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Have wages in football finally gone mad?

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On a day when Samuel Eto’o and Samir Nasri edged closer to moves that will see them earn almost £500,000 a week between them the question has to be asked have wages in football finally gone mad?

Eto’o will sign for the Russian side, Anzhi Makhachkala and Nasri is set to join Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City. When Eto’o finally puts pen to paper he will officially be the highest paid footballer in the world and by some distance, as he is set to receive a weekly salary of around £310,000, which equates to roughly £20m a season.

In comparison Nasri, who has been at Arsenal since 2008, is reportedly to earn a weekly wage in the region of £170,000, nearly treble what he currently earns with the Gunners. It is clear from these figures that players seem now to be more motivated by cash than ambition.

If it was ambition that drove Eto’o then surely he’d stay with Inter Milan, one of Europe’s most prestigious teams rather than sign for an unknown Russian outfit? At 30 years old the Cameroonian still has plenty to offer and was seemingly more interested in a move to England, but with such an incredible financial package on the table he obviously couldn’t resist.

Makhachkala is a club with little or no history, having finished 11th in last season’s Russian Premier league and never appeared in any form of European football the turning point for them came on the 18th of January 2011. This is the day when Russian billionaire Suleyman Kerimov agreed to invest $200 million in the infrastructure of the club.

Since then he has provided the financial backing to sign players such as former Brazil full back Roberto Carlos and Chelsea winger Yuri Zhirkov and now committed to the huge out lay on Samuel Eto’o, which as well as his wages involves a £21.8m transfer fee.

Nasri on the other hand is the latest piece in the rags to riches story of Manchester City. Ever since the club was purchased by the Abu Dhabi Group in August 2008 vast amounts of money has been spent on transfer fees and wages of superstar players.

The question has to be asked that are these newly rich clubs with cash to burn damaging the game? The answer surely has to be yes, more established clubs such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Barcelona have a number of players that earn £100,000 or more a week and see themselves competing against the likes of City, Anzhi, Malaga, and PSG.

The Eto’o deal shows there is no end in sight to this financial madness, to highlight just how ridiculous it is the second highest paid player in the world is Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who earns around £11m per season and behind him is Barcelona’s Lionel Messi who takes home around £10m a year.

So where will all this end or will it not be long until we see the first half a million pound per week player? The idea of a salary cap has been mentioned but due to EU law it could be near impossible to introduce as all leagues across Europe would have to agree to it, something we all know won’t happen.

FIFA have in some way tried to combat the issue by introducing new financial regulations that in there purest form translate to clubs can’t spend more than they earn. So Manchester City for example will be forced to curb their mega spending as the club, at this moment in time does not have a turnover to match its expenditure.

Though for now clubs seem more than willing to offer these huge salaries and players such as Nasri and Eto’o are the main beneficiaries but the time will come when football can no longer sustain these dramatic inflated prices and who knows where we go from there.

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