Transfers just before contract expiry could become common practice
There have been two potential transfers banded around the football world recently, and two that however normal they may seem could be forerunners to a more common theme – and would be incredibly intelligent moves on the part of the managers involved.
Schalke’s prolific Dutch marksman Klaas Jan Huntelaar could potentially be set to move to Arsenal in the January transfer window for somewhere between £4 million to £6 million. Whilst this seems like an amazingly low fee for such a prolific striker (Huntelaar has scored more than 0.5 goals per game in his time at Schalke), many are criticising it as a bad move on the part of Arsene Wenger.
The argument for this is that the player’s contract expires in the summer, so he will be available for free. Whilst this is true, by coming in for him early, Wenger is both making his job easier and saving money in the long run; should Huntelaar become available for free there would be tens of clubs fighting for his signature.
Amongst these clubs could be the likes of Chelsea and Manchester city, and who signed the player would come down to one battle – who could pay more in terms of wages. That’s a battle that Arsenal couldn’t win, so by spending an extra £4m early, Wenger can pay him less, get him earlier and get the jump on any potential opposition.
A comparable scenario is developing with Bilbao’s mountainous target man, Fernando Llorente, and a potential move to Juventus. The player, once Bilbao’s key man, has fallen out of favour with his manager this season after stating that he will definitely not be signing a new contract for the Spanish club.
Many sides have been interested in Llorente for quite some time, with Chelsea and Manchester city reportedly waiting to pounce when he becomes available for free in the summer. However, if, as is speculated, Juventus bid £6 million in January, they could prise the lofty striker away from Spain and avoid a transfer battle.
Whilst both moves may seem foolish and premature on paper, they would in fact present masterstrokes on the parts of the respective clubs as they would avoid a transfer saga and get their man without opposition. Whilst this kind of move is hardly commonplace at the moment, the effectiveness of the method could soon see it be used regularly.
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