It can happen to any club at any time. A good crop of players can be assembled under a young and promising coach when suddenly one of them ups and leaves for pastures new. Suddenly everyone begins to look at their own situation and ponder if life could be as good, if not better elsewhere.
The news last night that Liverpool were close to agreeing a deal for Southampton striker Rickie Lambert must have been a bitter pill to swallow for their fans. Only days after Mauricio Pochettino resigned to take up the head coach position at Tottenham Hotspur the employees appear to be abandoning ship. With the likely departures of Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Morgan Schneiderlin and Luke Shaw too one of the most improved clubs in the Premier League is going to be decimated.
Elsewhere in football Paris Saint Germain look set to complete a deal with Chelsea for the signing of David Luiz for £50 million. This, the same club, along with Manchester City, who were only a few weeks ago given a conditional fine of £49 million for breaking four of the rules in UEFA’s Financial Fair Play guidelines. The fine has barely impacted on the richest club in world football yet these are the sanctions imposed to prohibit a money dominated game.
There is no room for sentiment in the modern game and it should be no different in this case. Clubs have been ransacked before and have been left to struggle on with good financial gain but lacking the quality on the pitch. However, there is something that really jumps out when you consider two of the top 10 clubs in the English Premier League and their respective plights.
Southampton selling young talent is of course not a new concept. For many years now they have produced fantastic young players who, like Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott, have gone on to play at the very highest level of the game. This though is slightly different. To lose one, maybe two good players at the same time would be hard on any side. To lose the manager and five of the starting eleven in one transfer window is just ridiculous.
The FFP sanctions have been put in place to make football are more level playing field. It is in theory there to aid the plight of the smaller team and to ensure the big clubs are reigned in before complete chaos commences. On evidence thus far it would seem to have failed. Hefty fines, to every club bar a handful, are enough to dissuade them from breaking these rules but surely economies of scale are required. Being punished for breaking the rules is supposed to act as a deterrent from repeating the crime. If the punishment fails the rules will be broken again and again.
What is happening at Southampton is not against any rules, it is simply just very sad.
Picure courtesy of Wikipedia