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Uli Hoeness critical of football agents in Felix Neureuther’s new book

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It’s hard to blame Uli, really. A lot of agents make getting deals done super complicated.

FC Bayern Women v VfL Wolfsburg Women - Flyeralarm Frauen Bundesliga Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Uli Hoeness has never been one to shy away from expressing his opinions on modern football’s transfer market. He’s often been critical of the over inflation of the marketplace based on ridiculously high transfer fees in recent years for various superstars and he’d always made it clear that Bayern Munich would never be one of the clubs that spent unnecessary money. In Felix Neureuther’s new book, entitled Für die Helden von morgen (For Tomorrow’s Heroes), Hoeness explains some of the problems he feels exist with player’s agents and contract negations in today’s footballing world (SportBild).

He started off by saying that he feels that players themselves aren’t present enough when negotiating contracts and they’re too much of a passenger to their agents. “Today there is hardly a player who negotiates himself, who is even present in these talks! It would be advisable if the players were there too. So that you can see for yourself what’s going on,” he said.

Hoeness went on to recall when he was a player during his career going over contracts himself, without the presence of an agent. “When Paul Breitner and I negotiated our contracts at the time, we sat at the table ourselves, no one else was there for us. We worked together, but we made it all out ourselves.”

Hoeness has been critical in the recent past of David Alaba’s agent, Pini Zahavi, for his wage demands. He even went as far as referring to Zahavi as a “greedy piranha” in his frustration at Alaba’s contract negotiations at Bayern. With a situation like Alaba’s, Hoeness feels, the agent calls all of the shots and the player is merely along for the ride in a sense. That level of control agents have over their clients is something that Hoeness feels is backwards, and should be the other way around: “I see the problem with today’s players mainly in the fact that they are being controlled a little bit more and more by their agents. Unfortunately, agents don’t always have the player’s best interest in mind, but rather much more their own.”

In an ideal world, players would have more say than their agents, but there’s just so much money involved in the sport that players need agents’ guidance and advice. The problem might even get worse not that there is less money to go around as a result of the financial losses that clubs have experienced during the coronavirus pandemic.