, whose agent is Jorge Mendes, with Â£ 480,000 a week?
Entire clubs could operate on annual payrolls like these. They mean a few ultra-rich clubs dominate and will continue to do so for years to come. I’m not necessarily opposed to it, but I have the impression that some top agents are screwing up the market.
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And I’m sorry to say we have to put up with it until clubs like Dortmund shut them down.
They never will, of course, because their business plan is to buy teenage prodigies and sell them for exorbitant prices. It looks like Fifa has woken up and is committed to taking action.
On Wednesday, the Football Stakeholders Committee and the Fifa Council proposed “to eliminate or at least reduce the abusive and excessive practices which have unfortunately existed in football”.
They aim to cap commissions, estimated at 3% of a player’s salary and 10% of transfer fees.
They would also arrest an agent representing all parties, two clubs and one player, on a transfer. Raiola has been paid off by Manchester United, Juventus and Pogba in the United midfielder’s transfer.
He is believed to have earned Â£ 41million.
Another agent is said to have taken Â£ 10million on a Â£ 16million sale.
It’s bloody on a large scale and although I know a number of fairly scrupulous agents, they should be ordered to publish all the details of their transactions – not quite revolutionary for an occupation that cost Â£ 500million. at play last season.
Raiola, Mendes and Co are already threatening legal action if Fifa continues with its plans.
And maybe the player unions will wake up nicely and support their players.
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