Death to the “long-term contract”
The two biggest stories of the day in the world of football have both involved the inking of a particularly irksome new footballing cliche: the “long-term contract”.
Over the last year or two, the “long-term contract” has become a favoured piece of paperwork among the Premier League elite. Today both Santi Cazorla, signing for Arsenal, and Luis Suarez, extending his Liverpool deal, have put pen to paper on such a contract.
This bastard brother of the “undisclosed fee” seems to have risen to prominence as clubs seek to increase the secrecy around the precise ties between them and their players. But even if nobody else can be bothered to ask, OTP will: what’s the point?
Unfortunately, these contracts have to be seen by the player and his agent when they sign it. As we understand it, these parties are allowed to know the length of the contract. And not just in general terms (you are signing a medium-term contract). Oh no, they’ve given a date that the contract ends and everything.
That means that, regardless of whether we know the contract length or not, the aforementioned agent will still be whoring his client’s availability around when there are 18 months left to run on the contract. Some of those who are being offered the player’s services will, in time-honoured fashion, tell the media and the player’s future will still be debated in the gossip columns.
So, why not just tell us in the first place that they’ve signed a three, four or five-year-deal?