The Daily Mail recently ran an ‘exclusive‘ report that Erik ten Hag and Richard Arnold have introduced a new £200k per week salary cap at United. The idea is that no player would earn significantly more than his teammates. This, the ‘logic’ follows, would ensure the jealousy culture that is rife in the United dressing room would disappear overnight. It all seems reasonable until you consider that many players already have contracts worth well over £200k a week. And that’s not the only reason it won’t work.
Existing Players on over 200k won’t agree
First off, none of de Gea (£375k) , Sancho (£350k), Varane (£340k), Casemiro (£300k), Martial (£250k), Fernandes (£240k) are going to rip up their contracts in the name of team spirit. They’ve negotiated those contracts to be cast iron. They may contain bonuses and they may even have clauses that agree pay cuts based on not meeting specific targets, such as champions league qualifications, but none of them have any wiggle room on the base figures approved. It’s just not going to happen. De Gea may agree a new contract under £200k but that’s because he is out of contract. If he had a ten year contract on £375k there would be no negotiation.
United can’t risk losing players
Marcus Rashford and Diogo Dalot are coming to the end of their contracts and have begun negotiating their next deals. If United don’t pay them enough then they will move for bigger wages. Teams can offer them incredible wages because there will be little to no transfer fee. They’ll have their choice of the biggest clubs. Dressing room unity isn’t top of agents or players minds when hammering out deals with clubs.
World-class Players don’t come cheap
United couldn’t have signed Varane or Casemiro had this wage cap been in place. They will not be close to bidding for Bellingham, Kane, or Rice at those numbers either. A host of players that United could sign will go to Newcastle, Chelsea, City or any of the mega-clubs for guaranteed money. Their agents won’t be advising them to turn down those other big spending clubs for the brilliant jealousy-free atmosphere at United.
That’s why the wage cap is doomed to fail. But maybe there is something worthwhile there? Perhaps, instead of signing players at their peak and highest value, United could compete with the European scouts who perennially unearth young footballing gems. That way, they could sign those players sooner instead of breaking their wage structure to sign them later on.