That’s a pretty nice tabloidy headline if I do say so myself.
Anyhoo, you may have seen some Twitter carping about this this morning:
Brek Shea’s proposed move to Stoke City has been plunged into doubt and may not be completed during the January transfer window.
Shea, 22, had been expected to begin a week’s training with Tony Pulis’s squad on Monday, but did not arrive at Stoke’s Clayton Wood traning ground.
It appears the deal to bring the FC Dallas midfielder to England has hit a snag over his valuation, despite the two clubs agreeing a fee in the region of £2 million.
Under American rules, that figure has to be ratified by Major League Soccer, and ESPN understands the MLS wants a transfer fee almost double that which had been agreed.
There was a lot of belly-aching on this, but as Major League Soccer is a single-entity organization, they hold Shea’s contract. If they think they need to hardball Stoke on a higher price for which the league will receive one-third of the total, then so be it.
But this also raises the issue of the arbitrary nature of MLS’ transfer fee policy. Brian Strauss tweeted out this apologia for MLS sticking their nose in their clubs’ transfer beeswax:
I’m a proponent of single entity to the degree that it will afford MLS a measure of stability in the American sports scene until the league can figure out a way to earn a more sizeable slice of the TV rights revenue pie. I disagree with those who think MLS just needs to loosen the fuck up, buy amazing Euro stars for outrageous prices, and watch the TV money roll in. Yes, this ain’t the NASL, but establishing an impossible European precedent in the blind hope that MLS could even remotely match the domestic revenue package of the Premier League is really stupid.
The downside to my mind though with single-entity is the murky power of the central office in okaying or naying various transfer deals, DPs or no. There are now many MLS conspiracy theorists who think different rules apply to different clubs in MLS (meaining RBNY and LAG), and they’d be in some ways correct. The myth of hard allocation money still persists. As does the rumour that Don Garber denied Olof Mellberg a DP slot at Toronto FC because nobody thinks central defenders are cool.
The lack of transparency in this area isn’t doing MLS much good in the fan PR department. As long as supporters don’t know what’s going on behind these deals, they can fill in the blanks anyway they like. And that’s the real issue with this story. In a league that is very much in love with its shadowy backdoor bullshit, the secrets and lies in transfer deals throws unnecessary fuel on the fire.