The Sports Management division of the english enterprise Pinnacle Absolute is interested in facilitating transfers from english to spanish clubs and vice versa. They believe that the mixing between english and spanish football can benefit both, as anyone can see by watching every weekend the excellent performances of David Silva, Juan Mata or Mikel Arteta at the Premier League.
Mixing cultures is the future. That’s what those behind Barcelona based company Pinnacle Absolute Group believe; an enterprise founded by two Englishmen, Mr Nathan Thomas and Mr Achike Chuka. Through their Sports Management division, overseen by Mexican, Mr Jonathan Gabriel, they believe, from a competitive and business view, that football must become more international in Spain at club level in order to gaine more interest and fans from other countries. In fact, what makes the Premier League so interesting is the enormous amount of foreign players and currently specially spanish. Foreign players and more so spanish players right now are improving the standard of English football, which is further helping the expansion into new international markets.
However, the mixing of Spanish and English football cultures is unbalanced nowadays. Every day more often good spanish players are transfered to Premier League clubs, but not the other way. Pinnacle Absolute are leading the path to facilitate transfers in both directions. Allowing both countries with great football traditions to benefit, especially the fans. (To visit Pinnacle Absoulte´s website, click here.)
What is the goal for Pinnacle Absolute Management?
Our goal is to improove spanish and english football by facilitating the transfers between clubs of both countries, England and Spain. We are a sort of a bridge between England and Spain. Silva, Fábregas, Mata and Xabi Alonso have shown the world that spanish footballers have a lot to offer to England. The best thing of their transfer is that everyone who participated in the operation had benefits: the player improoved his game in England, the club got a player that improoved the team, and the Premier League wins more quality in the game and is more attractive to spanish and global market.
Transfering spanish players to England is becoming more usual every day, but not the other way. And we think La Liga could benefit as well by getting young english players. We believe that english players can bring to Spain interesting things, and also improove their game. Our services are a great chance for spanish clubs to evolve. There are a lot of english talents that can give something different to the clubs.
How long has been Pinnacle Absolute Management active?
The Sports Management division of Pinnacle Absolute was born a little over 18 months ago. However, myself (Nathan Thomas) and Achike Chuka (both Manager Directors) have been operating and doing business in other areas of our company (Pinnacle Absolute S.L) for the past four years. One of the most interesting activities for our Sports Management Division recently was last summer with Anton Ferdinand. We had intense conversations with Atletico de Madrid, although he finally finished at QPR. We also worked on long deals with some Arsenal players, but, unfortunately, were not able to come to Spain because of the economic situation here.
What kind of transfers are you interested in?
We are interested and can provide any kind of transfer, but we focus on the players that are between 17 and 21. This is the period when boys turn into man. This is the edge to turn professional. We believe that this is the perfect age for young spanish talents to move to England and viceversa.
The majority of the players we´ve got are between the first team and the reserves. Nowadays, mostly of our players are in english clubs, because it´s there where we have the contacts. They are good players that are not able to play for the first team of clubs like Arsenal. Players with 18 or 19 that are talented, but that they won´t get too many oportunities at Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United. We are looking to send this players on loan to clubs in Spain to grow up and get ready to come back and play for the first team.
Why did you establish Pinnacle Absolute Management in Barcelona?
We stablished here in Barcelona because there is a lot of talent in this part of the world, and we want to exploit that. We are building a network of agents that have good knowledge of the local catalan teams, such as Cornella, Sabadell or Lleida. We believe that many young talented players that play for this kind of teams can have a good chance to improove their game in England. For example, Ignasi Miquel, that played already on Champions League, used to play for Cornella.
Do you follow any other competitions, besides spanish and english football?
We follow all the European and World Cups under 17, 18, 20, 21, and also we´ve got some contacts in Canada, Mexico, USA and Japan. In fact, one of the main reasons we brought Jonathan Gabriel to the company is because we want to expand our network, and he has good contacts in USA and Mexico.
What can offer spanish players to english clubs?
Spain is the champion of the World Cup, the U 21 and U 19 European cup… They have the best passing, technique and knowledge of the game in the world. They give peace to England. David Silva is the perfect example. Manchester City plays the rhythm Silva wants, he is the one that speed up and slow down the games when he wants. He is the rule rather than the exception. Remember Fábregas at Arsenal, Xabi Alonso at Liverpool, Juan Mata at Chelsea, Arteta at Everton and actually at Arsenal, or José Enrique at Liverpool. Wonderful players with a passing, technique and knowledge of the game that are very rare to find in England.
And what can english clubs offer to spanish players?
In Spain, players that are not in Barça or Madrid, plus the ones that play fot Barça B or Real Madrid B, don´t have where more to go in Spain. We´ve seen Fabregas, Romeu, Mata, Ignasi Miquel… Probably there are ten Silva´s in Spain, but most of them don´t have the chance to demonstrate his talent. Excellent players that don´t have the chance to play in the first team of Barça and Madrid, and that they can go nowhere higher in Spain. In the Premier League there are six clubs that will play the Champions League regularly: Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City. That makes more possible for a player to play in the Champions League and also to fight for the league. In Spain you just can dream to win trophys if you play for Barcelona or Real Madrid. In England are more chances to achieve trophys because are more spread.
Besides that, it´s very positive for young spanish players to get experience in the UK. In England, young players learn to be men a lot earlier. Spanish players that travel to the UK need to learn the winning mentality, the speed and the strength that have english football. Otherwise, they won´t succeed. That´s why it would benefit young players to play in England. Look at Fábregas, Pique, Xabi Alonso. They were able to go to England and they got now that winning mentality and that strength that made them better players. They travelled to England as kids and they are now world champions. And of course… better wages!
On the other hand, what can young English players offer to Spanish clubs, and what can Spanish clubs offer to English players?
You can see the type of player that english guys are. They probably don´t have the technical level of spanish players, but you can look at the intensity, the speed, the strength, the togetherness and the winning mentality they have got. In England is all about wining. English players would improove their teams and would give a more international view of La Liga. For that happen, english young talents need to be atracted to Spanish clubs, but that´s not possible if they don´t invest in programs for foreign players and try to make their stay as comfortable as possible.
And for the young english player, come to Spain will improove his technichal level and his knowledge of the game. If I would be a 18, 19 year lad, I would love the oportunity to play in Espanyol rather than to go to a Championship or League One club. In Spain, football is more technical and tactical rather than fast and strong. If spanish players benefited from english football, why english players don´t benefit of spanish football? It´s demonstrated that the mix of both football cultures make wonderful players.
Why Spanish players, in general, have better passing, technique and knowledge of the game than English?
The youth system makes spanish young players technically better at the age of 21. If you look at the U 21 and U 18 Championships, it´s no coincidence about Spain doing it better than England, because spanish young players are taught to learn the game.
Most of the kids teams Spain are seven a side or five a side. That makes the kids understand better the game, because everything is tinier. Instead, in England is all eleven a side, so the emphasis is much more physical since the players are kids. Summarizing, in Spain kids learn how to play the game while in England is all about speed, strength and win. The consequence of that is obvious, spanish players are better technicaly.
So, which youth system you think is better?
Probably, until 16 or 17 it´s better to grow up in Spain, because the emphasis is not on winning, it´s on learn how to play the game, on technique, while in England the emphasis is on speed, on winning. I used to play 11 a side when I was a kid. But when you turn 17 or 18, everything changes.
What happens when kids turn 17 or 18?
In Spain, with 17 or 18 years old, players start to play in B teams that compete in professional leagues such as Second Division, 2B and Third Division, while in England they have the reserves team.
Enric Vallés, a young spanish player at Birmingham actually, told us that the reserves team in England lacks of competitiveness, while in Spain is the opposite. He prefered spanish system. What do you think?
It´s two different ideologies, two different cultures. Here in Spain, B teams compete in Second and Third Division. This seems good because of the competitiveness, but the reality is that it´s difficult to demonstrate your talent in Third and Second division for a 18 or 19 year old player, because they are playing against guys of 28 or 30 years old, much more experienced, so it´s easy for them to get lost.
That makes a lot of players spend their entire career at B teams. Look at Barça or Villarreal B teams now, they have got 24 and 25 years players. That wouldn´t happen in the UK. As I told you before, in England is all about wining, all about the first team. The reserves team is just for players that are too old to play in the youth team, and not ready to play in the first team. If they cannot get out of the reserves team, they go to another team. They will not stay in the reserves team, because is all about the first team.
So it´s better the english system?
In theory yes, but it´s true that the reserves league has lost competitiveness. Money changed everything. About 20 years ago, there were more chances to play in the first team if you were in the reserves. Not now. There is more money and it´s easier to buy foreign players directly to the first team, so many players of the reserves team don´t have a real chance to get into the first team.
The managers, generally, are going to put with the player who cost more money because, essentially, that´s the investment. What do you do with Torres? You pay 50 million and put him in the reserves? Not many managers will put a 19 or 20 year old kid having a 50 million striker on the bench. Money has changed dynamics. Lots of managers don´t take the risk of introducing young players in the first team because, if the results don´t go well, everything changes very fast: team relegated and manager sacked.
Is the Premier League better than La Liga?
Right now the Premier League is more interesting and more competitive than La Liga. Spain, as a country, loves football. They are now world and european champions, but La Liga needs to grow. Has to be more accessible to other countries. Has to adapt the league to the global market if they want to get closer to the Premier League.
La Liga is a wonderful league, with wonderful players, even the three best players in the world, and great football. But we believe the competitive edge is completely lost. This means it´s not interesting to watch and that´s the reason why La Liga loses fans, and these fans go to the Premier League. If spanish clubs, besides Barcelona and Real Madrid, would invest more in facilitating the arrival of english players, La Liga would become more international, the clubs would improove their team and the player would improove his game. Everyone would benefit.
The Premier League have lots of foreign players, around the 80%. This contrasts with La Liga, that have not that much, and most are from South America, with a similar football culture than Spain. It´a positive to have so many foreign players?
No doubt. To have so many football cultures mixed in the same league do the Premier League more interesting for more people. When Serie A was the best league in the world, you had english players like Paul Gascoigne, holland playes like Van Basten or Gullit… Now is the Premier League who has done that, and you can see that is the most followed league in the world.
Why does England receive so many foreign players and La Liga so little number?
England facilitates the arrival of foreign players far better than Spain. In England many clubs have an officer that is 24 hours in duty to take care of the players. That helps the player to be more comfortable, because he has someone who can show him the simple and daily things, such us to know where to buy things, where to go to the cinema… And not just that, the officer can as well pick up the wife of the player at the airport, take kids to school… Barcelona have that too and possibly Real Madrid, but who else?
Here in La Liga everything works different. Very few foreign players, especially english, come to Spain. We saw Jermaine Pennant, which is a great player, he even played for England. He struggled at Zaragoza. The problem was that the club had nobody to show him just the simple things to make the player comfortable. If you go to a Championship club in England, the facilities the players have got are sometimes superior than a lot of first division clubs in Spain.
Is the lack of foreign players what makes La Liga less interesting than the Premier League?
It´s one of the reasons, but not the main. The main reason is the lack of money in most of the clubs, a fact that contrasts with Barcelona and Real Madrid. La Liga money is not well distributed. The consequences of that are dramatic, because the best players of the other clubs rather than Barcelona and Real Madrid just have two options: to get a transfer and go to Barcelona or Real Madrid, or go to a Premier League club. It´s what happened with David Silva, Juan Mata or David Villa. They knew that were no chances to achieve anything with Valencia, so they had to go. The result of that is the transfer of Villa to Barcelona and Silva and Mata to the Premier League.
This is a dramatic fact, because both options make La Liga less interesting. If they go to Barcelona or Real Madrid, the difference between the seller and the buyer team will become bigger, so the league will become less competitive. And if the player is transfered to England, both La Liga and the seller club will lose level.
In that way, is the Premier League a model to follow by other european leagues, such as La Liga?
Definitly. The wealth is more spread in England, more clubs have money. A perfect example is the transfer of Anton Ferdinand this summer. Anton approached us when he was at Sunderland because he was not happy with his situation, and wanted to know the opportunities he had to be transfered to Spain. As I told before, we had intense conversations with Atletico de Madrid, but it wasn´t possible because of the wages. He got a good age and just one year left in his contract, so the fee wouldn´t be that high, but there is too much difference between the earnings of the players in England and in Spain. Even more, between Atletico de Madrid, one of the biggest clubs in Spain besides Barcelona and Real Madrid; and QPR, a recent promoted club.
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