Wednesday, 6 July 2011

For Adel, now is the time to stay

Football has long had a dysfunctional relationship with the English language. No more so than during the frantic close season transfer market. It is around now that words change meaning entirely. When Gael Clichy, for instance, insists that he left Arsenal because they didn't "love" him enough, we quickly realise that in this instance the word "love" actually means "pay". And when we hear that Carlos Tevez is desperate to leave Manchester in order to be closer to his daughters, what that actually means is "be closer to another vast signing-on fee".
But no word changes its meaning quite as much as "adviser". This is a word which those of us outside the game take to denote someone who offers wisdom, provides information relevant to our position and impartially helps us to reach a conclusion of our own that is in our best interests. In football, however, it means a parasite whose sole purpose and intent is to leach as much money as possible in as short a space of time, regardless of the longer term consequences. 
Take the case of Adel Taarabt. The Queen's Park Rangers captain, the player who
provided a level of skill and panache not seen in a hooped shirt since the days of Stan Bowles, the man who won the Championship player of the season last term, returned for pre-season training this week apparently seeking a transfer. According to his manager Neil Warnock, he is surrounded by a posse of advisers, all agitating for him to move on elsewhere. Paris St Germain has been mooted as a possible destination. The old "be closer to the family" line has been pedalled. As has the "love" business. But the fact of the matter is, what these advisers want is a quick payday. And they will stop at nothing until Taarabt moves on thus supplying them with one.
The irony is, if they hung on for a bit, they would gain far more. The proper advice to the player would be this: stay with Rangers for now, prove that you can cut it in the Premier League and then see what happens. The role model he should be following is that of Charlie Adam. Like Taarabt, who arrived at QPR after singularly failing to set the world alight at Spurs, Adam was going nowhere before he got to Blackpool. He had been let go by Rangers who considered him too slow, too fat, too inconsistent. Under Iain Holloway in the Championship, he demonstrated on a weekly basis how wrong they were. His goals, his leadership, his drive from midfield, projected the Seasiders to promotion. 
At that point, however, in terms of his career, only half the job was done. It was when in the Premier League, almost keeping the club up single-handed that Adam proved himself a proper player. A year on from his promotion deeds, he is worth far more. If, as seems likely, he goes to Liverpool, he will up his wages three fold. And his agent will thus increase his commission threefold (never mind get his hands on a tidy sum in the transfer negotiations). 
But none of that would have happened had Adam agitated to move from Bloomfield Road the moment promotion had been achieved. It was his year in the Premier League that made him a wanted man. 
People in football have long known about Taarabt's ability. What they need is proof that he has the mental constitution to make that ability count at the highest level. A year cutting it with QPR in the top division would immediately show that. Walking out now merely makes obvious the opposite: this is a player who shirks the necessary challenges required to become the best. Frankly, going to Paris St Germain for a quick euro is nothing compared to where he could end up if he hung around. This is a player good enough for Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City. Provided he completes his apprenticeship.
While he may not be regarded as the most objective party here, this is what Warnock will surely be telling the player: you have an opportunity to make real money, to reach the very top of the game. But the first stage of such a career path can only come about if you hang on in here for another season. 
Sadly, in a world where advice and adviser seem to mean the precise opposite of what the rest of us take them to mean, those surrounding the player are likely to win out.

No comments:

Post a Comment