Sports Letters: Capitalising on a valuable asset

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your correspondent Mr J Holmes (Sports Letters, 4 November) appears to have a very naive view of the Tim Flowers transfer. While in no way criticising Flowers, who has maintained a dignified stance throughout, it is quite clear to me that the player wished to make a break with Southampton. Nowadays, it is very much the name of the game to renegotiate the contracts of valuable players mid-term. The club knows as does the player and his agent that failure to reach agreement leaves the club with two options.

The first is to sell their asset for the best possible price involving financial gain, not only for the club but for the player and his agent. The alternative is to leave the player's contract to run its course giving any interested club a freer hand in a potential purchase. To allow a contract to expire will leave a football club with little option but to accept a transfer tribunal valuation, in the likely event of a failure to agree terms with the purchasing club. Recent publicity of the workings of this particular system need no expansion.

It is no surprise that Southampton should prefer the former course of action. It is my contention that short of attempting to offer a more lucrative contract, Southampton took the only option. For Mr Holmes to imply Tim Flowers has been an unwitting and reluctant party in his own transfer is in my opinion laughable.

Yours faithfully