Apparently it's about to become official that Manchester United's longstanding player-poaching relationship with Sporting Lisbon has ended and that Manchester City is at the ready to step in to use Portugal's best developmental system as its farm team.
The Guardian reports that since Sporting pushed back on giving up Miguel Veloso to United (how dare they!) their arrangement turned sour. Sporting, according to the report, had to inform United of any bids on its players and give SAF right of first refusal. Sporting blames Carlos Queiroz for screwing up the deal. It says the former United assistant in 2007 starting wooing Veloso and Sporting became upset that it was unsettling the youthful star and disrespecting the agreement between the two clubs, the Guardian writes.
United countered that it wants out of the deal anyway because it's restrictive. It also, laughably, cited that the deal impacted any negotiations between United and Benfica. HAHA. Essentially, according to the article, United says its cutting ties with all the deals put in place by Peter Kenyon's regime.
City, meanwhile, is ready to swoop in and poach the next generation of Ronaldos, Nanis, Figos, Futres.... well you get it, the list goes on and on.
From the Guardian:
City have already put in place a deal to take Tobias Figueredo, a 15-year-old midfielder rated as one of Sporting's more promising players, as part of the chief executive Garry Cook's pledge to bring elite youngsters into the club academy and develop them as Champions League players of the future.
Why do Sporting supporters sit still for this? The cycle continues as Sporting's formula for developing young stars remains viable and the For Sale sign is always up at Alvalade. The return, meanwhile, is paltry. Sure the money is good, but it flies back into the club's coffers just to sustain this rush-to-market business plan. The product on the field never sees a return, unless of course, it's a youngster who is being showcased for a season or two before he's physically mature and football-savvy enough to contribute to a championship run. That of course happens when he gets to MANCHESTER!!
Maybe someone closer to the club's financial situation can clarify this for me, but why can't their be room for both? Why can't they continue to invest in the Academy and produce players, and yes, sell them as is their right -- and still buy an occassional player who can, you know, play at a high level???!!!
It's quite remarkable when you consider Sporting in the 2000's actually reached the UEFA Cup final, won two league championships, three Portuguese Cups, two League Cups (for what that's worth), four domestic Super Cups and a big handful of preseason tournaments (Vigo, Iberian Cup, Guidiana).
By comparison, Benfica won the league twice, one Portuguese Cup, one League Cup and one Super Cup and were pretty dismal in Europe.
FC Porto did much better, with six league championships, four Portuguese Cups, a Champions League win, a UEFA Cup win and an Intercontinental Cup win. No comparison. And why? They reinvest in the product on the field. Not in washed-up South Americans who can't get a sniff of top-tier clubs in their respective home leagues.
Someone needs to look at this as collusion and needs to look closely at the money being exchanged here and where it's going. It sure ain't going back on the field.