Are we a selling club? To me, no we’re not. We are a club that only sells on our terms, which happens to have worked out although whether it be by luck or judgement is something that will carry on being argued about for a while yet I’d imagine.
Generally speaking players only go if they are causing a nuisance, want a deal the club thinks is beyond benefit, want to move on for better wages, or if the money on offer is at a level which allows the club to improve the squad.
A lot of our players have been linked with moves away over the last week or so. We’ve had Tim Krul, Davide Santon, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Danny Simpson, Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse all linked with one club or another in recent times. They aren’t all going to move on though are they? Not in one hit anyway…
However some of the replies from the players regarding the speculation has led me to thinking about whether they are in it for the long haul or whether our club is being used as a stepping stone for a move to a club higher up the league or perhaps with more financial muscle than we have.
I’ll take Yohan Cabaye as an example of this. By his own admission he is aware of rumours about him and Manchester United but he insists it is up to his agent to deal with. Now granted he also said he is just focussing on Newcastle at the moment, but what if the speculation came to fruition and Manchester United firmed up any supposed interest? Does anyone think we’d stand a chance of keeping him? I don’t…
Realistically it’s no different for players at most clubs in the league. Time and again we’ve seen players poached from clubs who don’t fight for the title each year only to end up at one of the so-called big hitters. Joleon Lescott, James Milner, Ashley Young, Gary Cahill. The list goes on and on.
Now I’m fully aware that players move on and never really stay at one club for more than a few years. Those that do are either not good enough to prick any interest or are a special case like an Alan Shearer The rest though will change their colours numerous times and will be looking to get the best for themselves at the end of it. I can’t say I blame them either.
On the face of it being a stepping stone is a bad thing. How can you build a team if your best performers are interesting clubs that, realistically, they are unlikely to turn down?
Scratch a bit deeper though and you may well end up thinking that it’s not a bad thing after all. Players come to the club keen to showcase themselves, we get one or two good seasons from them and a huge gratuity payment at the end, which will then be used to do the same thing again until we get to a point where we no longer need to do such a thing and can resist bids entirely.
It’s how Tottenham got to where they are today…
So a stepping stone to greater things? Time will tell on that one. If we are to be though, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing!