For arguments sake, let’s suggest that the difference between a Newcastle of this world and a Norwich of this world is one Loic Remy.
That the player is top class is not in dispute.
Harry Redknapp may be many things, but he is no fool when it comes to judging a player.
“Make no mistake, he will get between 15 and 20 goals next season if he goes to a Premier League club. He is a top-class player – a player for any club in the Premier League in my opinion.”
Those were H’s words as he made it be known that Rangers’ £8 million signing from Marseille last January could go out on loan this season to any club that was willing to pay a £2 million loan fee.
That and the £75,000 a week wages that his talents and/or his agent demands.
It is interesting the fact that the transfer fee was a mere £8 million – about the same as Norwich were reported to have paid for Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Give or take.
With his strike against Norwich being his eighth Premier League goal of the season – in just ten league appearances for his short-term employers – Remy is already well on his way to proving Redknapp right.
And merely adding to the debate as to what, exactly, £8 million can get you in the European striker market. It gets you a Loic Remy.
If only life were so simple.
Because a Remy comes with certain additional demands. Not least the £75,000 a week wage demands.
And an array of Monaco-based agents led by a Frederic Guerra. Though the name of Willie Mackay has also been connected to the 26-year-old French international.
Mackay may be many things, but he is no fool when it comes to spotting talent.
And cashing in on said talent. At that he is a master.
And as Newcastle’s first attempt to lure Remy to St James’ proved, money doesn’t buy you loyalty. They were all waiting for the Frenchman to do his medical – as said representatives were whisking him away to West London where Harry’s wages awaited.
Twice, reportedly, what Newcastle were originally due to offer him.
On current form, Remy could expect another pay rise before the year is out.
Go back to the luckless van Wolfswinkel and I get every impression that he is a nice, Dutch lad whose girlfriend is the daughter of Johann Neeskens.
He is blue blood Dutch footballing aristocracy. Whether he has the heart of a Carlisle tyre-fitter has yet to be seen, but I would tentatively suggest that the biggest thing Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Loic Remy have in common is their transfer fee.
It might be the only thing they have in common.
And yet as the New Year transfer window looms every larger in people’s thinking, that would be my question for the board – whether to progress the club to where it is beyond the reaches of the bottom five or six clubs in the English Premier League, it will need to dabble more in the Loic Remy end of the European striker market rather than the Ricky van Wolfswinkel?
Because there is a huge difference in what – and who – you are buying into once you arrive at that fork in the transfer road.
And the answer – once you seek to bat consistently at that level – wont lie in the lower tiers of English football. There will be the odd exception. A Holt or a Lambert.
Otherwise, the answer increasingly is something young, hungry, muscular and mean. And, invariably, will have ‘graduated’ from the school of hard knocks that is the French footballing academies.
And will have a Monaco-based agent in tow.
That is where the market is. That is the reality.
That the answer to Norwich’s Premier League striking woes may be the next Loic Remy. Or another Christian Benteke. Who might be Belgian, but the same logic applies.
You know from Day One, you are the stepping stone. The £8 million move that the agent has down as the one before the £25 million one to a Chelsea or an Arsenal.
It’s the Demba Ba route to fame and fortune.
The ‘price’ you pay for their service for 12-18 months tops is a ceiling-shattering wage packet and a five-year deal that you then leverage to gain the £25 million deal that follows.
That’s the way that it works. Thems the choices, to coin a phrase.
Perhaps ‘The Wolfman’ is on the same, said path. Perhaps.
But whether or not this current manager survives the winter or not, the same issue will confront any successor.
At the level that a debt free Norwich aspire to – to be one step ahead of the God-awful ugly fight at the foot of the English Premier League season after season – they are going to have to think long and hard as to who they are prepared to get into bed with to deliver the kind of striker that separates them from a Newcastle.
And that is a very big decision for a club of Norwich’s ilk – just what price are you prepared to pay, financial or otherwise, for the kind of striker that delivers Premier League security?