A curious phenomenon has erupted on social media channels in the last few days, with a stream of Manchester United supporters venting their annoyance over what they view to be the media’s ‘obsession’ with the wages set to be paid to Alexis Sanchez when he completes his move to Old Trafford.
Reports have suggested that a package worth in excess of £500,000-a-week will be handed to Sanchez when he completes his move from Arsenal to United, with agents fees and additional payments making this one of the most lucrative deals in English football history.
As we are all naturally curious by the wealth flowing in the direction of the rich and famous in any strand of the entertainment industry – and that is what football has long since become – it’s inevitable that back and even some front page headlines will focus on English football’s first £500,000-a-week footballers.
Yet any social media post reporting on Sanchez’s lavish wages over the last 48 hours has been greeted with huge hostility by United fans who appear to believe their club are being treated differently than their rivals when it comes to scrutiny of major transfers.
Why the hell are journalists making up false numbers whenever utd do transfers? Just stop.
— Tony11 (@Luke_MUFC_FAM) January 17, 2018
Is it your money? Why does his wages bother anyone? United, a team very much within the FFP regulations are free to spend their money how they like. I couldn't care if they burned it or gave it away. A world class player gracing OT? Priceless. Get a life #mufc #Sanchez
— Karl Milnes (@TheGeeHad) January 17, 2018
Why are we all of a sudden including the total wage expenditure over the contract period in the transfer fee now? Never usually do that? Is it because it’s United and people are clutching at straws to find how they can spin this as a bad deal somehow?
— Lee Noble (@LeeNoble20) January 17, 2018
Strange how it’s only MUFC transfers where media talk about transfer fee and include wages, signing on fee and agents fee into it. Liverpool sign van dijk for £70m+ no one mentions wages etc. That’s what’s annoying. Media do what they can to make price seem as inflated as as poss
— Hus (@Mark_Hus) January 17, 2018
It may be that these supporters who were on holiday when the world’s media chewed over the carcass of Neymar’s ridiculously extravagant €200m move to Paris Saint-Germain last summer, when agents fees and payments that were distributed to all parties in that record breaking deal filled pages of websites and newspapers last summer.
Liverpool’s capture of Virgil van Dijk for £75m was followed by a stream of reports questioning why the Anfield club had paid so much for the Dutch defender, with the fine details of Philippe Coutinho’s £142m move from Liverpool to Barcelona a couple of weeks later attracting similar analysis suggesting the fees and payments involved were dramatically overinflated.
Scrutiny over Manchester City’s extravagant spending over recent years has been the subject of tireless reporting, with Pep Guardiola’s club constantly accused of changing the landscape of their English game courtesy of their vast investment from their Abu Dhabi-based owners.
Meanwhile, there were similar snipes fired in the direction of Chelsea when their owner Roman Abramovich change the landscape of the Premier League when he splashed the cash following his arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2003 and this phenomenon is not restricted to the biggest deals in the Premier League.
Who isn’t interested to know how much Tom Cruise earns for every movie? Or how much Ed Sheeran collected from his hard to explain musical success story of 2017? We all know these elite superstars pocket money the rest of us can only dream about but that does not diminish our curiosity to discover the fine details of their earnings.
The notion that the media have a vendetta or a campaign to discredit United’s deal to sign Sanchez is laughable as it would make no commercial sense to run negative stories on the most popular club in English football.
The reality is that when a footballer is handed the biggest contract in the history of the Premier League, the media will be attracted to a numbers game that will be a discussion point for football fans in pubs up and down the country this week.
Sanchez will earn his huge money as United’s new No.7 because a bulk of the transfer fee that is not being paid as he is effectively out-of-contract will end up in his bank account and that of his agent. On that basis, this deal makes financial sense for Old Trafford officials, with the Chile international’s commercial potential in South America adding to his appeal.
As for the grumbling United fans, they should not worry about the money flowing in the direction of their new hero and just be grateful that they have a player who has the class to transform the second half of their season.