Things That Make Footy Players Go “MMMMMMMM…..”


Transfer Deadline Day is finally upon us! As the window shuts, I felt it prudent to chip in with my take on what footy players would have considered as part of their decision on any transfer.  Whilst my list is probably not exhaustive, me-thinks it covers most of the key issues that weigh in on these scenarios that stress the football fraternity to no end.  The items are NOT to be regarded in isolation, as sometimes a combination of these “M”-Factors is what can sway a decision.

I have deliberately listed them in no particular order because I am sure we will all appreciate that each transfer is unique, and as such will likely result in a player having their own distinctive things that make them go mmmmmmmm, and these will include:-

Every footy player wants to PLAY!  And that means minutes on the field on match-day, preferably as part of the starting 11 (without many early substitution interruptions).  As illustrated by many young talents who leave bigger clubs (that may be better placed to provide some of the other “M” factors) just so they can fulfill their deep desire to just play, for as many minutes as possible.
This is how most players keep score.  At the end of every career, there is usually one line that  shuts down most conversations about who had the better career.
“…show me your medals…!!”. So while they all want to play, they also have an unshakable desire to play to win, and winning medals being the ultimate.  The importance of the title may be debatable, BUT I am yet to see anyone who can prove to me that the joy expressed by winners of the English Championship Play-Off Final is less than that shown by their UEFA Champions League winning counterparts.  Some players have been known to compromise on minutes just to be a part of a title winning team.  And some have listened to the little boy inside”, and been fortunate enough to have both.
This is probably what most players will be referring to when they keep mentioning how they were “attracted by the overall project”.  Even when medals are not guaranteed, players can still find satisfaction in aiding a team’s mission to, amongst other things, secure promotion, survive relegation, establish itself as a constant member of a particular league, contend for titles, dominate, establish/sustain a dynasty of dominance.  Any of those elements will entice many a player to want to be a cog in a wheel that is going somewhere.
And sometimes that wheel is not just representative of a team, it could be the mission of an entire LEAGUE, that a player is signing up for.
This element has a dual aspect to it.  A player will find it hard to resist the allure of playing alongside a bona fide marquee player.  In 2013 Neymar Jr found himself in this cherished position as he joined FC Barcelona and all its marquee player(s), gushing at the time that “I’ve never worried about being the best in the world. The best is already here and that’s Messi. I’m one of the luckiest men in the world to be able to play with him and it’s an honour. I’m very happy to be realising my life’s dream.”
Four years later Neymar walked away from that dream; and even though he hasn’t stated as much publicly, the desire to now be the marquee player is still touted by many as being a major contributing factor in his decision to join PSG.
This is another multi-layered “M” Factor, and it leads with the age old basis that footy is best enjoyed when played with one’s mates.  So, if a transfer presents a player with the opportunity to play with those mates (be they compatriots, former club-mates or just friends) the decision is made a lot easier.  Clubs have (officially or otherwise) used this tool effectively by using their players to help recruit a target, and should Lukaku end up having a stellar career for Manchester United, we will always remember the efforts of Agent P.

And there is the is also the little nudge, of having Mkhitaryan already in the dressing room, that proved crucial for Aubameyang’s move to The Arsenal

The next layer is the usually softly spoken, BUT still important influence of a player’s “soul mate”.  Wanting to be closer to one’s significant other, or just being in a place that makes that mate moan less about the weather, food, fashion, language and/or loneliness can be a game changer.  It is usually downplayed, but we are all aware that a player’s form can be affected adversely when things are not all smoothed out on the home front.  Happy-wife-happy-life, and all that entails, indicates that WAGs have power, so much so that they sometimes WAG the dog.
It has been claimed that this factor loves company, BUT I will contend that it can also propel one to change one’s company.  Beyond the misery of an unhappy home-front, misery that is linked to the work-front can be worse.  Once a player is no longer inspired to join up with his team, and the establishment, because of negative sentiment, they will start to look elsewhere.  Bust-ups will become more frequent and the writing will be on the wall…… or in the TEXT
This is basically the history of the club.  Even when all other aspects of offers from different teams are the same, the team that is perceived to have the better history will usually pip all others.  Unless a player is more enticed by the chance to pioneer memories with an emerging team as part of an ambitious mission.
The opportunity to achieve something unique could persuade a player to join a team.  That milestone could be a personal one, like setting a new appearance, goal scoring, clean sheet record; or being the 1st player from their country, in a particular league.  Or the milestone may be a team-related one, such as being part of the squad that plays in Europe for the 1st time, or moves into a new stadium etc.
Milestones are aplenty and one that always looms large is a major tournament being on the horizon, meaning that a player will want to play as much as possible just to enhance their chances of being selected for this milestone tourney.
Always a BIG pull factor because of familiar tactics, where a player may be looking to re-sign for a former manager; or on an aspiration basis of wanting to be managed by famous manager.  Whether we care to admit or not any board’s/CEO’s/Chairman’s/Sporting Director’s job of securing talent can be made a lot easier, or harder, based on their incumbent manager.   Respectfully there are players that would have never signed for Moyes, that then signed for LvG; and some who only came to Manchester United because Mourinho’s arrival had once again made the prospect of playing at United, a “special one”.   Alexis Sanchez may well have the latest angle on this one,
as he debated his own possible/personal “M” priorities for the city of M-anchester, which at the time of his decision had two of the greatest Managers to play for.
I told you my “M” Factors list was in random order, BUT no transfer is ever considered without the Money aspect.  Indeed some deals have failed, stalled, been dismissed, revived and/or abandoned just because of the money! And even if the player’s fee is agreed, and wages are sorted, an agent’s compensation has been known to put a spanner in the works.  The importance of money can never be overstated, it has made certain destinations a lot more palatable for some players.  Choking in the air polluted environs of China, or the relative obscurity of playing in Qatar/India/Australia/Japan is a lot easier to contemplate as soon as a pursuing team does not hesitate to respond positively to a player’s call to……. “show me the MONEY!!”

So there you have it.  Hopefully my list will help you make sense of all the dealings that will be concluded, or not.  And if at the end of reading through this you still feel hard done by by the lack of loyalty shown by your team’s recently departed talisman, perhaps there is another thing that made them go mmmmmmmmmm; in which case I hope you will be gracious enough to  pardonthePUNdit!

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