Why Ian Wright is wrong and Shaun may miss out on ‘contract for life’
In trying to turn up the heat on City in the contract talks for Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ian Wright might have inadvertently revealed a change in policy by the club’s paymasters.
Up to now City have been prepared to pay above the going rate to attract players who might be expected to play for teams competing in the Champions League. Players like Tevez and Adebayor wouldn’t otherwise be with us, and it’s naive to pretend otherwise.
In the meantime, players already at the club who are considered part of the future, have been given improved contracts. Examples are Stephen Ireland when he was playing well last year, and Vincent Kompany earlier this season.
However, if City land a Champions League place then transfer targets and contract offers are bound to be affected. It’s no secret that Sheikh Mansour has sought to make marquee signings and he may finally get his wish if the carrot of Champions League football is on offer alongside a generous contract.
City have long been linked with Ribery, and while he may prefer sunnier Spain, the likes of the highly rated Angel di Maria and David Silva could end up on our flanks. Popular as Shaun is, he could easily find himself a squad player rather than a member of our first-choice eleven. He’s already got a battle on his hands convincing Mancini he’s better than Adam Johnson.
With Champions League football on offer, City would no longer need to pay such significantly higher wages to attract the top talent. The negotiating hand of Cook and Marwood would be strengthened when dealing with players representatives.
Added to this is the knowledge that between 2012 and 2015 Uefa will be bringing in new rules to reign in excessive spending on wages. Having squad players on hugely excessive wages could then be problematic and limit the ability to sign fresh talent.
If City fail to make the Champions League this season, then Shaun and co will have failed in the primary mission, and a substantial pay rise would be unwarranted.
Garry Cook has never disguised the fact he looks at the bigger picture, and in doing so it doesn’t make a great deal of sense to give Wright-Phillips a contract hugely better than he would get elsewhere.
Ian Wright may have felt Ã‚Â£70k a week for the next three years is an insult to Shaun, but it’s difficult to think of another club willing to pay more. Especially when you bear in mind the last contract Spurs gave Aaron Lennon reportedly took him closer to their top earner Jermaine Defoe (Ã‚Â£65k per week). Is Shaun really having a better season than those two? And then there’s Fabregas on less than Ã‚Â£70k per week.
Just because City payed over the odds to secure the likes of Bridge and Toure in the past, doesn’t mean they’ll continue to do so. It may currently make for huge disparities in the dressing room, but if Johnson keeps Shaun on the bench and Ian Wright can’t come up with another club to match the City offer, then Shaun’s advisers are likely to have a tough task convincing City to up their offer.
It’s doubtful that Wright going public with outspoken comments will have gone down well in Abu Dhabi. Cook and Marwood are sure to have had the full backing of Khaldoon al Mubarak and Sheikh Mansour in whatever offer was made.
If Marwood is bringing a more hard-headed approach to contract talks, then that’s a sign of the greater professionalism which the owners have always said they would introduce. “Every deal will be judged on it’s own merits” has always been their message, and Shaun’s advisers may need to recognise that the time of excessive spending on less than the world’s best may be passing.
Incidentally, a lot of people are saying Shaun was unlucky in signing for City just prior to the arrival of Sheikh Mansour and his millions. There’s two points to make in reply to this.
Firstly, Thaksin’s regime were hardly paying peanuts in the contracts to new signings, and it’s reasonable to assume the Ã‚Â£60k a week was better than that on offer from Shaun’s other suiters, such as Randy Lerner backed Aston Villa.
Secondly, there’s no guarantee that Shaun would have reamained on the list of transfer targets had Sheikh Mansour arrived earlier. A smaller contract at Villa or Everton might then have been the best available to Shaun and his advisors.
One final point, for someone who works in the media, Ian Wright showed a startling lack of awareness of the general mood. With the recession still biting and numerous football clubs going into administration, the practice of over-paying footballers has never been less popular.
If he wants parity with Tevez, Shaun should try firing us to a Champions League place, then establish himself in England’s starting 11 and score the winning goal in the World Cup final. Then would be a good time to start talking about a new contract!