Peaks and troughs. We’re all thoroughly aware of the concept and understand the implications.
Indeed that great philosopher Ronnie Wood of Faces and Rolling Stones fame hit the nail smack on the head when he said:
“Nobody likes a drought or a flood; we all want a gentle, warm rain”.
Mind you, he was talking about his attitude to alcohol consumption, not the transfer rumours currently surrounding City.
With all respect to Ron Wood, who I greatly admire as both a musician and an artist, I think our silly season rumours have peaked. Hopefully, at least.
As of Monday mid-day it stands roughly like this:
Cameron Jerome is worth some kite; Middlesbrough and Sunderland would be interested. He is closer to 31 than 30, so may choose to move on. But he has two years left on his contract here, and are they prepared to match his current wages? He has been a good and loyal servant to us and I hope he stays for next season.
Jonny Howson is rumoured to want out to return “oop North” with his family. Burnley appear to be a much more attractive destination than Leeds, who surely would struggle to cover his wages, despite the sentimentality involved. As recently as Christmas, a source I trust said Jonny was happy to be here, albeit a little frustrated. So what do you make of that one?
Declan Rudd has recently signed a one-year extension. The loan agreement with Manchester City for the services of Angus Gunn smacks of us trying to get a decent fee for Rudd from maybe Preston. Charlton ain’t in it, believe me. The tactic worked with Martin Olsson; it might work again. In my opinion Declan has had his chance here and blown it, but I understand and appreciate that other supporters continue to rate him highly.
Alex Tettey has retired from international duty with Norway and acknowledges he has fitness problems, and with the way he plays the game that’s totally understandable. Rumours he carries his own yellow card in his sleeve to save referees wasting time are unfounded. Another good servant but let him go if by a miracle we get any takers.
Now, this is where it gets interesting.
Our Scots contingent.
Graham Dorrans appears nailed on to go to Rangers-Sevco – your choice of nomenclature – for about £1.2 million. He’s never been a bad player for us when fit, but this would represent a massive financial loss as we paid around £4million for him. Super Mario (Vrančić ) looks like a straight replacement and more than one Celtic mate says Dorrans is virtually a done deal – they love to laugh at Sevco even more than we do at the Binners, as I am sure you will know. No malice in this case though, just information.
Steven Naismith. The hardest to call of the lot. Possibly our biggest earner and rumoured to have no relegation clause when he signed on massive wages, which was really not that very long ago. Never apparently shy of a word with the press, he seems to go in and out like a shuttlecock. ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go?‘ The sad fact is that nobody (except maybe a desperate Sunderland) in England wants him and Rangers-Sevco could not possibly afford him. If he stayed he has claimed he would do a job for us and I for one would like to believe him.
Tony Andreu. Anyone old enough to remember The Outer Limits on TV? Or believe in conspiracy theories? Why Alex Neil was ever endorsed to sign him is beyond me, Answers on that postcard, please. Yes I know he’s French, but… the point remains.
Russell Martin. No, I’m not going to lay into him, I’ve met him and he is indeed a lovely fella. A Brighton Scot, just like I could technically be described as Norfolk Irish. But has he disappointed a lot of our fans during his deployment at centre back? Yes, he has. Gordon Strachan clearly knows something a lot of us don’t. His time as a Championship centre back is up – at least in my opinion – but he’s clearly settled here and continues to contribute so much to the club I would really, really hate to see him go. If anybody deserves a grace and favour posting, it’s our Russ. Stuart Webber may feel otherwise. We’ll see.
I’ll conclude with the unfathomable trio.
Timm Klose seems to have gone downhill more rapidly than one of his native country’s much-revered ski slopes. Dreadful in the concluding weeks of last season – what is he worth now? Not a lot. I loved him when he arrived, but one unfortunate injury and that was that. Get rid, if even remotely possible.
Yanic Wildschut. I do not have a scooby doo. Beyond the fact that Alex Neil was allowed to spend circa £7 million on him, and then didn’t play him. Resale value? A kiss on the bum and a packet of wine gums, as Monty Python once said. He is one for Daniel Farke to evaluate. I don’t think I’ve seen him play ninety minutes of football, so I couldn’t resolve this case.
Matt Jarvis. Well, I couldn’t leave him out, could I? Although Alex Neil was always forced to. What possessed them to make this deal permanent with that injury record? No blame to Matt J – it’s not his fault – but the mind truly boggles on all six cylinders in this case. Due diligence? No diligence at all, I’m afraid. Hopefully those days are gone.
Farewell, thanks and respect to Alan Irvine. Don’t blame him; not over-fussed either way.
Frankie McAvoy and Dean Kiely are likely to remain. Kiely may well be an excellent goalkeeping coach, but I still have no idea what McAvoy ever did, let alone about his projected, changed role in the future.
So as the great big rumour mill keeps turning, and we must all still wait and see.
What a funny old world when the outs are potentially more important than the ins.
But what I do know is this: the 2017 close season is the most interesting in recent times, so let’s collectively enjoy it, if we can.
I’ll end as I began but this time with the words of one of Ronnie Wood’s colleagues in The Faces, Ronnie Lane, written about an unexpected meeting with his estranged father who he bumped into at a 1970s car boot sale on bomb damaged land in London:
And so we might be until we get rid of a few more ‘senior professionals’.