How Holland’s advisors worked on the system on the way to Manchester City

In the days leading up to the end of last summer’s transfer window, several senior Manchester City executives gathered in the conference hall, on the club’s extensive campus, to find out what was right and what was wrong with the previous pairings. Months.

While City, the Premier League champions, were able to persuade Aston Villa to leave Jack Grill, the dishonest playmaker who became England’s main star at the European Championships – making him one of the most expensive players in English history in the process – it failed. His other priority target, Tottenham striker Harry Kane, landed.

What was always a difficult, painful persecution instead turned into a quarrel over who was guilty. Kane at one point refused to train with Tottenham at the club he supported as a child, hoping to force Spurs to do so, but his attempt failed. Tottenham have argued that City have failed to come up with an offer that would be a starting point for negotiations.

That afternoon, City executives pondered their strategy, wondered why the deal had not been implemented, and discussed how it would proceed. When the meeting was over and his colleagues were about to leave, Khaldun al-Mubarak, the club’s chairman, made one last remark. It consisted of only two words, ambition and instruction. “Erling Holland,” he said.

After a little over nine months, that goal has been achieved. On Tuesday afternoon, City confirmed that they had reached a “principle agreement” with the current Dutch club, Borussia Dortmund, to give birth to the striker, one of the two most wanted forwards in world football this summer – 85 goalscorer. The 88 games in Dortmund and with Killian Mbabane are seen as one of the twins carrying standard football for the first post-Messi, the next generation of Ronaldo.

In fact, of course, it did not take nine months to sign any kind of agreement with Dortmund. Holland’s contract contained a buyout point of around $ 75 million, which did not allow Dortmund to say where he would play next season. All City and anyone else had to do was inform Dortmund of their intention to pay. Holland’s employer could not make the deal.

The process of convincing Holland that City was the right next step in his meticulously planned career was much more difficult. The 21-year-old Holland may have an emotional connection to the club: his father, Alfie, played for City at the turn of the century and although his son does not remember spending time in Manchester, he told the Times in 2019 that he had some love for all his former teams.

But as the town knew, Erling Halland’s unique ascent was a precious little place for romance. Each stage of his journey was painted with surgical – perhaps cynical – precision by his twin Sherpa: his longtime representative, Mino Raiola, a separatist Dutch-Italian agent who died last month; And his father.

When Hollande left his hometown team, Brian, as a teenager, he rejected overtures from English and German teams that followed him in favor of Austrian Red Bull Salzburg, where there was both a reliable production line for European major leagues as well as prospects. Matches in the Champions League. When he left Salzburg a year later, it was not for England but for Dortmund, a club that has the experience to develop and sell players and the willingness to set a reasonable ransom point.

This, of course, meant that not only was Hollande opposed to the recession – $ 75 million, by modern standards, is a pretty good value for a player who seems designed and designed to score as many goals as possible – but also when an imminent auction To begin with, the bar would not be the one who would pay Dortmund the most, but the one who would collect the most attractive package for the player and his advisers.

For best results, Raiola and Alfie Holland traveled to European superclubs, sparking interest and lighting up. Was at Real Madrid and Barcelona. Eyelashes flew in the unknown direction of Chelsea and Manchester United. There was even, for some time, a flirtation with Bayern Munich.

That, of course, was their business. This is exactly what Raiola was paid for. He did it with astonishing efficiency: not only because current estimates suggest the deal would be worth $ 200 million in the North as a whole, given Haland’s salary and various agents’ fees, but also because at this time he might have invented a whole new paradigm. About how agents shape the careers of their players.

The wisdom gained in football has always been that players – to put it bluntly – should always take money, a big break as soon as they can. After all, only one injury needs to blow up the most well-laid plans; One summer hobby can be thinking about another. Clubs are changeable and everything has an expiration date.

Rayola canceled this for Hollande and preferred a policy of delayed satisfaction. He did not pursue an astonishing transfer fee – as he did, perhaps, for his other client, Paul Pogba – but rather slowly addressed his client, gradually becoming convinced that he was not only in a position to make a leap into one of Europe’s elite teams. But do it so as to give preference to the player (and his representatives) and not the club that owned his contract at the time.

City offer is a reward. This is not a step without his warnings: Manager Pep Guardiola has worked with some of the best strikers of the modern era, but not always successfully. He spent six years in City perfecting his system, but had to make a complete overhaul to suit Holland. However, sometimes football is a surprisingly simple game. A player who scores a lot of goals will join a team that creates lots of chances to really only have one result.

Whether or not this is the final award, however, is another matter. Around the same time as City was preparing its announcement, Mbabane was busy having dinner in Madrid. His contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires in a few weeks and despite an incredibly big offer to stay, it looks like he is set to move to Real Madrid this summer. Funding this deal is likely to be what the dwarf City offered Holland.

This is a logical next step in the model that Rayola and the Holland family pioneered. This is a reflection of the financial reality of football. There is no price at which City or PSG feel compelled to sell a player. This leaves only one option: cancel the contract and enter the free market.

This is the challenge that awaits the city, somewhere down there. He won, this time, by convincing Hollande – his first real, plug-and-play superstar, a man who is considered but never referred to as a franchisee – was his next best move. Reading for a player whose career has been so rigidly, so ruthlessly planned, whether this is his last.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.