By Greg Horgan




The A-League’s best
player, Archie Thompson, yesterday spoke out against Melbourne Victory for
complicating his proposed transfer to PSV Eindhoven. The outburst to the media
was within metres of the coaching staff and it is abundantly clear that he is
desperate to move to PSV. It’s a dream move and will undoubtedly see him
improve his chances of featuring in the Australian starting line-up at the World
Cup. Guus Hiddink wants someone to run
off Mark Viduka, and Archie can become that man.

Unfortunately the deal
is complicated by PSV’s paltry offer of paying the remainder of Archie’s
contract for the season (saving Melbourne $100,000), with an option to buy at
the end of the season. The sticking point is that PSV want to set that value
now, Melbourne
at the end of the season.

In the Herald-Sun
today, Peter Desira argues that Melbourne Victory
are “out of order” in their
handling of the deal. He says that PSV is taking a risk in the interests of Guus Hiddink
and the Socceroos, and “giving an unknown the opportunity to make it.” Desira
then talks of the financial benefits of the deal for PSV – basically none in his
opinion – as justification for their offer and as a reason Melbourne should accept it.
At best, he writes, Archie could be sold for $5 million dollars in two
years.

The article does not
make a mention of Archie’s value as a player, to Melbourne Victory or PSV. What if
he’s a success? What if his goals win Melbourne or PSV trophies? Surely this is
the aim of any top club; not to buy him on the cheap and sell him later for a
few million dollars. Desira seems to forget that Archie Thompson also plays
football.

We cannot
believe that PSV is doing
Guus Hiddink and the Socceroos a favour. In fact, the suggestion is absurd. For
history, look at the two South Korean players that Guus brought to PSV
when he
was South Korean national
coach. Both were high performers in last year’s Champion League semi-final team
and Park Ji-Sung is now at Manchester United.

Understandably, PSV
probably held on for the best price they could get for Park after realizing that
they could not stop one of their stars wishing to move to a bigger, more
glamorous club. They then sold him for a reasonable profit and now they
probably miss him on the pitch. PSV did Guus no favours in financing his
purchase of these two “unknown” players. He did PSV a favour, first on the pitch
and later on the balance sheet. Archie’s transfer to PSV is no different to Park
Ji-Sung’s transfer to Manchester United.

Just as PSV owes Guus
nothing, Melbourne Victory owes nothing to Guus Hiddink or PSV. This is football
and a business. PSV should adequately compensate Melbourne for the loss of their star player. He
puts bums on seats for Melbourne and would
continue to do so even if Melbourne were totally out of the finals race.
He is also the main feature of Melbourne Victory’s marketing
material. He might even win them
a trophy one day. As Victory Chairman
Geoff Lord says, Melbourne must spend considerable money
scouting and attracting “a replacement for Archie of at least equal ability and
profile”.

Read on at Henry
Thornton here.

Peter Fray

72 hours only. 50% off a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

Our two-for-one offer with The Atlantic was so popular we decided to bring it back.

But only for 72 hours.

Use the promo code ATLANTIC2020 and you’ll get 50% off a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year of digital access to The Atlantic (usually $70). That’s BOTH for just $129.

Hurry. Ends midnight this Thursday.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

Claim Now