Changes in football, like life, can alter everything in an instant. One day it’s normal then out the blue SMASH. A clubs turned upside down, there team-mates are in shock (if they didn’t already know) and the fans are the most let down. Every team has felt it, whether it’s a team from the upper echelons of world football or a team playing in the lower divisions. A fan favourite, the teams most important player asks to leave !!
For teams winning leagues it’s easier to cope with, no one player makes a team, the other great players can rally round and make the difference. Huge sums of money are often involved and replacements can be sought. For teams in the lower regions of football, a sense of inevitability comes across, “He was always going to leave one day”, “He was too good for us to keep” are heard banded about the terraces. The money generated can be enough to replace half a team in some cases and in other more extreme circumstances save the football club as a whole. The pain is no greater or smaller whatever club you follow, it’s how the club deals with it that defines the healing process. For some though it’s an altogether different feeling, clubs with rich history’s of winning trophies and competing at the very top only to have been sub-standard in recent times. In the past it probably wouldn’t have happened that frequently but the way the clubs being run now means that todays reality is very different.
On Saturday 21st May 2011 Sergio ‘Kun’ Agüero scored a hat-trick away to Mallorca, 101 goals in 234 appearances in his time in Spain. He’s joint best scoring season with 27 goals in all competitions and his best in the league with 20 goals. A 121 minutes per goal (mpg) scoring rate for the year. Former fan favourite and local boy Fernando Torres scored 91 goals in 249 appearances which included a season in the Segunda. His best season saw him score 21 in all comps with 19 of those having come in the league. His best season being 177 mpg, a far cry from his time at new club Chelsea where he has one goal to his name in 1094 minutes. Obviously with the exception of one season they played in different sides, so that should also be taken into consideration. But this does show the pedigree that Kun has for those that are unsure if he’s really that good, when comparing Fernando’s scoring rate at International level during his time at Atletico 14 goals in 43 games, 0.32 goals per game (gpg). Kun with Argentina has seen him score 9 goals in 25 games, 0.36 gpg. With the difference only slight, perhaps more tellingly is their record in European competitions. Torres had made just 11 appearances and 2 goals, 0.18 gpg, Agüero had made 39 appearances and 20 goals, 0.51 gpg. Whilst this is more conclusive that Atleti have been a stronger side in recent seasons due to more involvement in European competition it does suggest that Kun is a more complete and rounded goalscorer than the one that set sail for Anfield. With El Nino having left a few months after turning 23 and Kun due to have his 23rd birthday next week, its advisory for their next young star striker to be locked in a cupboard at the Vicente Calderon next time that milestone approaches.
Of his 101 goals for the club 49 of them have come in away games, for such a young player this shows he can be relied upon to find the net even in hostile and uncomfortable environments. Against the ‘Big Two’ he has 9 goals in 19 starts. As well as goals against Sevilla, Villarreal, Valencia, Chelsea and Internazionale. Theres more to his game than just goals however, his movement on and of the ball is fantastic, always looking to play off the last defender, using his pace to time his runs to perfection.
Under the current board there was always an acceptance amongst the fans that he would move on to pastures new but its the timing that is what often cuts through the supporters the most. Having signed a new contract not so long back (even though this lowered his buyout clause) and said “If I wanted to leave the club, I wouldn’t have renewed my contract as I would have been free to leave in 11 months.” Maybe the part where he says “I will decide the day not the club, nor my agent” when talking about leaving the most important part to the statement. Monday 23rd May 2011, 2 days after his glorious treble, the papers Marca and AS reported he had told Atletico Madrid he wanted them to listen to offers. On his Twitter page and his official website came the news every Atletico fan dreaded, “I said a while back that when I wanted to leave, I would announce it publicly. That moment has arrived. It’s difficult for me to leave Atleti. It hurts me and makes me sad. But it’s not difficult for me to explain why I am leaving.”
Since then President Enrique Cerezo told Spanish newspaper AS “The decision of Kun catches us by surprise. Lets see if I am going to take the blame for everything that is going on with Kun”. Even though in Kun’s statement he says “I was promised by the club that no conditions would be placed on my eventual decision to leave in June 2011.” Someones telling fibs !! Who exactly is open to interpretation, only the people in the boardroom at the time of various meetings truly know. Though it’s fair to say an unpopular and disjointed board will do everything they can to paint the picture of the player in the wrong. It’s clear Kun feels it’s time to leave, whether the club knew of his intentions or are secretly happy for him to leave may or may not come into the open in the future. With the ‘Green and Gold’ protests at the club the fans know where to direct their blame. With the prospect of losing Agüero and the impending move of De Gea to Manchester United this summer those protests are likely to be stepped up. The official stance varies between ‘Not for Sale’ or only for the €45 million buyout clause depending on source. The buyout clause would include taxes if the sale was to a fellow Spanish club taking a potential deal to €70 million. With Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool all interested, Kun’s destination is far from certain. Real Madrid seem to be the favourites but transfer situations can change in an instant and there are as many grey areas as their are black and white. Many players are often open to the idea of joining a variety of different clubs despite the party line they will toe on arrival at there new surroundings. Real Madrid have also stated they aren’t interested but then they have history of saying that and then doing the opposite. Kun’s father-in-law one Diego Maradona this week talked of Kun’s happiness in Madrid and his own fondness for Jose Mourinho, make of that what you will. Whether he stays or go’s questions will continue to be asked of both board and player, whilst Kun has always conducted himself well off the pitch with advice coming from his notorious father-in-law and having elves writing tattooed on the inside of one of his forearms there are signs that he could think a little differently from the rest of us. Remember the most fantastic marriages can end in the dirtiest of divorces.