So we lost out on Loic Remy and after spending much time and probably a lot of effort in trying to lure the Frenchman to St James’ Park the former Marseille man opted to join QPR instead.
Did we dodge a bullet? Well the fact that Remy’s mind was swayed by a wad of extra notes would suggest so. Likewise would the rumours that he just fancied staying in bed a bit longer rather than meeting with NUFC officials but ultimately time will tell.
Personally I’m over it. Move on to the next one, and quickly. However there is one thing that came out of Remy’s move to QPR that has made me wonder about our transfer policy and the continued success of it. Is it possible that we’ve been outdone by our own shrewdness in the transfer market? Are we now at a point where things need to be done differently to avoid the same situation happening again?
Now not for one minute am I suggesting we should have suddenly matched what QPR offered Loic Remy to try and get him to sign on with us. It would be stupidity to lay out that much in wages and make a player who has barely hit top form in a few seasons and is untested in the Premier League one of our highest earners right from the word go. However I refer you to words from Harry Redknapp when he revealed that the deal was all but done between QPR and Remy.
“Newcastle United wanted him and Graham Carr doesn’t make too many mistakes. Graham’s got good judgement.”
And there, for me anyway, is part of the problem. We have a Chief Scout who seems to be widely respected within the game who has done a cracking job in alerting us to some quality players over the past few seasons. It’s pretty clear his niche or preference is in the French market as that is where we seem to look for most of our business and it’s worked when you look at some of the players we’ve managed to pick up that would have cost a lot more with a little less knowledge. I’m talking players like Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse as examples.
It’s not impossible that the work he has put in for United has not gone unnoticed elsewhere. As Redknapp says, Carr doesn’t get much wrong when it comes to rating players so is it not possible that as soon as other clubs become aware of our interest they suddenly crank up their own relatively safe in the knowledge that if we’re interested then it’s probably worth them being interested also?
Of course this is where we hit the buffers with our transfer policy and the steadfast refusal to deviate from a strict wage structure that has been put in place. We find a player, put the legwork in, scout them, watch them and then, when the time is right, we bid for them and usually get along the line of signing them before another club pops up that will offer more money or perhaps more incentive, such as Champions League football or something like that meaning that ultimately we lose out.
For our transfer policy to work there needs to be secrecy, but the problem is that the secrecy has been blown by our success. Clubs are basically not scouting players, they are scouting our scouts and taking action on it. I’ve mentioned Remy in this article but he isn’t the best example as it’s well documented that Harry Redknapp wanted him at Tottenham, but is it not possible that our actions alerted QPR to the availability of the player?
We need to get back to how it was a few seasons ago. Suddenly the press have a pretty good grasp of our targets and actually get more right than they have done for a while, but these leaks need to stop if we are to see more Ben Arfa’s and Cabaye’s turn up at St James’ Park.
And they need to stop soon!