Netherlands' Robin van Persie celebrates after scoring a goal during their Group B Euro 2012 soccer match against Germany at the Metalist stadium in Kharkiv, June 13, 2012.
(Photo : REUTERS/Michael Buholzer)
Robin Van Persie is one of the most dynamic forwards in football today. His ability to score goals that have both beautiful aesthetics and technical brilliance make him a valuable asset to any team. A valuable asset in what way however? In technical value or market value?
Manchester United is now a public company with an IPO. A company that anyone, including fans or businessmen can purchase a stake in. The prices on the stock often fluctuate with how well the company is doing. Market value plummets due to poor fiscal quarters or poor leadership choices when it comes the direction said company is heading. Market values also increases with smart business decisions, solid fiscal quarters and healthy profit gain. Another factor that comes into play when it comes to stock price fluctuations is whether or not the company gains or loses assets. Selling parts of the company or gaining more parts to add to the companies overall value. In the case of Manchester United, is this a way for the new company to gain overall stock value?
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With the transfer of Robin Van Persie to Manchester United, one question must be asked, why? Manchester United have Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, Dimitar Berbatov (who could on his way out soon), Wayne Rooney (who has been a more consistent goalscorer these past seven seasons) Frederico Macheda (promising youngster) and Bebe (a ghost essentially). With an average age of twenty four, why go after a twenty nine year old? Football fans know that thirty is the dreaded age for all footballers. The age where they become human and susceptible to huge dips in form and fading popularity. Especially when the hefty sum is put into consideration (twenty three million pounds). At the same time, Robin Van persie has been known to be a player who has trouble with health and fitness. During his time at Arsenal, he only managed to have one full season with the club (one season out of seven). So why invest in a man made of glass?
The answer is simple. United need guarantees in order to sustain themselves. Last year Manchester City took the title from right beneath them on goal difference. Van Persie thirty goals for Arsenal should be a welcoming addition to Manchester United's campaign and it should also make the investors happy. To add to that, Van Persie is one of the most popular players in the world right now. He is a hot commodity and beloved by many worldwide. A player who can play and sell. Which is where we come to the exact reason why United have done this. The happier the investors and the higher the guarantee for victory, the better United's IPO can do.
We are in a new era of sports, where instead of just watching a team compete on the field, fans, spectators, and other enthusiasts of the beautiful game will watch teams on the stock market. Watch values increase and decrease while people working on the floor of the stock exchange run around making quick deals and running statistics that only the most analytical minds can achieve.
The one major take away from this deal is that it creates a great degree of uncertainty in the future of soccer around the world. If this IPO is successful and if the Robin Van Persie deal was only made to bring market value to the club, then who's the next team to have the guts to take on the market. Will it be the Russian, the Qatari's or the Sheik billionaires? Will this be the future of soccer? Will other teams that were formerly underfunded look to the stock market as an outlet for increasing cash and competitiveness? Will the stock market be the next means of gauging which teams will be competitive on the field and off? Only time will tell.