Manchester United’s owners the Glazer family have done American Football’s equivalent of signing Lionel Messi as they put pen to paper to bring legendary quarterback Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brady is a six-time Super Bowl champion and spent 20 seasons with the New England Patriots. He is widely considered to be the greatest American footballer of all time.
ESPN report that the Bucs have signed Brady on a two-year deal worth a guaranteed $50 million plus up to $4.5 million in incentives per year. This equates to £24 million a year or £461,000 per week.
Some will see the signing as the Glazers’ attempt to finally change the fortunes of a club that has remained without a playoff qualification in 13 years and which has the third lowest average attendance in the NFL.
Others will see it as the owners’ cynical attempts to milk a commercial cash cow and enjoy the profits from increased ticket sales, merchandising and sponsorship that Brady brings rather than investing in the long-term development of the team.
Whatever the case, Brady’s acquisition certainly demonstrates that the Glazers have not been put off buying big name stars on huge salaries, despite seeing the likes of Angel di Maria, Alexis Sanchez and Radamel Falcao flop at Old Trafford and the media circus around Paul Pogba causing disruption and unrest at the club.
It is the opposite kind of strategy to that being currently employed by the Red Devils, who are investing in young, hungry lower-profile players who will knit together well into a coherent squad, rather than focussing on a few ready-made big stars.
What this indicates for Manchester United is that the Glazers would be prepared – or even keen – to sanction deals for the likes of 30-something galacticos such as Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale. If the Glazers can get Neymar, they will get Neymar – whether motivated by shirt sales or by the innocent excitement of seeing the world’s best players at their club.
It seems unlikely, although not impossible, that the tycoons would impose transfers such as this on a Manchester United manager who says ‘no’ to the deal. But it certainly suggests that the Glazers would say ‘yes’ if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided to change his philosophy and sign one of the world’s elite.
While football is on lockdown, try your hand at our quiz below that tests your knowledge about the times when Manchester United or its players have been banned, bombed or blocked from playing.