Saturday, 17 July 2010
Sullivan and Gold will have to show their hand over next 2 weeks
So far so ordinary. We have Hitlersburger, Ben Haim, Barerra and Piquionne. Of those, only Barerra has the potential to set the pulses racing, but staking all your hopes on a young, untried Mexican is like risking your house and kids in a poker game on a pair of twos. You may win, but it isn't advisable.
For all the excitement when we signed Hitlersburger, he arrives on the back of a very bad season and wasn't considered good enough for the Germany squad. He is probably an average Premiership midfielder and not much more.
As for Piquionne and Benhaim, well they are the equivalent of a pair of slippers and new boxers as Christmas presents. Yes they may come in useful, but you don't wait 12 months in the hope of getting them do you? How much have that lot cost us? Hitlersburger arrived on a free, Barerra only cost £4m and that probably wasn't paid up front, Piquionne cost a cool million and Ben Haim came gift wrapped as a way of easing Pompey's wage bill. So S&G have shelled out a maximum of £5m thus far, if we ignore signing on fees and wages. That could be recouped by the sale on one player!
Of course we have been linked with others, with mouth wateringly expensive deals, but they haven't resulted in signings have they? Going back to the poker analogy, they are no more than bluffs so far, designed to impress but amounting to nothing. The timing of the invitation to buy tickets for the Paolo Di Canio lounge, at £1,800 plus a piece, is interesting. Wouldn't that be a more exciting prospect if you were watching Naymar and Remy rather than Piquionne and McCarthy?
The next two weeks will be very illuminating as Sullivan and Gold have to show their hand. If the four signings are designed to bolster the existing squad then great. Piquionne is a good option to McCarthy as a partner for Cole, should we play 4-4-2 and a reasonable stand in when Carlton is injured. Ben Haim is an experienced option for the centre back berth: we cannot afford to pair Tomkins and Da Costa together. Barerra will hopefully offer the width we were crying out for all last season. And Hitlersburger has the potential to score from midfield, something we desperately need. Chuck that into the pot with the players who finished last season, then the squad looks pretty good, although most agree that a good right back is still needed and maybe a left back too if Ilunga is still in the doldrums.
But that assumes no exits. If, suddenly, we see four players sold to balance the additions to the squad, then we will know what S&G are really up to. Imagine, for a moment, that Cole, Upson, Diamanti and Kovac are all moved on over the next two weeks, for fees totalling £20m plus. Well, suddenly the team will look weaker than last season (Cole is better than Piquionne, Diamanti will score more than Hitlersburger and Upson is better than Ben Haim), and S&G will have banked a £15m surplus on transfer deals, not to mention easing the wage bill. Suddenly, the asset stripping argument will resurface.
Of course, there is a middle way. Any sales may be designed to fund new arrivals. The first four may be designed to deepen the squad and future deals may be based on improving the team. To buy Remy or Naymar, we may have to sell Cole for example. The worry then is how the deals are structured. We have not landed Remy because S&G will not pay up front and the Barerra deal includes a sell on element where Pumas are hoping to make the bulk of their money. But S&G will want money on the table to sell. You can bet your life that £12m today for Cole will be accepted ahead of £7m now, £5m next year, £3m the next and bonuses based on international appearances and goals scored. Never mind the long term, the priority would appear to be raising money now and parting with as little as possible for the foreseeable future.
The worry is that despite the huge financial rewards of being in and staying in the Prem, we have, thus far, invested just £5m in the squad. Wolves paid more than that on one player! Wolves! The team that was already good enough to humiliate us at Upton Park last season! And Stoke have apparently bid £12m for Cole. Stoke, the team already good enough to do the double over us last season!
The transfer merry go round is about to start as players return from breaks after the World Cup. We will know what S&G are really up to within the next fortnight. I would settle for sticking with the squad we have now, plus a utility defender who can cover at right back and left back. My fear, is that there will be comings and goings and that diamonds will be traded for paste and cash. Let's hope I am wrong!
Posted by Hammersfan at 10:46