Modern football has a bit of a cycle: the transfer window opens, rumors fly around, a few deals get made and the window closes. Then, without fail a few results go the wrong way or a player has a bad start to the campaign and transfer rumors for him leaving immediately start up and his replacement from another club is being talked about. Over and over, time and again.
Often, when a fringe player says to the media that he declined a transfer away to stay and fight for his place, he is labeled as having ulterior motives for doing so. This exact thing happened to Cenk Tosun this past week when it was revealed he turned down a return to Turkey to fight for his spot at Everton. The stakes of modern football are so high monetarily and otherwise that when a player making £60k a week who cost £20million decides he’s going to stay on as the third striker people can very quickly draw uncharitable conclusions as to why.
Look at some of the responses to this tweet -
More likely his agent turned it down way more money in the Premier league so he gets a bigger slice of his Everton salary— Evertony (@anthonyjgetty) September 5, 2019
Or happy to sit on the bench whilst pocketing a nice three figure wage.— Michael (@mkirbs88) September 5, 2019
Wages related, I bet— ste (@sterushton) September 6, 2019
Mad how wanting to stay purely for his massive salary while sitting on the bench is misconstrued as “fighting for his place”. He’s shite.— Kristian Daly (@KristianDaly) September 5, 2019
He’s shite and happy to cash in for doing fuck all.— Lionel Tosun (@jack45539516) September 5, 2019
I think we as football fans need to alter our perspective. In between transfer windows some degree of rumor following is absolutely inevitable, but it cannot be our primary focus between matchdays. In a situation like Cenk’s, it is not his fault the club offered him those wages, it is not his fault he was brought in under a doomed manager and did not fit with his replacement, and yet as a professional he has every right to see out his contract and work for his place.
Everton just provided us with one of the most enjoyable wins in a long time and here Blues are arguing on Twitter about whether or not a player who has never had a single off-the-field incident, misplaced comment in a press junket or ever not given his all when selected. Bottom line, if the club gives a hard working player a bad contract, that’s the club’s fault, not the player’s.
When the window is open, sure, let’s talk about who should stay and who should go and who should go and who should come in to replace them. When that window closes, unless a player is running his mouth in the media or missing training or showing actual evidence he’s not committed to the club, he deserves our support.
Support in this instance doesn’t mean we excuse poor play, of course. Tosun gets on the pitch and plays badly? Take his performance apart in any way you want. But do not doubt the man’s motives when his commitment to the club has never been anything but professional in all the time he has been here. Just for pointers though, here’s Tosun compared to Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The very best thing for the club might well be to move on from Tosun eventually, but Cenk has the right - as long as he has a contract - to fight it out here if he so chooses. And especially now as he gives Silva a different dimension on the pitch from Moise Kean and DCL, he certainly adds value.
Don’t get sucked into the online speculation about player motivation. Don’t get obsessed with watching the transfer wire and daydreaming about players we don’t have.