ANOTHER winter and the sales talk around Erling Haaland is again recycled by his agent Mino Raiola.
The Norwegian striker, 21, has provided an explosion of goals for Molde, Red Bull Salzburg and, currently, Borussia Dortmund.
Man Utd and City target Erling Haaland is the focus of a huge transfer tug-of-warCredit: Rex
Super-agent Mini Raiola is once more at the centre of players being hawked aroundCredit: Getty – Contributor
His father and guide Alf Inge Haaland, once of Leeds, placed his boy with Raiola presumably because he realised he had one heck of a property on his hands and the agent would maximise it.
Raiola works with some of the world’s best players and is known for his bargaining prowess and fearlessness towards billionaire club owners and football authorities.
So he believes, rightly perhaps, that he can do what he pleases.
But is it right Raiola and his type should conduct Dutch auctions?
It is probably breaking Fifa rules and doesn’t do anything for football’s reputation. It is further evidence agents are out of control.
Most players don’t seem to mind being treated like commodities on the Stock Exchange. Would you — if like Pogba you earned a reputed £290,000 a week? Or Cristiano Ronaldo, whose agent is Jorge Mendes, on £480,000 a week?
Whole clubs could operate on annual wage bills like these. They mean a few ultra-rich clubs dominate and will continue to do so for years. I don’t necessarily object to that but I do feel some leading agents are screwing the market.
And I’m sorry to say we must put up with it until clubs like Dortmund make them shut up.
They never will, of course, as their business plan is to buy teen prodigies and sell for a sky-high price. It seems Fifa have woken up to this and pledged to act.
On Wednesday, the Football Stakeholders Committee and the Fifa Council proposed “to eliminate or at least reduce abusive and excessive practices which unfortunately have existed in football”.
They aim to bring in a cap on commissions, believed to be three per cent of a player’s wage and ten per cent of the transfer fee.
They would also stop one agent representing all parties, two clubs and a player, in a transfer. Raiola was paid by Manchester United, Juventus and Pogba on the midfielder’s United move.
It is believed he earned £41m.
Another agent is said to have taken £10m of a £16m sale.
It is blood-sucking on a major scale and while I know a number of fairly scrupulous agents, they must be ordered to publish all details of their transactions — not entirely revolutionary for an occupation that took £500m from the game last season.
Raiola, Mendes and Co are already threatening legal action should Fifa press on with plans.
And perhaps the players’ unions will kindly wake up and back their players.
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