Monday , December 11 2023

Power to the players


Nguyễn Quang Hải looks to be on his way out of Hà Nội FC on a free transfer. Photo

Peter Cowan

Player power has a bad reputation in much of the football world, but I think if anything more of it is needed.

The Messis and Ronaldos of this world who can dictate a lot of what goes on at a club are few and far between, whereas the vast majority of professional footballers the world over have their fate in the hands of their clubs, which is rarely a good thing.

You only need to look at how regularly V.League 1 clubs are accused of failing to pay their players on time to see that more player power in this part of the world is badly needed.

Nguyễn Quang Hải may have more in common with global superstars than he does with the average Vietnamese player in terms of player power, but his transfer could still be a turning point for players here.

Over the weekend it was reported that contract talks between Việt Nam’s best player and Hà Nội FC had broken down, leaving the door open for him to move abroad on a free transfer when his contract expires in April.

Now, we all know no transfer is a done deal until a player is holding his new club’s shirt at a press conference (and sometimes not even then), but it’s looking more likely than ever that the playmaker will get the foreign move he should have gotten years ago.

Hải strutting his stuff at a higher club level will be great for him, good for the national team and the overall development of Vietnamese football, but the most immediate impact could come in how clubs handle players like him.

Hải has been linked with overseas moves for several years now but rumours always swirled that Hà Nội’s asking price was astronomical, which likely put off otherwise interested suitors.

Now though, the capital side look all but guaranteed to lose their prize asset for nothing.

If that isn’t a wake-up call for Vietnamese clubs I’m not sure they’ll ever wake up.

The powers that be at Hà Nội were well within their rights to try and get maximum value for Hải as an asset, but realism has to come into play at some point. Surely they knew how much he wanted to play at a higher level? Surely they knew their chances of holding onto him depended on offering an astronomical payday and hoping greed outweighed ambition?

Now that Hải has held his nerve and ran his contract out, one would hope the likes of Viettel and Hoàng Anh Gia Lai are paying attention to the predicament Hà Nội have landed themselves in.

They too have Vietnamese players on their books worthy of a move abroad, most notably Viettel’s Nguyễn Hoàng Đức.

If they want to avoid Hà Nội’s fate, perhaps it’s time to come to the negotiating table with foreign clubs with open minds and strike a deal that lets the Vietnamese clubs cash in, the foreign clubs scoop up an exciting talent, and the player fulfill his dreams. VnExpress News


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