How Barca reserve Yaya Toure was seduced by the whore of world football
I’ve read many frightening stories about footballers in the Sunday papers.
Mostly involving hookers who kid themselves they’re not hookers, telling us how someone who can’t manage to do it twice-a-week on the pitch did it nine-times-a-night on her mattress.
But no tale has scared me as much as the one I read in a sniffy broadsheet, last Sunday, which could have come from the business pages:
“Manchester City’s new £24m signing from Barcelona, Yaya Toure, is being paid £220,000-a-week. His initial wage of £185,000 will rise to £221,000 when the 50% tax rate comes in next April. He is due to receive £4.1m a year after tax, an image rights payment of £1.65m a year and a bonus of £823,000 each time City qualify for the Champions League and £412,000 if they win the competition. He will also get bonuses if the club win the Premier League and the FA Cup. The deal including his transfer fee, wages and bonuses, totals £79.6m.”
Holy. Mother. Of. Jesus. Where will that leave the price of everyone’s season ticket in five years time?
Even more frightening was what that report didn’t say. Toure is not actually that great. He’s not a creative genius who will get backsides off seats but a defensive midfielder who stops players who can.
He wasn’t even a regular at Barcelona, having lost his place to Sergi Busquets. He may not even get a game for City, who already have four highly-rated players to fill that role – Patrick Vieira, Gareth Barry, Nigel de Jong and Vincent Kompany.
And scariest of all, Toure says he only joined City because his agent “told me I had to leave Barcelona”. To add insult to injury the best he could say about his move was “it’s an honour to be playing with my brother Kolo,” before telling Barca that he’d love to go back there if they’ll have him.
If you’re a City fan, I’m guessing you’ll have no problems with the story. It’s proof the Sheikh is more determined than ever to land you the big prizes, and after all those years in United’s shade who could blame you licking your lips at the prospect.
But how do outsiders begin to describe how depressing the implications of this transfer are? I can understand luring the sought-after David Silva to Eastlands for £140,000-a-week, but giving a quarter-of-a-million quid every seven days to a defensive squad player who no other club would have touched for that kind of money and whose name won’t sell shirts, is insanity on a previously unimagined scale.
See how those figures play with Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor’s agents, or the leeway it gives Fernando Torres’s and Didier Drogba’s advisors if they decide to listen to a City offer. What do you reckon, half-a-million-a-week minimum? See how it impacts on other clubs trying to keep pace with wage demands.
See the shaking of parents’ heads when City scouts ask to let their little fella join their academy. See the disillusion on the faces of the City youngsters who won the Youth Cup two years ago.
City aren’t alone. Most Premier League clubs will invest the bulk of their summer spending abroad. They’re just the most extreme example of why England’s national side continue to fare so badly at the big tournaments.
Our clubs sent 106 players to South Africa, and the number has already soared past 110 while the contest is still on. Serie A sent 75, La Liga 57.
Spot the link with England’s woeful performances which showed the lack of quality throughout the squad. We just don’t have the players. Mainly because they’ve had their way blocked by average, over-paid foreign mercenaries.
An objective outsider would look at the obscene amount paid to seduce Toure to England, look at the country’s lamentable showing in the World Cup, and conclude we deserve our misery because we’ve become the whores of world football.
Or hookers kidding themselves they’re not hookers, to be precise.
Barcelona have always told us they’re more than just a football club, they are Catalonia’s national treasure.
But now they’re taking out loans to pay the players’ wages, it’s clear that was a load of sanctimonious cojones.
Not only are they just another football team, they could be just another Portsmouth. I hope they’ve got a tattooed fan with a big bell?
Altogether now “Pay up Barca, Barca pay up.”
Now the World Cup is finishing get ready for your annual July conversation: “Have you heard of this South American/African/Japanese lad we’re supposed to be after”?
“No.”“He’s ace I’m telling ya.”
“How d’ya know? Seen him play a few games, read the scouting reports,heard from the manager about his strengths?”
“Nah. Even better. Seen his YouTube compilation. Three minutes of pure genius. Some cracking goals.”
Well folks, save yourself the bother of watching it. There’ll be ten goals, mostly scored against a team you’ve never heard of in half-empty stadiums, where he’s allowed acres of space – and spends too long on his goal celebration.
All that’s happened is a sad anorak has done a tribute to him to a Killers soundtrack.
My tip: Wait until he hasn’t played the first four league games of the season then, work out why.