The big unknown is whether there will be a legal challenge. FIFpro, the body that claims to represent professional players across Europe and which took part in the negotiations with the EC, has yet to rule out the possibility of a challenge to the new rules in the courts.
In response to a question about the Zidane transfer, FIFA president Sepp Blatter revealed that the new system would not affect deals ‘where all three parties agree’. It would seem that, despite the new rules, transfer fees are set to climb even higher.
Ironic, then, that arguably the most significant transfer of the summer, after Zidane, involved no transfer fee.
The saga of Sol Campbell’s long, protracted exit from Tottenham was finally brought to an end when he signed a four-year deal with Arsenal.
Spurs were powerless to prevent the defender, a free agent, from joining their most bitter rivals. The move will be recorded in the history books as a free transfer, but it was anything but that for Arsenal. With Campbell’s reported signing-on fee of œ10m and wages of œ50,000 a week, the whole deal is likely to cost Arsenal more than œ20m.
Campbell’s agent, Sky Andrew, used the interest of Internazionale, Liverpool and Barcelona to raise the stakes in a deal that offers a glimpse of the future: higher fees, shorter contracts, bigger wages and, above all, all power to the players and their agents.
Indeed, the latter are the biggest winners of the summer. The close- season transfer market is now a billion-pound business. According to Perez, agent commission fees in the Zidane transfer totalled œ1.9m. That’s approximately four per cent of the total fee. If that figure is applied across the whole market, it means agents have pocketed more than œ40m from this summer’s horse-trading.
Onwards and upwards.