The Central Coast Mariners recently received a $300,000 transfer fee from Manchester City for the services of Anthony Caceres, who was immediately loaned out to Manchester City’s sister club in Melbourne.
All parties left pleased with the deal: City received another talented Australian on their squad, and the Mariners received a much-needed transfer fee, allowing them to bring in marquee player Luis Garcia.
However, Manchester’s only role was to provide a loophole, buying Caceres from the Gosford side for their sister club.
This was necessary but pointless, because Melbourne City would have happily paid the fee.
The rules of the A-League states that players cannot be bought or sold from club to club. Instead, clubs are forced to release players without receiving any compensation.
The league is already leveled out with the salary cap, so having a restriction on transfer movement is pointless. If clubs want to splash the cash on A-League players, they should be free to. Big clubs who have money to burn could buy players who usually walk out the door of smaller clubs for free.
Teams who are traditionally strapped for cash could become selling clubs within the A-League, with the money received being put to contract more young players. It’s how trickle-down economics work: the richer A-League clubs buy from the smaller clubs, creating a non-artificial distribution of wealth.
If the clubs have the money to spend, why can’t they? The current system results in one club receiving a bargain and the other being ripped off.
Opening transfer fees would go a long way in making clubs such as the Mariners, Wellington and Newcastle financially viable.