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That Kaka Question

The most sensational transfer football has ever seen is gathering apace this morning, reports that A.C. Milan are "mulling over" a bid reported to be in the region of £107m for their prized son Kaka are circulating. The Brazilian famed for expressing his subservience to Jesus through various tee short slogans might stand to trouser a cool £500,000 a week. Though one hopes though that if Kaka really does belong to Jesus, as he claims, that this will not be considered third party ownership and thus a repeat of the sordid Tevez to West Ham transfer saga. The audacity and sheer size of this proposed transfer has set even those of us decidedly less garrulous about transfers talking, the general jist of public opinion has seen a mixture of disapproving tut tutting and histrionic cries of "won`t somebody please think of the children?"

Firstly, I will address the moral issue, insofar as one actually exists. I have seen it reported in many quarters that the sort of sums being bandied about are unseemly and immoral, particularly whilst the media are doing their damndest to try and convince us apocalypse is nigh and "experts" predict the biggest economic slump in history. (Funny how none of these "experts" foresaw the economic crash in their crystal balls in January 2008). That God awful phrase that seems to punctuate every sentence uttered at the moment, "credit crunch" seems to have added some extra brimstone as we stoke our moral fires in disgust. I find this an incredibly hypocritical way of thinking, whilst we look on and take umbrage at such a pornographic splash of cash (or money shot if you want to take the metaphor further) as we struggle with our mortgages, there are small children in Rwanda perishing in malnourishment who probably couldn`t give a pitchers putt about "the credit crunch" and would probably look upon our complaints that we may no longer be able to afford Setanta with equal disgust. I am aware of these things, starvation, Third World debt, oppressive and brutal regimes. But it never prevented me spending thousands of pounds a year following a football team around the country and beyond. I also know that a £10 standing order or the odd Charity Run won`t resolve these issues, though they may do a wonderful job of temporarily assuaging my middle class, liberal guilt. That`s pretty obscene if you think about it. The money we spent on club merchandise this Christmas would likely have fed entire families in dire need. So what right do I, or most of you reading, have to lambaste an oil rich billionaire for spending a portion of his wealth on a footballer? Particularly from the comfort of my centrally heated, internet enabled flat. Socialism is a very marginal political philosophy in most of Europe, certainly in this country, but it`s funny how many people don the beret and become bleeding heart socialists when it suits them. This is the society we chose and continue to choose, the free market is what it is all about. We vote for it, we are complicit in it, we get what we deserve.

Now I have managed to make us all feel incredibly bad about ourselves, let us look at the implications a transfer such as this has on the game at large. As with most things in life there is a clear yin and a succinct yang. Our manager expressed concerns surrounding what this might mean for the transfer market. Especially during a time when the economic reality we inhabit is likely to mean a mass sobering up for football clubs demanding huge piles of cash (mentioning no names Zenit St. Petersburg) and for footballers inebriating themselves on the narcotic troughs of cash. Wenger described the proposed deal as "inflationary in a deflationary world." I will acquiesce to Le Boss` superior knowledge in this department, given that one of his degrees specialises in the subject. My degree was very worthwhile too, but analysing Jane Austen`s prose style hardly gives one a sumptuous command of the fiscal language. However, footballers, though not typically the brightest bunch, must be aware that these sort of exorbitant salaries are not going to be on offer at any other club. Will Kaka earning half a mill a week really encourage the likes of Arshavin to demand parity from Arsenal? You would think not. Once again, whilst City hold this gargantuan wealth, the whole of football at large is complicit here. If City were to come in for Fabregas and offered £150m, you can beat your sweet hiney that we would have no compunction about pocketing the dosh for ourselves. There again, the circular argument goes that this mass redistribution of Sheikh Mansour`s wealth will have a mass inflationary effect. If Milan do agree to sell Kaka for over £100m, their replacement(s) is likely to cost a larger sum, as the club they choose to purchase from will be fully aware that they have the GDP of Libya burning a hole in their sky rockets. Kaka`s replacement will be aware of this too when time comes to negotiate his salary. Though it would be great to see a player of Kaka`s peerless quality in our league, the overall destabilising effect on the transfer market and broadening gulf between the top clubs and the rest will likely mean a trade off with more in the debit column than the credit column.

There are also the effects on Manchester City football club. When you have one team mate earning close to ten times the amount his colleagues are, team spirit will be incredibly difficult to forge. Money has many properties, but alchemy is not one of them. Resentment will likely be cancerous; I imagine Robinho might beat the door down here. If you`re Wayne Bridge playing left back with Kaka ahead of you, there is hardly much incentive to fight for the team when one member of that team might well wipe his arse with your weekly pay cheque. The prospect of a mistimed tackle in training from a team mate, leaving Kaka`s leg in tatters will likely spell instant expulsion. What is clear is that Kaka will be untouchable; a spell of bad form will see him picked regardless. After all, you don`t spend £500,000 a week to keep your bench toasty. What is also clear is that the Sheikhs have made their play. This move reveals that they have no interest in building a football club in the manner that Randy Lerner has over at Aston Villa, this is now officially, transparent playboy stuff. The Sheikhs have bought this club as an expensive, ego massaging plaything, their interest is showing the world what`s between their legs as it were and not to build a sporting institution of legacy in any long term sense of the word. Villa have flourished because Lerner has ceded control of the club`s affairs to an excellent manager who understands the need for steady progress. What goes up; comes down just as quickly. (Arsenal`s recent decline has been much in the manner of their ascent, gradual. Chelsea`s fall will be equally as astronomical as their rise).

So where does that leave City? In the short term, success is inevitable. It`s not a question of "if" but "when" will they break into the Champions` League. Much in the manner of Chelsea during Mourinho`s reign, City can afford a scattergun, careless transfer policy. Throw enough shit at a wall and enough will stick. Just as Chelsea could afford to discard Crespo, Veron, Kezman and del Horno without pause for thought, City will be able to buy and buy and buy and sack managers and employ managers until eventually it all comes off. But in the long term, a transfer such as the one mooted for Kaka, and any other similarly wild transactions, will enslave City further and further to their owners. The Sheikhs may stick around for five years; they might stick around for fifty, during which time City can buy success after success. But the Sheikhs cannot and will not be there forever (they cannot afford immortality, they are just as given to the reaper as the rest of us), the sort of wage bill they will be supporting will ensure that City will be crushed by unserviceable debt in an instant. In the long term, Manchester City are going to go the wall and I find that a great shame for the game of football and for their supporters- who have always been excellent value in good times and bad. I maybe wrong, but I haven`t heard of any plans to pump cash into their already excellent academy, so when the fire sale that follows the Sheikhs departure takes place, there won`t be much for them to fall back on. All in all I find it a bit sad, but this is the "greed is good league" now and whilst City will lurch heroically from excess to excess for our entertainment like a footballing Amy Winehouse, much like Ms. Winehouse, you know it`s all going to end in tears. I hope when those tears are being shed, Arsenal fans might look back and be grateful for the prudence of the current board.LD.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday January 16 2009

Time: 11:41AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I was waiting for you to do this writeup LD....nicely written too. The funny thing is this - it might have weel been us in the ManCity mire right now. These dudes actually considered buying Arsenal first...i dont envy Man City their "good" fortune. This spells the beggining of the end on the english premier league - mark my words. I watched Mark Hughes interview on Sky and couldnt help laughing when he said he was involved in the whole Kaka bussiness..involved m a****....he in something much bigger than him now and it only a matter of months before he looses his job which is a pity because he is a decent, young English coach. So what next for Man City - maybe they will buy Buffon/Terry/Messi and turn into a super really can't blame Kaka for "selling out" - I know I would. I just hope we seal Arshavins deal and compete this season...hold you breath boys, there is plenty more to come from Citeh in the following months.
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16/01/2009 12:03:00

as long as they take 6 points off Manure i dont care what they do
fran merida
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16/01/2009 12:10:00

btw Mark Hughes is Welsh....not English thank God
fran merida
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16/01/2009 12:12:00

I think Fifa need to step in and put caps on wages & fees.
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16/01/2009 12:50:00

Why Arsenal & Arsene are worried more than anyone??
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16/01/2009 13:21:00

This article may be on an Arsenal site but it was not written with an Arsenal slant, more a response to stuff I've read and heard over the last few days. I don't think Arsene is more or less worried than anyone else, he just happens to be an intelligent man and people ask him for his opinions on these things. After all, if you were going to ask someone for their opinions on the economic outlook of football in the face of artificial cash injection, would you ask Arsene or Allardyce?
Little Dutch
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16/01/2009 13:27:00

Saimon_blues, if you are not worried by this development i wonder where your head is.
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16/01/2009 13:43:00

If this transfer goes through FIFA will start capping transfer fee's. There is no way they will allow all the best players to come to England, they are far to anti-English to let that happen.
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16/01/2009 13:47:00

In a world where Darren Bent is worth 16.9 miliion, I suppose it's fair to say that Kakarrrrr is worth 100 million. But as any Spurs fan will attest, Darren Bent is not worth 16.9 million, and 100+ million for Kakarrrrgghhh is just plain vulgar.
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16/01/2009 15:01:00

I saw a citeh fan somewhere try to justify the price tag by saying 'well its the January transfer period so it makes sense to pay triple what you feel the value of a player is.' How does that make any sense? Even if you did end up have to pay triple the price (which you don't), how is that a logical negotiation tactic?
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16/01/2009 15:22:00

If Roman leaves Chelsea I fancy they would find a buyer willing to take them on, If the shiehks leave manchester nobody will be able to afford the debts they will inevitabley rack up and we will lose one of our nicest clubs. City fans dont seem to care to be honest, they believe its their time and cant look past the shiny trophies that will come their way.
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16/01/2009 15:38:00

If someone is to buy Chelsea if and when Abramovic leaves, it will have to be someone from the Middle East you'd expect, another Royal Family or something of that ilk. Most European entrepeneurs wouldn't want to take on a football club right now, least of all one with the debt of Chelsea.
Little Dutch
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16/01/2009 15:45:00

I saw that Tpowell, then said that Ferdinand was only worth 10 mil but man united paid 3x the odds so whats the difference.
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16/01/2009 16:10:00

I dont have any moral objection to this deal, but I do find this obscene. The amount of money to be paid does not reflect the value of Kaka, and this is only the start of an unsustainable business model. Chelsea will fall, and they will fall hard - its only a matter of when. Citeh are following in their footsteps.
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16/01/2009 16:46:00

I too have no moral objections. The way a man spends his money is his and only his decision to make. What I do find laughable is why City fans think these guys will be around forever. They will come and show off their muscles for a few years then dump the club into obscurity.
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16/01/2009 17:38:00

Should there be a ceiling on Transfer fee paid? I don't think the clubs would allow that. Players have a right to move clubs if they want and that was down to Bosman and player can and do move for free. Experts said it would be the end of transfer fees and it would cause havoc as no money would change hands between clubs. Now they say the Kaka deal is going to ruin football. I would love a ceiling so all clubs could compete for the best players, I would love for the wages to have a ceiling, but that is not going to happen.Who is to blame City for paying the fee or Milan asking for a fee that large.
Buzz Lightyear
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16/01/2009 17:44:00

If Milan had asked for a fee that large then the bid would have already been accepted and Milan would not have needed to mull it over.
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16/01/2009 17:49:00

Wow fantastic article, i agree 100% with everything you say. I would rather see Arsenal in the champions league than Chelsea or Man City, nit because i have a secret soft spot for the red half of north london, no far from it. But i feel that you would deserve it more - let me explain. Nobody bought success at Arsenal, sure there was investment but what i mean is Wenger has created a dynasty at Arsenal and made youre club the success you are today. All that happened at the chavs was some Billionaire through 600m of his blood money at the club and withing 2 yeras you have a league title. At City its even worse, much worse. Don't feel sorry for their fans either, theyre loving this. I'd love it too id have to admit lol
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16/01/2009 23:36:00

Well written piece LD. And, like most of the subsequent posters, spot on about the hypocrisy of claiming moral outrage. I'm sure half of my income goes to things I don't need (booze, Setanta, cd's and dvd's, travel, etc), but hey, that's capitalism. I make the money and will spend it as I choose- I give to charity and pay taxes, that assuages any sense of guilt. If these Citeh investors want to throw obscene amounts of money around, well, it might upset the football applecart for a few years, but in a perverse way at least it is throwing money out there that previously was being hoarded under a mattress in Dubai, and some of that will trickle down to working people in England. Even if all Kaka spent was money to pay the chip shops in Manchester to stop selling mushy peas, the world would be a better place. Despite all the money, Chelsea only had success because of Maureen, who was able to build a team. The Galacticos of Madrid were far less successful than they should have been, and I doubt Mark Hughes has the brain to build a team- he's playing football manager with real people, but as Cesc said to him after a match at Blackburn, 'you used to play at Barcelona but your team sure doesn't play like Barcelona'. And it's true- he was a bully as a player and a bully as a manager- the other good thing is that he'll be out of a job soon. All Arsenal has to do is get Flamini back- he neutralizes Kaka like he's never been neutralized before, which is probably why Milan bought him.
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17/01/2009 04:03:00

I think it was a bit of a PR stunt to get Manchester City noticed and adds a few sales to the shirt.The club is still years away from being a top team, but these guys make money being good at business, they are not just making a good football team they are creating a sellable company that will make commercial money.They are also good for the community in manchester and have already started several projects up their. The Academy have had a state of the art Gym installed and they hope to progress through that for future players.I don't know where the mull it over comes from Rocky7 as they have given City permission to talk to the player.I think the mulling is over,but that does not say the player will sign,but thats not the point, it shows how much they are willing to put up for just one player, but are not mugs and will pay that much for every player they are after, except Cesc.
Buzz Lightyear
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17/01/2009 05:52:00

Sorry Buzz Lightyear, but they did not make their money by being good at business. Much like the Beverly Hillbillies, they happened to own a piece of land when oil was discovered there.
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17/01/2009 07:06:00

I think there should oif been a cap put on transfer fee's and wages along time ago ... money is slowly destroying the game ... it is no longer a working mens sport ... hasnt been for a long time ... fifa need to pull there finger out and sort this big mess out ... the tiny clubs havnt got a chance of being a super club without a big sugar daddy coming in ...
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17/01/2009 23:17:00

Hello from Milan! LD you've pretty much summed up what's gone through my head these few days. My head's still spinning, 4.5 hours after I left the San Siro, having probably seen Kaka in the rossoneri colour for the first and last time. I was saying to my Milan-supporting Italian friend just how much unfair competition this deal could create but then I honestly said who am I to judge? When he told me that Milan fans were incredibly angry with the board, I believed him. I was quite moved when thousands of home fans turned their heads and pointed their fingers at the director's box presumably addressing Adriano Galliani: "Don't sell kaka!" to show their love for him (and a bit of pride?) whenever the wonderboy made a good run forward or had a good touch of the ball creating a chance. I just wondered if they had a choice of chipping in to keep Kaka, would they do so? They sort of gave an answer of their own by amusingly waving thousands of 20 Euro or 50 Euro banknotes in the direction of the directors' box showing their contempt at the board. But you guess what, when the Milan team faded in the second half, all this singing and finger-pointing became a bit like half-hearted self-entertainment to keep these people warm in the cold. Made me wonder if any amount of love for a star was worth 100m. After all, even if you try not to apply any moral judgement on this, can anyone honestly tell me if someone kicking a ball - no matter how great - is worth this money? When, as Arsene pointed out, thousands of people are losing their jobs everyday? If the Milan board bite the sheihk's hands off, if the Milan fans sing for 20 mins and stop complaining, if my Italian friend who's in the shirt merchandising business is hoping they'll sign another superstar to shift shirts, who can blame them? For me, that's the sad, sobering part. As to City, as you guys have pointed out, I have no idea how Hughes could possibly build a team with the right spirit when these amounts of money way over the value of people kicking a ball are being discussed. If they think it's gonna work in the long run, just one word: Chelsea.
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18/01/2009 02:21:00

Beverly Hillbillies- good one TP! : )
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18/01/2009 06:35:00

Lou - is that the Fiorentina game you were at?
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18/01/2009 09:54:00

good write up LD, you summed it all up. I still believe that spunking 100+ million on a human being that will not contribute to curing cancer, AIDS, getting rid of famine, stopping a war or ethnic cleansing is the ultimate proof that we as beings are nothing but a malignant tumor on this planet, that we have lost every touch with reality and as Chris Rea said it, we're on the road to hell.
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18/01/2009 12:10:00

Kaka does give 10% of his paycheque to his local church though! If this move goes through, that church is going to receive around £50k a week. Gold dog collars all around. Incidentally, Arshavin also gives ten per cent of his weekly salary to the world's largest orphanage in St. Peteresburg.
Little Dutch
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18/01/2009 12:35:00

Yep, the transfer market as gone crazy, but if Man City want to spend that sort of money then it's really up to them.
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18/01/2009 18:37:00

Yeah Vin, Milan's home game to Fiorentina. It was special but kind of sad to witness it - not the money-waving part, or when they kept singing "Kaka resta con noi" (Kaka stays with us), but the moment when the home fans stopped their protests as though they knew they couldn't stand in the way, or they wouldn't in the end. The Sunday edition of La Gazzetta was full of sentimental quotes of the fans' banners: "The club is selling its dignity", "President, if your commitment must change your splendid mentality (made me throw up), sell the club", ''To sell Kaka is just not Milan", "Kaka grows up with us", etc. One of the funniest one was "I belong to Money" lol. Another one was in the Mastercard advert template: "Eto'o, 80m. C Ronaldo, 120m. Messi, 180m. Kaka, priceless!" :D
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19/01/2009 02:48:00

My faith has been slightly restored. Kaka eschews the money and then refuses to ask Milan for a raise, Robinho gets in a strop and walks out of Citeh's training camp AND they've signed two deplorable characters in Bridge and Bellamy.
Little Dutch
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20/01/2009 08:56:00

Indeed sir, the world's now looking a bit more normal.
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20/01/2009 13:24:00

Oh and City's Cook says Milan "bottled" it. Haha, the world's back to normal indeed.
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20/01/2009 13:28:00


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