Tapping up is a term with a lot of grey area in football. There are examples where there is no debate, such as when Chelsea purchased midfielder Gael Kakuta from Lens. Chelsea contacted the player without the clubs knowledge, offered Kakuta's parents a house in England and snatched away the youngster with a nominal fee charged to them. Subsequently Chelsea were sanctioned for their part in this saga and rightly so.
Beyond the obvious examples though is where we reach the part that cannot be controlled or governed. Players, unlike management and boards of control, are entitled to express their opinions on players movements freely without any punishment. They of course have no input in the transfer process, but a throwaway comment can, and has previously, unsettled players to the extent where they wish to leave their club.
Last pre-season the lot down the road were bombarded with news of Barcelona players discussing how great it would be to have Cesc Fabregas in the colours of Barca. Whether it be Xavi, Piqué or Iniesta, they all made sure they had their say.
Similarly this year we have received mirrored comments from Real Madrid first teamers Pepe and Alvaro Arbeloa regarding our midfield dynamo Luka Modric. Putting aside the rivalry, both cases are examples of poor showmanship from clubs who should know better. Only by the smallprint of the football laws is this not a case of tapping up.
Which brings me back to Pienaar. When Spurs signed Pienaar big things were expected of him but he has failed to deliver, albeit in a small cluster of appearances. However does the fact that Pienaar is not a star player of our team mean that it is acceptable for Everton players to already begin discussing his future with their club? Should the comments have been directed at first teamers such as Bale or Walker, we'd be up in arms at the nerve to attempt to nestle our players!
For all we know AVB's new plans could involve Steven Pienaar playing a key role, as when he's on form he's a game changer. With only rumours flying around of a departure from the club and no confirmed approach, Distin is firstly undermining AVB and then also potentially turning Pienaar's head even further than it probably already has been.
Sadly this will always be commonplace in football and we will continue to see it on a regular basis over the next month and a half. I may be barking up the wrong tree but to me tapping up is tapping up, no matter who the player is. So in my opinion Distin has stepped over the line. What do you think?
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