Pay big or keep your mitts off

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So a hypothetical situation….

 

Aston Villa have a large chunk of money burning a hole in their pocket following the sale of Stewart Downing and Ashley Young. Let’s just for a second assume that the rumours plastered all over NewsNow from the usual syndicated websites are true and that the Midlands club are interested in both N’Zogbia and Rodallega. The question is: what price is the right price?

 

I can’t help thinking that if they came in and offered £20-25m for the pair then we’d snap their hands off. Whereas there would be some grumbling from certain quarters about us having the heart ripped out of our team (again!) I like to think that so many of our fans are now a lot more financially knowledgeable about the club and recognise that such a sum of money could make a massive difference to the club’s finances both in part to paying down debt and being reinvested wisely.

 

Then on the other hand, what is £20m these days? It buys you a Stewart Downing or a Jordan Henderson or 57% of Andy Carroll. It’s somewhat galling to think that Villa could get two of our best players for the price of one Stewart Downing.

 

I have a bee in my bonnet about Downing, I just don’t rate him. So he’s got a left foot. Well so has Gerry Adams but I wouldn’t want to see his grinning boat staring back at me as I turn over the page for September in my LFC 2011/12 calendar. So he can cross a ball, well b*gger me, it’s not exactly hard. He’s made more crosses than anyone actually. Well hello there Mr One Trick Pony! I am fairly certain given his free kick abilities that Charles N’Zogbia has a better left foot and is an equal or better crosser of a ball than Downing.

 

The fact he hasn’t made more crosses is purely down to the way we play. What’s better? Crossing a ball to someone else or cutting inside the box and actually finishing the job off yourself and putting the ball in the net?

 

Ten goals per season in a struggling team and the second most dribbles in Europe after Lionel Messi. He’s a handful alright and probably earned us around 10-12points per season off his own back. We have a prized asset on our hands here and should not let him go cheaply. I know he’s in his last year of contract but is it really so ridiculous to ask £20m for such a potent matchwinner who can dribble, pass, cross, score and take a deadly free kick. Heck, he’ll even track back if you can sort that muddled French head of his out.

 

I completely understand the attraction of Downing for Liverpool, they’ve spent £35m on a big old fashioned centre forward and need to service him (oo-er missus) even though in my humble opinion the goofy teethed guile of Luis Suarez is much superior. Still it’s Liverpool’s choice. It sounds daft but I’d much rather Charles went to Liverpool than Downing simply because he might now end up swimming in mid-table mediocrity at Villa or Sunderland. Like them or not at least Liverpool are one of the top clubs in the country.

 

Hugo Rodallega is a fantastic talent and will still get ten goals a season for any Premier League outfit, maybe more for a better side. He blows hot and cold as we know but given the fees exchanged now for relevantly young and inexperienced forwards, surely proven stars command a premium? Either way anything less than £10m would be an insult. I know I have skirted over the premium of English talent issue somewhat but when Fernando Torres is worth £50m is it really that much so? Is Torres five times better than Rodallega? That’s when it looks stupid.

 

So in summary, I don’t want us to lose any of our players but I recognise that occasionally we might have to offload our better players to keep the good old HMS Wigan Athletic afloat. What we should be doing is demanding the highest possible price and pitch ourselves as a club that doesn’t need to sell and only does so as a last resort.

 

The whole Whelan wants £20m for N’Zogbia nonsense in the press this week was reported with the usual high level of inaccuracy. All he said was, given the prices other players are going for that N’Zogbia is certainly worth at least £20m, a sentiment echoed by myself above.

 

We should only accepts sums of money that will enable us to radically re-shape the football club (i.e. £30m plus) if we are to sell one, let alone two of our prized assets and if Villa are to come in for either Rodallega or N’Zogbia or both then we need to be making sure that  they are paying through the nose for them.

 

The sort of deal we cannot possibly lose on, and after all the Martinez effect is such that he has undoubtedly brought on Charles career leaps and bounds and arguably improved Rodallega in terms of the versatility to his game. Put those same two players under the tutelage of that dour negative goon Alex McLeish and they may well discover, like a many a Wigan Athletic departee before them that the grass is not always greener however.

 

Staying for another season at Latics (not withstanding the financial loss of revenue to the club) could see both their stars continue to shine and blossom in a team which is promising to improve and kick on from a scintillating end to 2010/11. The players seem remarkably happy at Wigan Athletic, it’s just a shame that like so many footballers now, their agents are so keen to hawk them around like pieces of meat to inflate their own self-worth.

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