The Record signing of Phillipe Coutinho brought a sense of acceptance among football fans across the globe. A sense of Conclusion amongst others that there had finally been a distinction between a progression and an attainment.
This transfer would make it the 5th Liverpool player who has traded a place at Anfield to European giants (either Barça or Madrid) in just about 15 years. Other notable transfers include Luis Suarez, Xabi Alonso, and Javier Mascherano.
This consistent transfers to the capital city haven’t only been experienced by the Merseyside club alone but also other clubs in England including Arsenal, Chelsea who have lost certain key players to so-called “bigger clubs”. Even the most successful team in England, Manchester United have fallen victim to the claws of European giants.
A lot of fuss has been made about most transfers involving South American or Latin players who after sealing such moves claim it’s their “dream” to play in Spain and the only solution would be to nurture homegrown talents who won’t wake up one day to realize, their destinies are somewhere else. Such assertions are false as high profile British players have also made the switch to greener pastures. Some notable examples include David Beckham, Michael Owen, Gareth Bale.
The question remains, what makes these Elite European giants so unique that makes players want to jump ship? Is it the constant guarantee of silverware every season? Or just the history and prestige that surrounds the club?
As it turns out, silverware and prestige isn’t the main drive that players have for making a move. Years ago, United was at the center of everything trophy-laden in England and yet still lost top players in the form of Ruud Vannisteroy and Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid.
In Club football today, three clubs seem to be at the top of this food chain. Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich.
When playing for these three, players are considered to be at the very top level and any move to a club outside of them is considered a downgrade or decline. These teams have shown so much dominance that they never lose key players in any position to rival clubs except if they deem them not needed anymore.
This is a stark contrast to other top teams who live in fear daily about losing their best players to rivals. Examples include Chelsea fearing a bid for Eden hazard from Madrid, De Gea joining Real Madrid from Manchester United, Harry Kane leaving Tottenham Hotspurs and Borussia Dortmund fearing that Aubumeyang would trade cities to Munich.
The Sale of Neymar Jr from Barcelona to PSG was the one and only transfer that upset the balance these 3 European giants and perhaps painted a picture that a player can be bigger than even the Spanish giants. But I doubt such a transfer would change the status the Spanish giants have as one may suspect the Brazilian would one day realize he is too big for the French Champions and seek a move back to Spain or Germany.
Among all these clubs involved in the circle of selling and buying, there is perhaps one that stands out being independent and to an extent protected from the clutches of European giants, and it’s no surprise that the club is managed by a Catalan legend himself. This club is Manchester City and is managed by the Spaniard Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola is slowly turning Manchester city into a European force to be reckoned with, not just by their impressive form on the pitch but also by their sales, purchases and man management.
The Manchester club has for the last few years exercised authority in acquiring quality players even from direct rivals to strengthen the team. Showing the players reasons to join the club and serving as a strong means of attraction for quality players around the world.
A number of players have joined the City bandwagon from Arsenal: (Clichy, Kolo Toure, Nasri, Adebayor)
Liverpool: (Raheem Sterling)
And every day it looks more and more likely that Alexis Sanchez would join the citizens from Arsenal. Although this move may marginalize the impact of Sergio Aguero, it would certainly improve the quality of an already fantastic squad. What’s even more impressive apart from the clubs attracting prowess, is its ability to convince already established players at the club that their future belongs there and nowhere else.
It’s amazing to think that Kevin de Bruyne; who at this point in time is one of the best if not the best midfielder in European football on current form isn’t seeking a move elsewhere but sees City as the club to fully unleash his quality and win titles at the same time. He has begun seeing the club as a final destination to his calling as a footballer with qualities and not thinking there is any further ladder up the chain. The form of Raheem Sterling after a somewhat mediocre season last campaign is also evident that the club also pays attention to polishing youthful talent which hadn’t blossomed yet into full beauty. Other notable players who have been witnesses of the clubs fluent system include Leroy Sane, Ederson, Danilo, Otamendi.
It’s still a long way from comparing Manchester City to the epitome of European giant and even World football, but with the way Guardiola has Set up his team right from the backroom staff to the players on the pitch, it’s a matter of time before the top 3 teams become the top 4