The Art of (Galliani's) Negotiation

Score one for the man with the yellow tie - Claudio Villa

Juventus, Fiorentina, Napoli, and Roma continue to build while Milan are staying put. Why doesn't Galliani just buck up and pay?

In response to many people complaining about Galliani not pulling the trigger on the Keisuke Honda and Adem Ljajic sales, I decided to attempt to clarify what is really going on here. Let’s remember, Adriano Galliani is the best in the business. Milan have more Champion’s League titles during his tenure than Barcelona have in their history. Yet we still doubt his methods? Come on now. Let’s get for real. Despite the lack of faith, I will do my best to put this whole situation into perspective.

Note: As I began writing this, it became evident how long this article was going to be. So I’m going to split this into 2 parts. Part 1- Rich clubs and buying players at peak value. Part 2- When to Buy and the Player’s Desire.

First, let’s talk about a few rules of negotiating (all this will be in the frame of transfer season). The teams that pay the most money for players are the stupid rich clubs who buy players after a phenomenal season when the selling club really wants to keep him with a lot of interested clubs early in the transfer window while the player is more or less indifferent to arriving at the buying club. Ok, now take a deep breath. Still with me? Ok let’s go through this step by step.

Rich clubs- when the selling club knows you have a ton of money in the bank, they will naturally demand more. If you are negotiating with Manchester City or Bologna, you know that Manchester City has about 200x the budget of the Rossoblu. Naturally, you demand more money from the Citizens. Case in point is Napoli. Aurelio De Laurentis announces that his club have 60 million to spend BEFORE they sold Cavani for 63 million. Pause for math. That means that they have 123 million to spend on players… and everyone knows that. Now Napoli get no discounts on any players and they pay 37 million for Gonzalo Higuain. I have never been an Higuain guy, but 37 million? Galliani got Balotelli for just over half that. Now lets look to Milan. Everyone thinks Milan has no money. A year after selling Ibra, Thiago Silva and Pato for a combined 75 million, Milan obtained the 4th highest payday from UEFA for CL participation; that’s another $51.4 million. All that in addition to cutting salaries and lowering transfer fees and operating costs in general. You still think Milan have no money? This is all a play by Galliani. Everyone thinks Milan has no money, so they don’t demand as much naturally. Win Galliani.

Buying players at peak value- the easiest example of this idea that’s been all over the news is Gareth Bale. This is not meant to knock Gareth Bale, because I love watching him and think he’s a great footballer. But the suggestion that his transfer to Madrid break the all-time transfer fee record baffles me. Cristiano is one of the top players of our generation. He won a few EPL titles, a CL title and was the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year at the time of his transfer. Bale has nowhere near that trophy cabinet. Why is he so expensive? He’s coming off a career year. He carried Tottenham. That team just missed the top 4 and had no business being anywhere close to top 4. Bottom line, he is at peak value. It’s extremely difficult to think that Bale would be worth any more than he is right now. Players in their prime require premium prices. Bale, Ronaldo, Kaka, Cavani, and Lavezzi are just a few examples that contribute to this point. Galliani buys players at their low points. Balotelli had a middleweight title bout with Mancini right and had an awful first half to his season when Milan bought him. Ibra is another example. Another way to get players cheaper is near the end of their contracts (Ljajic and Honda). Teams would rather not risk losing a player for free in a year and will take a massively reduced price. Galliani is the king of both of these. He is working CSKA and Fiorentina right now. They both hate Fester, but Fester will end up with his players. It’s their choice. Lose the players now and take the money? Or lose the player for free in a year (or 6 months with Honda)? It’s their choice. Either way. Galliani gets his man (and saves several million along the way).

Well that’s it for Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2!

You can follow Tony on twitter @TonyScerra.

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