First off: Hegemony.
Secondly, you may be wondering what makes me qualified to discuss the inner workings of the fascinatingly complex self-made market that is the association football transfer market. I’m glad you’re wondering, because curiosity is important for development as a person.
Third: Speaking of curiosity, there’s a curious case on the horizon involving Gonzalo “Pity” Martínez. He obviously wants to leave. The plan has always been for him to leave. We knew this from the first moment the transfer rumors started and he’s made it abundantly clear in very public interviews that Atlanta United is a stepping stone. That’s ok! That’s exactly what this club wants and aims to be. It’s how you pull in players like Miguel Almirón and Ezequiel Barco and Pity Martínez. What’s unique about Pity’s situation is that unlike Almirón and Barco, he seems to be on a one year plan. At least in his mind. Which again — totally ok. Where things get weird is… well, how much are teams really going to pay for a player that’s struggled in MLS for a variety of reasons.
Now, this is not an indictment of Pity or anyone in particular. Yet.
The task at hand is convincing an Uber-Rich European Team Having Ridiculous Amounts (of money) To Pay™ somewhere around what Atlanta was looking for when they first decided to bring in Pity. If reports are correct, Pity came in for about $15 million, which means Atlanta is probably looking to squeeze out about $30 million from that URETHRA*.
*(Please send all complaints to @japatrick200)
What follows is a list of big-time business moves that we’ve learned from some of our great teachers that Atlanta United can apply in various ways to make sure they get their desired amount for Pity this winter.
Gambit #1: The Josh Allen Gambit
This is a move from non-Association Football that has been used to great effect throughout the years. You might know it as the Ryan Leaf or JaMarcus Russell Gambit but for the sake of relevance, we’ll use Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
To execute it, all you need is someone who has an instantly identifiable skill that even the layest of laymen can identify as being potentially beneficial to the success of a team. In Allen’s case, he had the ability to be tall and to throw the ball very very very far. Quarterbacks who can throw the ball very very very far are clearly at least good at being able to the most basic aspect of Quarterbacking: Throwing the ball. If you can throw the ball many many yards, you have a skillset. A skillset — and this is the key here — that can be built upon.
So maybe things about Josh Allen like “his statistics” weren’t all that impressive but even without “statistics,” there is an indisputable ability to be tall and throw the ball far. The secret then to the Josh Allen Gambit is you. Yes, you.
Because the thing is that he can clearly throw the ball, all he needs to become a truly great quarterback is to fix a few things. And to fix a few things like passing the ball to his own team, being able to move more than two steps in the pocket, not dying after running more than three yards...all he needs to be able do these things is have someone who is smart and talented and clever and strong and handsome to teach him. Do you know anyone who is smart and talented and clever and strong and handsome? Because I’m not sure I can think of anyo--Oh, is it you? Are you smart and talented and clever and strong and handsome? Wow. That’s amazing you should totally draft Josh, you’re going to do such a great job.
And that, in short form, is the Josh Allen Gambit that convinced the Bills to use a first-round pick on Josh Allen, who in fact, is bad at football. The Bills, our smartest and talentedest and most handsome football front office believed that they could absolutely turn him into a legend. And probably believed that only they and they alone could do it. It’s the same thing that got Brian White Daniel Jones drafted from Duke this year.
If you had never watched soccer before and you watched Pity, what is the first thing you’d probably get excited about? It’d probably be when his eyes light up from 35 yards out and he shoots and the ball goes at like a hundred miles an hour and curves a bunch and hits someone with way more money than you in the front row. Sure, he didn’t “score” or do anything “effective”, but holy smokes did you see how hard he kicked that thing???? He kicked the bejeezus out of it! Man, I bet he could score some incredible goals if he could really harness that ability. All he’d need is someone incredible and well-endowed (sorry.) and brilliant to set up the infrastructure necessary to make him one of the great players in the world. Someone like Mike Ashley. Wow, wouldn’t it be crazy if someone sent this to Mike Ashley at Newcastle and told him how great he is and how great Pity could be?
That will be $70 million, Mike.**
Gambit #2: The Nic Cage Gambit
You try to convince a team to pay big money for the player. You fail. You go to another team. You fail. You go to another. And another. And another. They just won’t bite. They don’t believe that the player is worth the money. No matter what evidence you present to the contrary, it’s just too crazy to be real. So what do you do? You steal the Declaration of Independence.
Gambit #3: The Person You Had a Crush On In High School Gambit
This is where we take lessons from our personal pasts and use them to our advantage. That person you had a crush on in high school in all likelihood was not a good person. I’ll just say it flat out. Like, really think about it and where they ended up. You’re probably the winner here unless you’re a DSS Commenter, then they’re definitely the winner. But even still, a large part of why you might have had a crush on them is the feeling they created that made you feel like you had no chance with them.
Even if you absolutely didn’t have a chance with them — highly likely since you’re here — you probably kept trying to get them to notice you. At the very least, you held out hope that one day they would notice you and fall in love. You would have paid a metaphorical $70 million for this person to notice you, even if, in reality, maybe they weren’t all that great.
Atlanta needs to be your crush. Real Betis calls? Send it to voicemail. They call again? Answer and ask who it is. When they respond, say excitedly, “Real Madrid???” and then say they have the wrong number when they correct you. Wait for that third call. Make them keep trying.
Because imagine you’re Real Betis. What can you do? Well, you can keep trying and tryiOR YOU CAN STEAL THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE THIS IS ACTUALLY THE NIC CAGE GAMBIT AGAIN.
Gambit #4: The Moussa Dembele (No not that one the other one) Gambit
Change Pity’s name to “Duván Zapata”. Pity now shares a name with Atalanta’s Duván Zapata, a player valued by Transfermarkt at $45 million. Speak in an Italian accent during negotiations. Profit.
Gambit #5: The Cut Your Losses Gambit
Look, sometimes things don’t work out. It’s not you. It’s not me. But sometimes things don’t work out.
You can work for it. Sure, you can always put in work. But there’s a point of diminishing returns. When does work stop resulting in improvement and turn into a pointless exercise we’ve created to trick ourselves into believing that one day we’ll wake up and the threshold will be crossed and all the parts that creaked and stalled will suddenly be fixed and we’ll look at each other with no ties to history or the future or the feelings of uncertainty that have dominated our present and we’ll be ok. Not working. Not drowning in each other’s air. But ok. The parts will be fixed and the machine will work. But what if as you come close to fixing a broken part, the work put in creates another? And then the cycle continues. The cycle envelops you. And instead of transforming into a joyful connection it stays work. Simply, work.
Parts break over time. Maybe the machine never worked. Even trying to get it to function might have been silly.
Don’t get me wrong, there was never any reason to not try. It would have been irresponsible to not try. We owed it to ourselves — wholeheartedly owed it to ourselves — to be out in the world and see if it looked any different with you around. And it might have, for a second. It really might have. But then, for one reason or another, it turned gray.
There’s no reason to pinpoint a “Why?” A “why?” means that someone is at fault. And blame won’t make us stronger. It won’t make it any easier to move on. It won’t make it any easier to look at someone as they walk into the bank wearing a Yankees hat and think of anyone but you, even though you desperately crave to get back to the time when you could see a Yankees hat and think of nothing else but how much you god damn hate the Yankees.
But it will get there eventually. You won’t know when. But unlike the magical day where you wake up and everything wrong with Us is fixed, the day where we wake up and don’t see each other in everything is real. And that’s what makes this ok.
We don’t have to work anymore. We can go forward step-by-step until we’re both absent of the weight we threw on each other. And one day you’ll be able to look at a Yankees cap and feel absolutely nothing to do with me. And we’ll be better.
Sometimes it’s best for both parties to take what they can get and move on.
And then you steal the Declaration of Independence.