I’ve been doing a bit of catching up with comments and articles from the past week and two different bits from Lincolnshire Live caught my eye.
There’s obviously going to be lots of build up towards the transfer window and as such, the Echo have been talking to our manager about transfer window strategy.
essentially, Danny is saying that keeping the squad together, in its current guise, would be an achievement in itself as we’re doing so well. He’s keen to point out he wouldn’t stand in a players way, but at the same time he wants to keep much of the side intact. If he manages that, then it’ll be a largely successful window.
Of course, much of the fan opinion is different, the need the strengthen is, as always, top of everyone’s priorities. It always interests me that there’s such a focus on bringing players into a club at this stage of the season, just because you’re allowed it seems to be expected. I find that odd, but not as odd as the mainstream media found it that Spurs didn’t buy anyone in the summer. Imagine, not buying a single player!
Only we can, almost. At the end of the 74/75 season Graham Taylor made one addition to the squad. Worked out well for him. Anyway, this isn’t 1975 and there demands on the players are tougher.
I’m interested in the following comments: “In the previous three transfer windows, we’ve always lost key players. We’re hoping this will be the first transfer window where we don’t lose a key player. That is our aim. In the summer, we lost Alex Woodyard [to Peterborough] and Luke Waterfall [Shrewsbury] while in the January before that we lost Sean Raggett (to Norwich]. The aiming going forward is to not lose any of our key players. If we can manage that it would be a massive achievement in itself.”
He goes on to say that everyone has their price, but as the August article I’ve linked above proves, the players who have had their price in recent seasons have been subject of bids that activate release clauses. The general feeling is that few (if any) of the current squad have such clauses. therefore, I wonder what is the price for some of our players.
Fans have an unrealistic view of what a player may or may not be worth. When buying a player we tend to undervalue them, but when we’ve had them on our books we tend to over value them. I remember speaking to someone who said we shouldn’t accept any less than £750,000 for Sean Raggett, when his release clause was thought to be less than half of that figure. However, when we signed him we felt Dover tried to have out pants down by demanding too much.
Literally, in the space of a single season his value increased tenfold in the eyes of some. Not all I hasten to add.
I’m an offender too, I believed had Alex Woodyard stayed with us he could have been a £1m player. In reality, I suspect we got around £125k for him and if I was asked to guess, I’d say we paid a similar amount for John Akinde. Danny does speak some truth when he says the money we spend ifs earned and in the main, it’s earned by transfer fees.
What I don’t buy is the fact losing these players is always detrimental to what we want to achieve. Take Luke Waterfall. I was (and still am) a big fan of Luke, he’s a down to earth guy who played with commitment and passion. The partnership he had with Raggs will go down as one of the strongest for many years and he’s rightly the most decorated Imps captain of all time with two trophies in two years.
However, was losing him pre-season to Shrewsbury such bad business? Okay, we lost a captain and a presence off the pitch, but anyone watching the Northampton game in August could be forgiven for thinking we got off lightly. Luke sold us short a couple of times on that occasion and had battled hard to even get a first team run out the year before.
Our judgement could be clouded because we see him lifting the two trophies or thundering into tackles, but if I gave you a choice now of Jason Shackell or Luke Waterfall, who would you pick?
Perhaps this is a little tougher, but if selling Ollie Palmer allowed us to bring in McCartan, who would you pick? What about Andrade and Akinde coming in for Alex?
Whenever we’ve been hit with a ‘blow’ as such, we’ve seemingly come back stronger, the only time we’ve deviated from that path was with Sean Raggett. I think we suffered for having him on loan in a way, because instead of preparing for life without him, we enjoyed his services. The harsh reality is that him being with us in the first half of last season probably ended up costing us Rob Dickie, because the reading loanee didn’t play and Raggs did. When Raggs left, his so-called successor had been on the bench and left too. If he’d played regularly, he might still be with us now, not playing every game for Oxford in League One.
It’s why I don’t feel there’s a need to worry in the transfer window. If what Danny said in August is correct and we’ve not got release clauses in contracts, then our key players will command bigger fees than the past. Some of our top players just won’t go. Bozzy wont, we know that, he’s settled in the area and moved here for location. He’s staying put, as is Jason Shackell, a man committed to the project, not the money. John Akinde is going nowhere, same with Freck and O’Connor.
In fact, as I alluded to in an earlier article, the main worry is loan players going back to their parent club or any bids we might get for Harry Anderson, Bruno Andrade or Matt Green. The latter I believe might go, but the other two I can’t see leaving. If someone does want Bruno and there’s no £125k release clause, are we really going to let him go cheap? Of course not, Danny is as tight as a parking space at the ground, he wouldn’t give Bruno away if it wasn’t in the contract. Talking about ‘realistic’ pricing when we sold Raggs was all well and good, but it was only because we had no choice.
I believe in saying he’ll deem the window a success if we hold on to our players, Danny is almost saying something he knows to be the case. Bar the odd one or two our spine is going nowhere, for a variety of reasons. Just in case on of the players I’ve mentioned above is sold, or Bradford decide McCartan is integral to their needs, Danny has issued a caveat.
“From a football perspective, we wouldn’t want to lose anyone, but I’m respectful of the fact the club is a business. Sometimes we have to make business decisions in line with the football decisions. Like always, the club and the board of directors are completely supportive in we try to move the club forward.”
This is how I interpret that: the key players aren’t for sale but, if I have to sell a player for money before he leaves for free in the summer I will, please understand it. If someone offers me three times what one of our players is worth, please understand when I accept it and reinvest in one of the umpteen players we’ve scouted, compiled dossiers on and know would come here in a heartbeat, even if you haven’t signed them on FIFA yet.
He stopped short of using the words ‘our fans are clever and they know….’ which is his usual piece of mind trickery. Let’s face it, it worked before and I don’t doubt if something unexpected happens in January. it’ll work again. Our fans are clever and they know that whatever money I get from selling x,y,z player, I can put back into the team to make us stronger still. You know the drill, we’re all still doe-eyed at being called clever by Danny to bother what came after that.
Right now though, I just can’t see it. Not unless that website Team Talk have linked Andrade with Benfica or Harry Toffolo with Jossie’s Giants and Melchester Rovers. Because that lot know exactly what they’re on.