In his eighth exclusive column for CaughtOffside, Jon Smith, one of football’s first-ever agents and a man who was an integral figure in the forming of the Premier League, discusses the precarious position the English Football League finds itself in, Manchester United’s current plight and why Chelsea should avoid signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The English Football League is in trouble…
Where the English Football League is right now is a seminal moment.
Make no mistake – the monies that were advanced to the EFL during Covid-19 were monies borrowed from future payments. In 2023-24 those chickens come home to roost. It’s approaching a very worrying time.
They have asked the Premier League for more money – a lot more money. But the Premier League are looking at it saying ‘Surely this is not all down to us?’
No other league has achieved the financial success that the Premier League has, and sitting right on its doorstep is a structure that is quite possibly going to fall apart. The EFL cannot survive in its current form. It desperately needs reforming. Someone has to be brave enough to say ‘it’s not working, let’s change it’, but something has to be done because you can’t keep giving it handouts, it’s in a similar position to the NHS!
It is worth also noting that an ESL may not be plastered all over the back pages at the moment, but it has never gone away. The two things that play the biggest role in our sports world are politics and money. Politics because it gives you power and money because it gives you more power.
When it comes to possible financial solutions, there are a lot of really good sponsors, fans never let the clubs down. If they were asked to donate or voluntarily increase their season ticket price, the majority of them would.
I do hope some kind of a long-term solution can be found, because as we all know – you can change your house. You can change your car. You can change your partner, and in this day and age, you can even change your sex – but one thing you can never change is your football team.
Manchester United’s potential American takeover could reach £5bn…
I know there has only been two games, but looking at the Premier League table and seeing Manchester United at the bottom is like a throwback to the 1970s. There we were, in the 70s, no heating, no gas, no coal, the economy shot to bits and Manchester United bottom of the league.
When you look at other teams which are in comparable positions, both on and off the pitch, the likes of Chelsea – even Newcastle United, they’re both miles ahead and that is simply because everybody associated with those clubs are pulling in the same direction. For the Red Devils – the ownership is absent and there is so much negativity behind-the-scenes. Manchester United are a total mess from top to bottom.
However, I am hearing much more solid discussion in the United States about potential interest in purchases. Chelsea sold for circa £3bn but Manchester United’s global reach is so phenomenal that it may even begin with a number four, or even possibly a five!!
Ronaldo must go but no surprises in the race for Rabiot…
I have been a huge fan of Cristiano Ronaldo his whole life, but he’s a double-edged sword now. It’s time for him to go. He’s in a poor team at the moment.
When it comes to potential incomings, who on earth is going to want to go there? – I know it looks like it’s off but this proposed deal for Adrien Rabiot, is anyone really surprised that his representative has allegedly asked for an enormous amount of money in order for him to join? – And he won’t be in a class of one!
The same applies with Frenkie De Jong. If I was advising him, I’m not sure my advice would be to make the switch.
Chelsea should steer clear of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang…
I don’t understand why they’re so intent on signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
I think he showed his colours when it didn’t all go his way at Arsenal. Chelsea have got to try and nit together a very expensive squad with a whole bunch of egos. They really don’t need someone who is likely to have a negative influence.