Arrival of foreign legion may tip the balance for Spurs
Platini’s misgivings can be ignored as Spurs’ transfer dealings are strictly within Uefa’s current rules
Erik Lamela: The former Roma striker is just one of several big-monely signings to arrive at White Hart Lane this summer. Photo: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters
There was a time when Michel Platini made you sigh with a smile. That was when Platini was patrolling midfields for Juventus and France in the mid-1980s. What a player.
Now, though, Platini just makes you sigh. This is the man running European football, who yesterday morning decreed that Gareth Bale’s €100 million transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid equated to “robbery”.
Platini sounded as if it had just come to his attention that transfer fees were really getting quite high and that some characters were making a bit out of them in commission. What an administrator.
Something must be done. That was the gist of Platini’s response. The transfer window may be moved, he suggested, without sounding wholly convincing that he could be convincing in persuading acceptance of such a change.
That less is more – less time, more pressure hence more cash – seems not to have struck those who designed the transfer window system. But the Bale fee has hit them now.
Unsurprisingly, Platini, a man who thinks Qatar is a suitable place to stage a World Cup, defended Real Madrid’s right to pay €100 million. That Real are exposing the flimsiness of alleged Financial Fair Play is not the issue.
It’s Tottenham Hotspur. What Platini and others do not like is Tottenham demanding €100 million. This is the larcenous part.
Arsene Wenger phrased it differently. Prior to tomorrow’s north London derby, Wenger said of Madrid and Bale: “They (Real) are very generous.
“I don’t think that prices are linked with the quality of the players at all. This summer especially. The prices today are just linked with the financial power and the desire of the buyer.”
Wenger, possibly with his tongue probing his cheek, then questioned Tottenham’s ambition.
But then the man who sold Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri and so on is well-placed to speak on this topic.
Wenger also felt that Spurs might unbalance their team and squad by selling Bale – scorer of 21 Premier League goals last season, roughly 30 per cent of Spurs’ total – and replacing him with six major signings so far and maybe one to follow.
This, too, verged on irony for many Arsenal fans.
Drawn in a Champions League group against Borussia Dortmund, Napoli and Marseille, Wenger has just re-signed Mathieu Flamini and is talking up the merits of the returned Niklas Bendtner. His last league goal for Arsenal was in December – 2010.
Roberto Soldado, meanwhile, scored last week for Tottenham and the week before. Soldado cost £26 million, which is not a snip. Paulinho, £17 million Etienne Capoue, £8.5 million, Vlad Chiriches, £8.5 million and Nacer Chadli, £6 million, have joined the Spanish striker at White Hart Lane.