The Daily Mail is as far from my first point of reference as is humanly possible but if it’s telling me that City have finally agreed a fee with Fulham for Ross McCormack then I’m prepared to believe.
For a few fleeting seconds at 6:50 on the morning of July 31, 2016 it became my bible.
If true – and it’s a bold statement to make if it isn’t – then not only does it signal the arrival of one with an extraordinary goalscoring record in the Championship it also, far more importantly, marks the end of some online panic of equally extraordinary proportions.
‘Here we go again, this has got the Brady saga written all over it’
‘Why do we never learn? Same ol’ Norwich’
‘It’s a repeat of the Afobe disaster’
Except, as will hopefully transpire, it’s none of those things. It was the club having a valuation for the player in mind and doing their utmost to stick to it. It was the club being prepared to be patient in order to get the deal done without being stitched up. Or, as it’s commonly known, negotiating.
There are of course clubs out there who had they been in the bun-fight for said striker would have concluded the deal far quicker but these would be folk with far deeper pockets than City’s; the type who would be prepared to, for example, throw £8 million at Tyrone Mings as if it were confetti.
Despite some being of the opinion that there are pots of gold stacked up in the City boardroom, the harsh reality is that every pound still has to work hard.
Yes, compared to many in the Championship we have a parachute payment induced advantage (which was hard earned by the way) but please let’s not kid ourselves that ‘an extra couple of million there won’t hurt’.
It really would.
Any organisation that faces a 60 per cent reduction in income has some serious cloth-cutting to do, even it its staff have contractual arrangements to help soften the blow. For City’s part, players whose contracts have embedded relegation clauses will of course help lighten the financial load but there remains the necessity to run a tight ship.
The first season back in the Championship does, of course, represent the best chance of bouncing back to the Premier League – and if it goes to a third we have every right to start mildly panicking – but still the need remains to juggle the financial stability of the club with appropriately funding a promotion push.
It’s a difficult balancing act and requires decisive, sometimes unpopular, actions, and definitely no room for knee-jerk decisions, like chucking an extra couple of million in the pot just to get a deal over the line.
To some, the club appears the footballing equivalent of Scrooge. But it has no choice.
*If* McCormack arrives we’ll be getting ourselves a striker who has scored 116 Championship goals in 303 games – a goal every 2.61 games for the stattos – and one who scored 23 goals last season for a club that finished 20th; impressive numbers in every regard.
At 5′ 9″ he’s not going to throw his weight around a la Mbokani, nor is he likely to offer an aerial threat, but he will be one with an uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time and one who, when offered a chance, will be relaxed rather than tighten up (sorry CamJam).
Think Gary Hooper minus the ‘I don’t want to be here’ demeanour.
If his reported appearance at the Coventry friendly was anything to go by he certainly does want to be here and that in itself would make a refreshing change from those who either arrive reluctantly, because that better offer never arrived, or who run a mile when hear ‘rural’ and ‘no motorways’.
So, while the wait continues, the Daily Mail have reignited hope that was beginning to wane slightly following Alex Neil’s post-Hannover comments, and the bookies still appear convinced.
We just await the white smoke, the singing fat lady, and a picture of him wearing the egg ‘n cress. Then we’ll know.
Meanwhile off the field, the big news of the week was of course the announcement that the David McNally chair is to be filled, when he’s tied up his loose ends at Wolves, by one Jez Moxey; the rarity of being a footballing chief executive that we’ve already heard of.
That, in itself, suggests that Moxey is not going to quietly slip in under the radar and just keep things ticking over. By all accounts he’s a shrewd, tough operator who is well connected in the game and beyond.
He won’t, I suspect, be seen meeting and greeting supporters on match day on the corner of the River End but he will, hopefully, be the type to get things done and make, if needed, the aforementioned, tough decisions; someone more akin to McNally than his predecessor.
And that has to be a good thing doesn’t it?
Let’s just hope he arrives before October 1, or things could get awkward.