10 July 2017

Ghana: Footballers Selling Like Slaves?

Photo: Daily Monitor
FIFA world cup trophy.

In Europe, football club chief executives and chairmen are the busiest and most-sought-after people at this time of the year. It is the time to pull the chequebooks, doll out big sums of money and capture the most-prized footballing talents.

Their cohorts? The football agents - Mino Raiola and Jorge Mendes being the super stars - are usually their company for lunch and many business meetings.

This is business as usual ahead of every new football season in the major European leagues.

In late June, the UK's Sun newspaper published that Raiola and Mendes were the two most powerful agents in the game. "The pair represents an array of talent which includes many of the world's best players," the Sun wrote - a fact that is so clear to every follower of the game.

Raiola represents Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played for Manchester United last season; Henrikh Mkhitaryan, current Manchester United midfielder and Paul Pogba, another Manchester United midfielder, who is currently the world's most expensive footballer.

On the other hand, Mendes is the agent of Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, current world best footballer and Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United's Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea.

The two super agents, in particular, are sending tongues wagging about the way they manage to pull off deals, prompting many to question whether they are not sending the world back to the days of slavery.

The order of the day is agents are demanding premium fee for their clients, even if that player's actual value is half of what is being demanded.

A year ago, it was Raiola's boy Pogba, who was in the headlines when Manchester United pulled off the most expensive transaction, signing him for 89 million pounds.

This year, it is another of his boys - Romelu Lukaku. The bulky Everton and Belgium striker is being valued in the region of 75 million pounds, up from his suggested value of 50m pounds in 2016.

In the case of Lukaku, it was so certain he was heading for Chelsea in London until Thursday morning when Manchester United appeared to have snatched him from the grips of Chelsea.

In the following paragraphs, let's take a look at two of the footballers who are likely to change clubs this transfer window and how their prices are rising faster than sprinter Usain Bolt's 10.4 metres per second speed.

Romelu Lukaku

A BBC report said on Thursday morning that Manchester United had agreed a fee of around £75m with Everton for striker Lukaku.

Lukaku is a client of agent Mino Raiola, who also looks after Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan - three players all signed by United last summer.

The 24-year-old Belgium international scored 25 Premier League goals last season.

It had been thought Lukaku would return to his former club Chelsea, who he joined from Anderlecht in 2011. The striker was sold to Everton for £28m by Mourinho during the Portuguese manager's second spell in charge of Chelsea in 2014, BBC reported.

This means that in three years, Lukaku's price has increased by 268 per cent.

Lukaku, according to transfermarket.com, should be worth 50 million euros.

Naby Keita

Liverpool has been heavily linked with a big-money move for Naby Keita, the RB Leipzig midfielder.

According to skysports, the 22-year-old played an integral role in Leipzig's surprise challenge for the Bundesliga title, with the club finishing second behind Bayern Munich and qualifying for next season's Champions League in the process.

Skysports further writes that Keita was born in the Guinean capital of Conakry but left his hometown club of Horoya AC to join French club FC Istres in 2013, aged 18. An impressive campaign in Ligue 2 followed, after which he joined Austrian outfit Red Bull Salzburg in the summer of 2014.

Keita's impressive two-year spell in Austria saw him move to newly-promoted German team Leipzig for £9.35m. The 22-year-old was integral to Leipzig's push for the title, and while they finished 15 points behind Bayern, the club secured a second-placed finish ahead of Dortmund and Hoffenheim, reports skysports.

This has catapulted Keita to the extent that last week he was purportedly valued at £50 million. If the valuation is correct, then this is a whopping 535 per cent in his value since the summer of 2016.

Meanwhile, transfermarket.com's valuation of the player is 27 million euros.

Alvaro Morata

Before Thursday, Manchester United was understood to have prioritised Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata.

According to Goal, Real Madrid had been demanding €90 million (£79m/$102m) for Morata, who had become Jose Mourinho's first choice to replace top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic and outgoing captain Wayne Rooney up front.

This was after having an €80m bid rejected by the Champions League winners earlier last week.

But according to transfermarket.com, Morata should not currently be worth more than 40 million euros.

Kylian Mbappe

Another frequently talked about player is Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe, who was one of French club Monaco's superstars during the last season.

It is reported that the teenager will command a world record fee, believed to be in the region of £114.5m, if they want to prise him away from the Principality.

The 18-year-old Monaco forward is dubbed "the new Thierry Henry" and ripped up many defences in Ligue 1 all season.

Even though the 2016/2017 season was his breakthrough season, he scored 26 goals in all competitions, including 15 in the French Ligue

Transfermarket.com values at 30 million euros.

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