Pep Guardiola Asks For Thiago Alcantara to Bayern Munich - Is "Tapping Up" Still a Thing?

Rob Carr

"Thiago or no one," is how FC Bayern Munich manager, and former Barcelona manager, Pep Guardiola described his situation. "See you in Manchester," David De Gea wrote on Thiago's matchball after the U21 World Cup. Is it worth it to still worry about tapping up?

Tapping up - sometimes called "tampering" in American English - occurs when a team attempts to persuade a player of another team to join them without the permission of the player's current team.

Such tactics, while not illegal, are forbidden by professional leagues around the world and carry fines. The long transfer saga of Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal to Barcelona ended with many fans of the London club crying foul over the alleged tapping. Arsene Wenger himself has accused competitors of impropriety when attempting to sign his players.

While at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho was fined for tapping up Ashley Cole. Roma were subjected to a transfer ban for tapping up Philippe Mexes. There are many other examples of teams fined for such a practice.

However, it's become so commonplace that one has to wonder what the point of the rule is in the first place. During this transfer window, it seems harder to talk about a player who was not tapped up as opposed to one who was.

A lot of the behavior, one could argue, was not technically tapping up - i.e. a manager hinting with admiration remaining sufficiently vague, by saying something like, "if any player of X's caliber were to join, of course I would be extremely happy."

The rules are murky, and it's relatively easy to weave around them. For all the constant attempts to sign Fabregas, Barcelona never actually met any repercussions.

Ex-Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough once boasted he "tapped more players ...than the Severn Trent Water Authority." A prominent agent summed it up to the BBC: "It has always been part and parcel of the game." Former Aston Villa manager David O'Leary: "Everyone knows it is happening."

English legend and former Barcelona striker Gary Lineker goes one step further. He says he " doubts that many transfer deals have ever been done without a tapping up process".

Recently, the UK-based tabloid Daily Mirror accused Real Madrid of tapping up Gareth Bale by printing mock up jerseys of him. David Villa was supposedly contacted by Wenger and Tottenham Hotspur's Andre Villas-Boas. Brazilian teammates have played a part in encouraging Neymar to sign for Barca. The list goes on. Name any big name in the transfer market and someone is surely attempting to tap him up.

Which brings us to the latest hot topic: Thiago Alcantara. Manchester United's David De Gea, a teammate of Thiago's in the Spanish U21 team, signed a ball for the young Catalan with "See you in Manchester!" Today, FC Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola openly stated his desire to reunite himself with the Barcelona midfielder.

So is it worth getting bothered over? Worth calling the football authorities?

Or, does Lineker have a point? He once wrote "can I please ask why on earth they persist with their antiquated, farcical tapping up rule? I have never understood the need for it and never will."

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Barca Blaugranes

You must be a member of Barca Blaugranes to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Barca Blaugranes. You should read them.

Join Barca Blaugranes

You must be a member of Barca Blaugranes to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Barca Blaugranes. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker