What are footballers motives for joining lesser known teams around the world?

This topic has been something that I have pondered for some time now and I know its also something that my friends think about too when we are mentioning football transfers. This summer we have already seen a number of “world class” players joining clubs that in my opinion will not do them justice.

There are always them transfers every season that surprise even the biggest football fans amongst us, but recently the transfers that have been surprising me haven’t been because its world class players joining other world class teams but instead its been “well regarded” players joining smaller clubs in lets be honest unknown leagues. I’ve always wondered what the motives for these deals were and now i’m going to explore this further.

Signing Number 1 

Name: Andre Pierre Gignac

Age: 29

Transfer: Marseille to Tigres UANL

Transfer Fee: Free Transfer

Gignac unveils the number 10 shirt for his new club Tigres
Gignac unveils the number 10 shirt for his new club Tigres

Now Andre Pierre Gignac was always going to leave his old club Marseille this summer after his contract ran out and their were many clubs interested in the signature of the french hit man. He was linked with moves to West Ham and Aston Villa but finally decided on a deal with Mexican club Tigres UANL which left me rather shocked.

Why would you join a club in which there will be no European football when you had the chance to do so at West Ham. He was the Ligue 1  3rd highest scorer and this clearly shows that he still has what it takes to play at the top level. So why lower  yourself when it is not needed? The only real answer for this is money. Footballers of today claim that no move in football is done based on financial benefits but certain deals don’t help this stereotype. It is reported that Gignac will be earning $4.5 million a year whilst he is playing for Tigres.

I’m sure that Gignac would be the first to come out and support his deal and saying how excited he is for his new challenge at this big club. When reality is this may well be a big club in Mexico but to the rest of the world know body really knows who they are. Football transfers to these smaller lesser known teams have to be done for something more than money right? Or am I blind to see what the beautiful game has become?

Transfer 2: 

Name: Demba Ba 

Age: 30

Transfer: Besiktas to Shanghai Shenhua 

Transfer Fee: Reported £11 million

Demba Ba already being welcomed to Shanghai
Demba Ba already being welcomed to Shanghai

Now Demba Ba is a player Premier League fanatics like me know a lot about from his stints at different premier league clubs. Firstly introduced to us all by West Ham United where he only played a hand full of games at the end of the 2011 season after joining on loan. He scored 7 goals in 12 appearances and this earn’t him a move to Newcastle United where he instantly hit the ground running scoring 29 goals in 54 games. He then went on to join Chelsea in which his career took a slight dip after not receiving sufficient playing time. He wanted to transfer away from Chelsea to receive playing time which is more than understandable as no player wants to be consistently sitting on the bench. So he joined Turkish side Besiktas which was a really good move for the powerful front man. Besiktas were a club with regular Champions league appearances every year so Ba would still be known amongst teams in Europe. Ba scored 19 goals in 28 games for the Turkish side where he has only played one season before just 2 days ago decided to move on once again.

Demba Ba has agreed to joining Shanghai Shenhua in China. Now its not the first time a big name has joined the team. If we remember Didier Drogba left Chelsea to play for this team and figured out that it was not right for him and left soon after. I think that Ba is going to realize that playing in the Chinese league is not what he wants this early into his career. Ba was receiving a lot of interest from Premier League clubs including West Ham, Newcastle, Aston Villa and West Brom. He decided to turn these teams down which is a surprise as playing in the premier league is many players dream. Ba clearly had a better offer from the Chinese club. Now if this is true it wouldn’t be because they could offer him more as a player because they simply wouldn’t be able to as they quality of football is not high enough.

Once again it looks like this deal has materialized through the temptations of higher payments. Currently I am unable to find a wage figure for Ba but my guess is that it is going to be rather big. To turn down a move back to the premier league could only be because the Chinese club were offering him higher wages. I cant see Ba staying there more than 2 seasons at maximum before he realizes that he made a massive mistake. Its sad to me to think that money can control players so much nowadays. Before this would never have been the case and players would join a team simply due to the fact that they wanted to play regular football for the team and put there all into every game.

Transfer 3 

Player Name: Pauliniho

Age: 26

Transfer: Tottenham Hotspur to Guangzhou Evergrande

Transfer Fee: £9.9 million

Pauliniho posing with the owner of Guangzhou with his number 48 shirt
Pauliniho posing with the owner of Guangzhou with his number 48 shirt

It has been reported today that Pauliniho has agreed a deal with Guangzhou Evergrande in a deal reportedly worth £9.9 million.

This deal has come completely out of the blue. There were reports that Pauliniho could have made a move to premier league new boys Watford but once again we see how a player this summer has chosen to join a smaller lesser known team for unknown reasons. To me it makes no sense why at the age of 26 you would want to damage your career so much by moving to these smaller footballing countries. Pauliniho is a player who is in his prime age of footballing ability and i feel a move like this is only being done for money because he isn’t going to improve his game if that’s what he wants. I would understand if the player was in his mid thirties and coming to the end of his career but not this early on. Pauliniho was a player who come with a lot of potential to Spurs and hasn’t quite yet been able to fulfill this. Unfortunately with this move to China going through I don’t think he will ever reach his full potential he could have at a bigger club. I don’t know if he has moved for money reasons or if he has moved for the stardom of being the best player in the team?

I hope this isn’t the last we hear of Pauliniho but I have a bad feeling it may be. This move makes no sense  to me.  I never understand players who have the option to play at a top flight team but turn it down. For all they know that may have been their last shot at the big time and now its gone.

Transfer 4

Player Name: Carlos Tevez

Age: 31

Transfer: Juventus to Boca Juniors

Transfer Fee: Undisclosed

Tevez has gone back to his olod club Boca Juniors to see out his footballing career
Tevez has gone back to his olod club Boca Juniors to see out his footballing career

Now Carlos Tevez is another player who you could say has made a rather surprising transfer (if your not an avid football fan) to Boca Juniors.

Now knowing that Carlos Tevez has always wanted to finish his career back in his birthplace of Argentina it was no surprise that the Argentine has made the move.

Tevez had a brilliant season in Turin with his club Juventus guiding them to the league title where he was top scorer and also making a Champions League final where they lost out in the end to Barcelona. Nevertheless it was a brilliant season for Tevez and maybe he wanted to leave his top flight career on a high.

Unlike the transfers that we have seen before this deal is not about money or fame. This is just a passionate footballer who wants to give back to the country of his birth and the country that made him the brilliant footballer that he was in the last stage of his career. It is a really strong gesture from Tevez showing that money isn’t everything in football. He also turned down the chance to go too last years world cup in Brazil as he took his family away to Disney Land.

My Final Thoughts 

I hate to admit it but from thinking about transfers and football in more depth players are becoming more and more cash obsessed. 3 out of the 4 transfers we have explored with the exception of Carlos Tevez all have a “hint” of wage increases surrounding them.

Now I cant be 100% sure that this is why these deals have taken place but it is hard to see around anything else but that. It’s a shame that players no longer just want to play for enjoyment and representing a club to their best ability. I think their needs to be some sort of cap put on player wages as some of the fee’s we see now on players who aren’t even that great are astronomical but that’s another debate which will be explored in more detail at a later date.

As a die hard football fan it does hurt to see clearly that some players are making transfer moves simply just for monetary increase. I cant think of another sport in the world where finance plays such a huge role in deciding their path. Football needs to change before things become out of hand.

Please feel free to leave comments on your opinions on some of the surprising football transfers this summer and what you believe the motives behind them may be.


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