With big soccer sides there is an inherent mystique. It is the reason that many suggest the famous clubs are more likely to be awarded a penalty or why players declare a dream to play for them before they have even laced up their first pair of boots. Systems favor them and player power diminishes in their shadow.
The issue is, of course that when a player is good enough and has a large enough marketing cache there can be a tug of war over a name.
Look at Sergio Aguero.
The Argentine forward took to life in the English Premier League instantly, knocking in goals for Manchester City and heading an impressive strike corps with the likes of David Silva and Edin Dzeko. His presence and instant success may well have bothered some of the bigger egos in the team as the likes of Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez were not completely catered for or coddled, but for manager Roberto Mancini it did not matter. They were flying high.
As it stands now, though, City have fallen behind rivals Manchester United in the race for the EPL title and the goal glut is over. There is not a drought but the good-time feeling is gone. The City squad are under pressure and the lack of familiarity is said to be creating tensions within the camp.
Now it is being consistently reported that Real Madrid, the leaders of La Liga this term and another financial giant, want Aguero. It is even being stated by Football365 that Diego Maradona –the iconic Argentinean star and Aguero’s father-in-law –has told a radio station in his homeland that Kun (Aguero’s nickname) has made a mistake.
According to a blunt Maradona, Aguero has done incredibly well at City, but he and Real Madrid should still move Heaven and Earth to unite.
Some publications are reporting that the best thing for City would be to let Aguero go and take Gonzalo Higuain, Real’s own Argentine forward, in a swap deal. However, this is the power of mystique again. There is an assumption that if Real want someone they will get them. City have the fiscal muscle to fight this and cannot bow to pressures.
This goes to the heart of the matter because while a lot of these spoilt City stars are not used to being treated as ordinary or as anything other than ethereal wonders, United are in the process of relegating them to a second class. Without fanfare.
The City players are frustrated and with five strikers, worth over £140m in transfer fees and all said to be unhappy with their lot, Mancini is at a career-defining crossroads.
If Aguero is allowed to leave then the City project becomes tarnished. Their own mystique will dim and the European forces will laugh amongst themselves about the nouveau riche. Money can only get a team so far, but the rich must adapt and adopt a certain level of class so as to maintain a reputation.
City, therefore, must hold on to Aguero. They need to become the team that has the power to bend players’ wills. By all means allow disruptive and selfish players to go. Balotelli is young and talented enough to pick up a new deal instantly and Tevez is too much of a negative influence to keep around. Letting them go would look strong, it would galvanize the squad and it would shout out that City are not to be trifled with, from the inside or the outside.