Thursday, January 28, 2016

L'Art de l'Affaire

You know my love affair with the women's soccer game and our Portland Thorns in particular, right?
This winter the Thorns are supposedly negotiating with one of France's top players, Amandine Henry. The news was announced nearly a month ago. deal so far, and nobody seems to know why.

Here's my suspicion: I think the Henry, who has been playing for one of Europe's wealthiest clubs, can't believe the teensy-weensy little salary she's being offered by the salary-capped NWSL. Not sure what the maximum for a non-allocated (that is, a player whose salary isn't payed by one of the national soccer organizations) will be this year, but last season it was only about $37,000.

Even for a women professional getting paid significantly less than a man (and, while this isn't really fair, the women's game also makes far, far less than the men's, so you can see how a team would justify that) this is a pittance by European standards, where a good player can command at least twice that. Henry is said to have made about $70,000 last season playing for the big club Paris St. Germain.

So my guess is that Henry, or her agent, or both, are gobsmacked and unwilling to get over the whole "league maximum" thing and that this is making negotiations...difficult.
Here's how this is playing out in my head:

Henry: "C’est impossible! I cannot believe this, me. Les Thorns d’Portland, home of ten t’ousand seeinging fans and ze maniac Reeveters, smoke bombs bursting in ze air…and zees is EET? Ze boot-polishaire at PSG ees making more than thees!"

Merritt Paulson (owner of the Thorns): "This is it, really. I’m not kidding. This is all we can offer given the hard cap. I wish…but, no. This is really it."

Henry: "Ridicule! Zees ees America! There is always a way aroun’ ze rules, hein? Here, I tell you what; I see in le pissoir you ’ave special pieces of paper for to covair ze seat (which is imbecile, but, whatevair…). You tell ze league zat I am tres délicat and have l'grand fantods de horreur at ze nasty pissoirs ’ere in Portland, so you must stock $120,000 worth of zees papairs! Zen you don not buy ze papairs and geev ze money to me. Corrigé!

Paulson: "Ummm…I…let me see what my general manager has to say. Gavin! Little help here!

This part of the US soccer year is the equivalent of what in England is called the "silly season" (because there's no soccer and everyone gets to trot out their silly speculations). Consider this my bit to keep it as silly as possible...

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