The $$$ Dilemma-What Do Professional Footballers Want?
Should Lucas Neill have gone to liverpool for a measly 35000 quid a week or West Ham for 60000? Most attacked him for going for the $$$, but there's more to it than that surely? Go for $$$ or glory?
Ultimately, unless we are in their position we can only conjecture. I'll attempt to do just that.
(a)Go for glory?
Surely that's why players turn professional-to win things. Neill is a super competitive player, and he wants to win things. He's more likely to do it at Liverpool, but maybe it'll be from the bench. He wants to play as well. Benitez apparently refused to guarantee him a starting spot, and he didn't like that, but what does he expect? Competition improves performances, and I'll be surprised that's the reason he turned Liverpool down.
Neill says West Ham have an ambitious plan, but many clubs do. Perhaps he does truly believe them; perhaps it's just him justifying his move. Overall, I think it's the latter. The $$$'s too good to turn down, and he's being attacked for something 99% of the attackers will do as well and feels he needs to defend himself.
I really think Cashley Cole left due to a perceived lack of respect. He feels he was promised 60000 and was offered 55000. Many have attacked him; what is 5000 quid anyway when you earn so much but it's all about relative, and not absolute wages. Footballers compare salaries among themselves; they don't compare it with garbage collectors or financial controllers. Arsenal went all out to keep Henry but not Cole. It doesn't matter if he was right or wrong-perception is everything.
Lucas Neill seems to think Benitez disrespected him and took him for granted, and I don't blame him. Benitez seems to think all players are like Fowler who'll walk on glass to play for Liverpool. You pay peanuts and you'll end up hiring monkeys. You want a quality player, you'll need to pay more. I'm unsure how worried Benitez was with dressing room unrest if Neill, a squad player, earns more than other squad players, but he is on an almost free transfer and can play right-back where we really have no back-up bar moving Carragher there if Finnan can't play.
Almost all people will say $$$ isn't everything but almost all of us will take a salary almost double that offered by another party, even if the lower salary option is from our preferred employer. Let's not be hypocritical here.
Still, I can't help but feel this is Neill's loss. He'll look back at his career very well paid (as opposed to just well paid) but probably with no trophies, and only then will he know if he made the right or wrong choice.