Football agents aren't the men to blame

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For many football fans, the player agent is an unwanted and unnecessary addition within the game.

Managers have also voiced their concern over the fees paid to the likes of Pini Zahavi and Mino Raiola, the ‘super agents’ who work for some of the world’s top players.

In 2011, the Premier League spent £71.8 million in fees to agents, with Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur the biggest culprits in the top flight.

"When I see some of the figures banded about it seems like we're in the wrong game,” said Spurs boss Harry Redknapp back in 2009.

"That's the game to be in. It's incredible when I see some of the figures, just amazing. Obviously people have made an awful lot of money out of being football agents over the last few years."

It’s clear that things haven’t changed in the top flight, with agents still taking their commission from any deal they manage to work.

The latest example comes from Paul Pogba’s free transfer from Manchester United to Juventus, with agent Raiola set to net over £1 million from the switch to Serie ‘A’.

But can anyone really blame the agent for cashing-in on the service they provide? If the reports are true, then Pogba will be looking at first team football with the Old Lady next season, something he hasn’t been able to achieve during his time under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Additionally, a healthy wage rise for the client would appear to be good business for everyone involved – apart from United. If you’re a fan, then it’s easy to be angered and say the agent has engineered the move. But has he?

As we’ve so often discussed in the past, the real power in football now lies with the player. If Pogba had wanted to stay at Old Trafford, he would have done. It’s hard to see it any other way than as simple as that.

Another gripe against the agent comes when he ‘touts’ his client’s availability to other clubs through the national press.

Some recent examples would be Robin Van Persie’s agents, Jeroen Hoogewerf and Cornelis Vos, discussing a move to AC Milan, and Luuk de Jong’s agent confirming Liverpool’s interest in the Dutch striker.

However, these comments serve two key purposes. Firstly, they sell national newspapers and generate huge interest in a player’s possible movements. You can always question the validity or completely truthful nature of remarks, but they certainly get the client in the press.

And secondly, they make clubs aware of a player’s possible availability. Taking De Jong as an example, confirmation that Liverpool have shown an interest in the player could alert other clubs, like Newcastle for example, that the player they’ve been targeting might be on the move.

That’s the whole point, and from the agent’s perspective, he’s simply doing his job by drumming up interest in the player. That extra £1 million on the transfer fee could mean extra money for everyone involved – the agent included.

If your client does make a big-money move, then you've done your job. Whether you deserve millions in a bonus payment is up for debate, but it's understandable that, given the figures that are changing hands between clubs for players, that the agent makes a tidy sum.

And, whilst we can resent the man for doing his job well, it's difficult to place the blame for the amount of money he earns squarely at the agent's door. If people are willing to pay it, then your sure to cash-in.

Agents have found their market, and the biggest problem is their damn good at their job!

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