Money is killing the game; it breeds contempt. Adnan Januzaj looks a good player. He scored two good goals this weekend against Sunderland but the week previous, at home to West Brom, when he came on as a substitute, he was poor. He gave away a poor pass and they broke to score.
Now Manchester United are going to offer him £50,000-a-week according to reports in the press. Firstly, questions must be asked of United. Why has a lad that is so highly-rated been let enter the last year of his contract? If he wasn’t in his final year then they would not have to offer so much.
Maybe his agent had a hand in him getting to the last year of the deal. Obviously there is lots of money to be made for both the agent and the player here. But, are agents really bothered as to what is going to happen to the lad in five or six years’ time? You never know how that sort of money will impact on a lad. That’s the issue, really.
Unfortunately, that is the way the game has gone. Lots of young players aren’t playing the game for the love of it. The passion in many circumstances has gone, and for too many it's simply about the rewards it can offer.
This feeds into players wanting immediate success and it is impacting on the quality of our game. Youngsters will go to a big club on big money, and, while the prestige of being at that club massages their ego, they would be better served at a smaller club getting more playing time and developing their game.
The fact that players are becoming ever more valuable commodities can, in fact, mask genuine quality. Feeding into this inflation is that clubs are afraid of letting these players go in case they turn into a superstar.
It can become a public relations exercise. A connected and renowned agent can get it into the press that he has a quality player who has had interest shown in him from another club and they increase that player’s wages by 20 to 30 percent. Are we seeing kids with big talent? Or just big names?
These youngsters are given too much too soon and it impacts on their output. It feeds into a poor national team. Desire is so important in the make-up of a player.
Furthermore, with smaller clubs attempting to compete, average, cheaper imports come across because British youngsters are too expensive. It stifles talent.
At the same time, is it fair to put £50,000 worth of pressure on an 18-year-old lad? No, it isn’t. But if he doesn't take the money then the next lad will. A club will try to get a youngster into the right mindset to be a professional footballer but it is difficult with this kind of money flying about. The mercenary is at every level of football now – he doesn’t have to be in his late twenties to mid-thirties to justify that big pay packet.
It also feeds into players having too much power. Football is obviously unique but in many scenarios now the players are earning a lot more that their manager and this gives them far, far too much power. As soon as a manager ‘loses the dressing room’ he is more or less gone. Players, as commodities will go to the chairman and then the manager is gone. Look at Sunderland.
As I said, money breeds contempt and football needs to be careful.