Analysis Opinion Insight

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Sneijder Saga and Fergie's mind games.

When Wayne Rooney declared his perceived lack of ambition at Manchester United Football Club as compared to his own, a huge majority of the fellow United fans thought that he was merely bargaining for a better deal. But very few could even envisage the kind of drama that was about to unfold. What conspired such a statement from the talisman will be a mystery forever, with sections of sport fraternity, and media, claiming Sir Alex himself was behind it all. But what followed thereafter is worth revisiting, given what is happening at the moment with a certain Wesley.

Any true blue United fan will remember an emotionally charged, almost-in-tears Sir Alex in that press conference where he revealed Rooney wanted to go. Emotional, distressed, hurt, betrayed, almost tearful. They are words that I never thought I'd see used to described Sir Alex Ferguson. Believe it or not, they were indeed the words that were used in the immediate aftermath of that press conference when the gaffer announced the striker’s intentions. Fergie doesn't ever do defeated and dismal. His response is always to go on the attack. Hindsight suggests that this may in fact have been a masterstroke that only he could be capable of. But why did he do it? Surely he wasn’t competing for the Oscars!

Fergie , over the years, has mastered the art of managing negotiations. Some in the know of politics might argue that officially it’s Tony Blair. Yours truly begs to differ. Among the many phrases that were used to describe his actions, my favorite is “hung him out to dry”. Its only human to look for greener pastures and Rooney is no different. As fans, we don’t have any rights to question his demands for wages. In a free market, the value of any commodity is determined by what others are willing to pay. So if the Cities and the Madrids were willing shell out 250K for his services then that becomes his price. But how SAF played his mind games to retain him is similar to what he is doing with Sneijder at the moment.

First of all, the player’s wage demand is the primary factor. And quite rightly so as I mentioned earlier. So how to tackle this demand? Mind games. You say, “We don’t want you” to begin with. Time and again we have seen how SAF handles this. Especially while handling media. Any blatant disregard is “not happening”. Humor seems to be his choice to ward it off. On the other hand , if he wants it to happen, he will say “ the club is bigger than the player” and downplay the player’s demands. We saw that happening with Rooney and we are seeing that happen with Sneijder. So expect the Dutchman to sign !!

So much about the similarities. Now about the differences. Well, actually there is only one. While the Rooney saga went on for days , expect Sneijder’s to go on for weeks. Technically, it could go on till the midnight of 31st Aug !!

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