Europe’s biggest clubs are prepared to go the extra mile to keep their best players.
A couple of years ago, many European clubs believed that every player had a price-tag, and that they could leave if the right offer came in. But the case is different these days, with big teams now preferring to keep rather than replace their big guns.
However, huge investments have by no means dropped as a result of this new approach. If anything, the expenditures of clubs now appear to be on the rise, with players demanding astronomical wages to remain with the teams they ‘love’. And these clubs find themselves in positions where they have to bow to the demands of their star names.
Take for example, the curious case of Lionel Messi. The 26-year-old has put pen to paper on three improved deals in the last three years for Barcelona. The Catalan giants now seem to have got to a point where they have no choice but to keep their star Argentine whatever it takes because they regard the forward as indispensible.
Other players who have been deemed indispensable by their clubs and honoured with fat paycheques in the last 12 months include Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Luis Suarez (Liverpool) and Yaya Toure (Manchester City). All five are regarded as extremely valuable assets for their respective clubs, who cannot afford to lose them.
Arsenal's duo of Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny have also benefited from the Premier League club's new investment strategy. Both players already had a decent number of years left on their contracts, but still went on to sign new improved deals this year.
Although this doesn't guarantee instant success, it stands clubs in good stead as they seek to deal with the stiff competition European football is currently experiencing. With UEFA's Financial Fair Play policy already in full swing, football followers can only expect more internal wheeling and dealing from the game's major powerhouses.