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How to show loyalty and how not to (aka why agents are the worst)

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Nagatomo and Perisic (through his agent) each showed very different levels of loyalty to Inter this week

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With Champions League football looking less and less likely, the futures of some of the Inter players have been in question recently. Many players have apparent suitors from "bigger clubs" that would be more than willing to swoop in this summer and lure them away (and a couple of these clubs have tried to do so in the past few transfer markets-I'm looking at you Manchester United). With a bit of uncertainty going around right now, it is interesting to see how the players are responding to the rumors of other clubs that want to sign them. Just this week we saw two very different reactions, one epitomizing loyalty and the other...epitomizing why everybody hates agents.

For the past few months it had been clear that a few English clubs (most notably Manchester United and Liverpool) had tried to sign Yuto Nagatomo in the January transfer market and last summer. He turned them down both times because he wanted to stay at Inter. Now with the summer approaching and another potential bid for his services incoming, he preempted any such offers by signing a three year contract extension with Inter. The 29 year old is now tied to the club until 2019 and although contract extensions do not always mean a player will stick around, his words of love toward the team at today's press conference make it very likely that he will be adding a lot more to his 172 appearances for the nerazzurri.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have Tonci Martic, the agent of Ivan Perisic. Ever since the confirmation of the worst-kept secret since Pep Guardiola to Manchester City, Antonio Conte to Chelsea, there have been numerous rumors as to who the Italy manager would want when creating his new Chelsea side. One of the names that has come up a couple of times is Perisic, and when interviewed yesterday Martic did everything short of tearing up Perisic's contract and putting him on a flight to London. He sung praises to the Premier League and gushed about how exciting it was for his client to be linked with such a big club.

Now all of that is a bit much on its own, but here's the part that really annoys me. Typically when an agent is presenting a player to a club he talks up that interested team but follows it up with something along the lines of "the player is still focused on his current club" or "the player has a deal with his current team right now". You know, something to make it clear that the player is still devoted to his current team and would be okay with sticking around. Instead of going the diplomatic route, Martic said, "We would therefore be delighted to talk about it with the Blues, although we're still far from any negotiations taking place at the moment". He didn't say anything about Inter or his client being okay with staying, he implied that the only reason there isn't a deal is because Chelsea haven't started negotiating with him yet. There's a lot I could say about the sheer lack of class here, but I feel like Drewseph accurately summarized my feelings in a comment from a prior article: "So look, I know a big part of an agent’s job is to continually keep his client in the news and try to convey the idea that he’s an in-demand prospect worth a large transfer fee, but GTFO. Perisic just got here, spent the first half of the season playing like he’d just stepped off the teacup ride at Disneyland, and finally started playing well again maybe two months ago. You’re really gonna start pimping him out like this already? Shameless. I wish the club would say something to slap him down a little."