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Player Power: The Gosling factor

Gosling set to leave Everton

Dan Gosling looks set to join Newcastle United on a free transfer this afternoon from Everton. The deal, though not for a huge star, is a significant one as it shows what can happen once a player gets a chance to jump ship to earn more money, live closer to ‘home’ or secure a first team place.

This deal is a controversial one as Everton are losing a young talent for nothing, whom they paid Plymouth Argyle £1.5 million for just two years and 37 appearances ago. It is believed Everton offered the youngster a deal worth more than £13,000 a week, almost doubling his wages, however Everton never put their contract offer in writing and have now suffered a huge loss for a player who would have commanded millions in compensation under a tribunal.

Everton chiefs were left stunned when Gosling informed them he was leaving, apparantly in search of greater first team football. The midfielder is currently injured and isn’t expected to recover for several months, however Newcastle have snapped up his signature for the coming season.

What the affair shows is the pressure clubs are now facing to hold on to their biggest talents. The same situations can be seen from top to bottom, be it Arsenal trying to keep Fabregas or Liverpool with Torres, or Leeds hanging onto Jermaine Beckford after his goalscoring feats last year. Gosling had a free ride to Everton hero status after his 118th minute winner against Liverpool in the FA Cup last year. However he has now incurred the wrath of the blue half of Merseyside by showing that player power is worth more than any verbal contract.

Everton have effectively paid more than £40,000 for each of Gosling’s appearances as well as investing time and money in his training. While they made a mistake in beginning contract negotiations more than a year ago (When Gosling said there was no club he would rather be with) and not concluding them more swiftly, the Everton chiefs will scarcely have believed Gosling would jump ship so soon.

The move is also a blow to Gosling’s first club Plymouth Argyle whom he made his debut for at the age of 16. Plymouth would have stood to receive part of any sell-on fee or compensation figure, but as Gosling has left for free, will not receive a penny.

Writing for the Liverpool Echo, David Prentice said: “While Gosling will make plenty of money from having won the right to be considered a free agent, he’s lost an awful lot of friends and admirers in the process.” And so say all of us.

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