The 2017 summer transfer window closes on Tuesday, August 31, and Premier League football clubs have been busy stockpiling talent for the 2017-18 season, in what is likely to be one of the most competitive campaigns in history. But, many are finding it very hard to attract the right kind of talent. The problem is that many clubs are discovering too many obstacles in their path when they try to buy the best players on the market.
One way for football clubs to move forward is to turn their trials into triumphs, because the purpose of an obstacle is not to obstruct, but to instruct.
Deadline Day has almost passed. Manchester City has not been able to buy Alexis Sanchez, Chelsea lost the chance to sign Romelu Lukaku and Arsenal is still unable to afford Thomas Lemar.
Although a bumper television deal has provided many clubs with much more cash, however, the incredibly big sums being touted for the likes of Neymar, Antoine Griezmann, and Kylian Mbappe are making some clubs consider waiting until the end of the season to recruit their first-choice targets.
Barcelona wanted Paris Saint Germain to pay £198 million for Neymar’s service. The Brazil star is closing in on a blockbuster move to PSG, who are prepared to activate his £198 release clause. Monaco wanted £130 million for their teenage sensation, Mbappe. Griezmann’s current release clause is £89.5m (€100m), which would be well within Manchester United’s price range. But, Griezmann’s current employer, Athletico Madrid, is eager to sell to the highest bidder, as Barcelona and other clubs have started showing interest in the Athletico striker. All of these incredibly high price tags are obstacles for many clubs.
It doesn’t matter what you call it; obstacles, roadblocks, barriers, impediments, hitches, or stumbling blocks. Call it anything you like. It gets in the way of attracting the players clubs really want. As a result, football clubs must begin to look at an alternative way of achieving results. In other words, they must see obstacles as an instruction, not an obstruction.
Likewise, obstacles stop us from getting things done. They get in the way of success by either delaying it, frustrating it, or stopping it altogether.
Yet not one of us who has ever succeeded at anything has been spared the reality of obstacles. They are a guaranteed path to anyone’s success, regardless of its direction or purpose.
Some obstacles are minor, causing short-term inconvenience and aggravation. Other obstacles are major, forcefully challenging every attempt to make a dream come true, to reach a goal, or to make a vision into a reality.
You might think that success tells you a lot about a person. But American author and orator, Booker T. Washington, didn’t think so. He said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life but by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
If anyone should know a thing or two about obstacles, it ought to be Booker T. Washington. He was born as a slave. He spent his early childhood years in poverty, ignorance, and hard work. He never knew his father. At age 9, when President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Washington moved to West Virginia with his family, where he worked long days packing salt. Think about it. By age 9, Booker T. Washington had faced the kinds of obstacles that could have prevented him from ever being successful.
Eventually, Booker T received an education. He worked hard, becoming an educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, he was the dominant leader in the African-American community.
At every point in history, there are people like Booker T who are struggling through unbelievable odds and obstacles to better themselves. Do you remember the story of the four leprous men in 2 Kings 7:3-20? Their main obstacles was famine. Of course, their leprosy was not an advantage either, but, they decided “to rise up in the twilight, to go to the camps of the Syrians.” As a result, they got more food and wealth than they could have ever imagined.
Today, people are also battling many obstacles – rejection, abuse, family instability, illness, destructive behaviours, etc. But, if you look carefully at all of these stumbling blocks, you will find clear instruction.
Once again, if we take a look at the Premier League clubs, one clear instruction could be the development of young talent. Manchester United’s 19-year-old Marcus Rashford is an example. Arsenal made a lot of money from their pool of young talent, which Arsene Wenger developed at the club over the years – from ex-players like Ashley Cole and Cesc Fabregas, to current players like Alex Iwobi and Hector Bellerin. Barcelona is famous for their relentless production line of technically-gifted young talent. Lionel Messi, one of the best players in the world was once a 17-year-old youth player developed by Barcelona.
Many football clubs have not been able to recruit their first-choice targets during this transfer window, due to the obstacle of their incredibly high price tags. One way of overcoming this stumbling block is to look at it as instruction.
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- The purpose of an obstacle is to instruct, not to obstruct