Is foreign investment ruining football?

By Marco Selci

Is the influx of foreign investment having a negative effect on the Beautiful Game? Over the past few years we’ve seen foreign money influence football club’s popularity, status and most importantly their silverware cabinet. But is this ruining the game for fans and players, or is it actually a change for the better?

Kaka Mania

Over the past week in every sport section of every media source, the topic on everyone’s lips is the potential transfer of Kaka to Manchester City for £100m. For many, the price tag and monthly wages being talked about are absurd. However, if the deal goes through, it could trigger some outstanding changes to the game!

If Kaka does move to City, the Rossineri have stressed that they won’t fill the sizeable gap left by the Brazilian. It has been reported that there are possible links for Arsenal striker, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien, despite general manager Adriano Gallini being adamant that Milan won’t bring anyone in:

“There are no replacements for Kaka, because he is unique,” Galliani told Sky Italia. “Therefore if he leaves we will remain as we are.”

But with such money, AC could bring in several new faces to help them gain ground on current leaders of Serie A, Inter Milan. Or they could make invest in a stronger youth system (especially considering that the average age of AC’s squad is roughly 30-years-old), and it would especially be useful to pay off debts.

On the other hand, for City, the 2007 World Player of the Year could make a tremendous difference. Over the years Kaka has greatly contributed to both Brazil and AC. And with the vast amounts of money available to them, they can continue to bring in the big names. Personally I feel that they’re taking the same path as Chelsea.

For better or for worse?

When fans and the media talk about these types of situations they always talk about the great spectacular possibilities of what is next – but do they ever consider the resulting consequences a few years down the line?

Haven’t we seen this all before? Roman Abramovich and Chelsea is a fine example of where money is thrown all over the place with the intention of creating a ‘super club’. Through this little parade we saw several new faces in the Premier League, but has it made a dramatic difference to the club itself?

An example that pops to mind is the buying and later selling of Andrey Shevchenko. Before Shevchenko moved to Chelsea, he was portrayed as a goal-hungry striker that was bound to be on the score sheet. This was the expectation that Chelsea had held for him when he signed, but unfortunately he couldn’t make the same impact as he had at AC. And more recently, it seems that other players are falling into a similar pattern. Srtiker Didier Drogba has been under-performing and it looks as if this season will be his last at Chelsea.

But having said all this, opportunities like these could have made an significant difference to players such as Christian Vieri. The Italian, who is currently playing for Atalanta, was supposedly one of Mourinho’s main targets at Chelsea a few years back. If Vieri had accepted this deal it’s possible that his career might have been prolonged at top level, instead of becoming a free agent and settling to play for mid-table sides like Sampdoria and Atalanta.

So is all this money actually damaging the face of football? Fulham’s Mohamed Al-Fayed thinks so – he strongly believes that the Premier League should introduce a cap on transfers fees and players wages, especially following the Kaka saga.

“Its madness, if you have one fantastic striker, what about the rest of the team, the players around him? It’s gambling to do things like that. It’s bad news for football because it’s devastating.”

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