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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 January, 2004, 10:30 GMT
Big clubs always get their men

By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert

Louis Saha has moved to Manchester United despite Fulham's protestations - and now Scott Parker looks like following suit by leaving Charlton Athletic for Chelsea.

Scott Parker looks headed for Chelsea
Both of these transfers are simply a sign of football's reality
This is not cruel or harsh on two clubs who have fought to keep hold of their prize assets.

It is simply the reality of football.

Of course the first cry is lack of loyalty, but loyalty in football is for other people - it is wrong to criticise either Saha for wanting his move to Old Trafford or Parker for wishing to join Stamford Bridge.

I believe 99% of people in society would do exactly the same in their position.

Let's get one thing straight: when clubs get players to sign a four or five-year contract, it is as much to allow them to get a transfer fee, or even push the fee up, as anything else.

You can't blame the player for wanting moves like those on offer to Saha and Parker. Fulham have got decent money for Saha and Charlton will get their financial rewards by selling Parker.

And while Fulham insisted they would not sell Saha and Charlton were adamant Parker was not going to Chelsea, in reality it is all rhetoric because the lure of the big clubs and the financial firepower at their disposal makes them almost impossible to resist.

The minute the big clubs come in it is inevitable the player will go, and that is said with total respect for what has been achieved at Fulham and Charlton.

Chris Coleman was very vocal about Saha, but these words have enabled him to push the price up and now he must put it behind him.

There has been talk that Parker should not move to Chelsea because he would not get a regular game, using his England colleague Joe Cole as an example.

I do not believe that scenario will enter his head for a second.

If Parker has got the self-belief and ability many sound judges believe he has, he will take his chances and say to himself: "Once I get in that team at Chelsea I will play so well they won't get me out."

Saha and Parker look at what's on offer, see Champions League football, the prospect of doubling their wages and testing themselves at the very highest level, and they will rightly want to be part of it.

And to criticise them for lack of loyalty, or wanting to be part of it all at the highest level, is out of order.

All this may come as no consolation to Fulham and their fans, in the same way as Parker's departure will upset Charlton, but both these transfers are simply a sign of football's reality.

If clubs of the stature of Manchester United and Chelsea come calling, players will not resist.





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