OK, here's a question for all you Championship train-spotters out there. Who is Santiago Aloi?
Here's a clue. According to one report, he is “a holding midfield player with great passing vision and who never stops running.”
The sort of player that, presumeably, Huckerby was muttering about at Molineux on Saturday; the sort of player who might be able “to get on the ball and control the game.”
Here's another clue. He arrived at a pretty unfashionable Championship club on loan for a season.
The point is – and we'll get to who, exactly, Santiago Aloi is later – that I'd guess 96% of people reading this will say: 'Never heard of him… Not a clue…' I only stumbled on his arrival by chance for reasons that have already escaped me.
And without doing all the men with little black books in the Championship any disservice, I suspect a good majority of English football scouts will, likewise, draw a blank at the name of Santiago Aloi. He has, in fairness, yet to make his debut for the club in question. There's another clue.
I look back now and one of the more telling quotes to follow Norwich City on their miserable travels this season came from Hull City boss Phil Brown on the back of the Tigers' 2-1 win at the KC Stadium.
A goal adrift, the Canaries threw everything forward in the game's dying minutes – including David Strihavka.
Afterwards Brown noted the fact that the visitors had been left to lump high and hopeful balls into the Tigers' box as they threw Dublin, Doherty “and that lad whose name I can't even pronounce…” forward.
The point? The point was that Brown didn't know who Strihavka was – he'd never heard of him. He knew who Fitz Hall was, however, as Hull joined the same lengthy queue as Norwich in the vain hope that Wigan might let their centre-half out to play this autumn.
And just as much as Grant, Brown and everyone else know about Hall, Davenport, Dailly and Co, so Hall, Davenport, Dailly and Co know all about Norwich and Hull. 'I ain't going there, gaffer,” they'd say. 'It's ****ing miles away…'
You ask David Strihavka where Norwich was and he'd probably point to the blob on the right-hand side of England. He knows nothing about the A17; One Railway; the price of a cab from Liverpool Street station to Chinawhites.
The only piece of geography that David Strihavka and his agent needed to know was where Norwich was in relation to the English Premiership. And the answer to that simple question was all they ever needed to know. “Right on the doorstep…” Or rather, kind of…
So faced with the prospect of switching to Red Star Belgrade, Olympiakos or Norwich which do you go for? The one that is the biggest shop window for the richest football league in the world. And that's Norwich.
Which is why the whole 'There's no value in the British loan market…' debate has to move on. Grant is perfectly correct. There isn't. And what scraps there are, you end up fighting with the Stokes and the Hulls of this world for Calum Davenport's signature.
Who unless you're very careful won't give a monkeys what 'opportunity' you're giving him to play football, because opportunity has already knocked. He's already on ?15,000 a week, thank you. All that a move to Norwich offers him is the chance to splash that cash down the Prince of Wales Road on a Saturday night.
Norwich are screaming out for a loan – interestingly, Grant mentioned that post-match he now felt his squad was “three or four players” short of the kind of bodies he now feels he needs to avoid repeats of Wolves-like fiascos. Time was when it used to be “one or two”.
Fine. But for me, those bodies aren't sat in Tottenham Reserves. Or even Wigan Reserves, for that matter. They've gone.
What's the point in joining a queue of ten other, equally-desperate Championship clubs and merely embroiling yourself in the kind of auction that you'll invariably lose? Or else, even if you match the top bidder, you'll lose on the grounds of the A17.
Strihavka may not live up to expectations, who knows? It ain't easy making the switch to English football at the best of times – let alone when your knowledge of the native language is based on a football club dressing room and a trip to the cinema to watch 'Transformers' and all while your new employers appear intent on giving League One a whirl for a change.
But the point is that there was no Hull in the queue, no Stoke, no Southampton. Phil Brown didn't know who he was. Strihavka knew who Norwich were – they were the team who played in the league below the Premiership. 'Ching, ching…' thought the agent, if the lad comes off…
That's where the value is – out there in the four corners of the footballing globe. At some stage in his professional life, Clint Dempsey must have been a rising talent at some college in Texas. Now, the USA international is banging goals in the Premiership.
Where are the emerging footballer factories in the world? They are not in England; not when Ricky Martin's Academy churns out 19-year-olds whose 'education' then encompasses away trips to Grays Athletic Reserves.
The footballer factories are in the West Coast of Africa – they just pass through a clearing house in France called Auxerre – they are in the States (Dempsey, McBride, etc); they are in Australia (Viduka, Neill, Kewell, etc). They are in Argentina.
And where do all these kids want to play? In the English Premiership – it's the biggest 'brand' in world soccer right now. That's why the Americans are here in the boardrooms of Old Trafford, Anfield and Villa Park – here's where the TV dollars are. And here's where the US kids want to play.
How many English-born and coached youngsters has Arsene Wenger bought? One – Theo Walcott. Otherwise, he turns his attentions outward – to the global village that is football.
There is no value in the English Premiership loan market. Quite right. So move on. Step outside the box in the same way that you did with David Strihavka; use your imagination.
Ryan Shawcross didn't happen. Fine. Move on. Look elsewhere – in the suburbs of Sydney, in the freshmen line-ups of the US College 'sacker' system, in the dusty shanty towns of Sierre Leone or the Ivory Coast, in the favelas of Rio. There are kids there who would walk to Norwich for the opportunities that the club at the end of the A17 offers.
Just as Santiago Aloi won't give a monkey's that Watford town centre isn't the best on a Saturday night.
All the 20-year-old needed to know was that Watford is next door to the Premiership. About eight months away from the Premiership on the Hornets' current rate of progress and for that chance, he will fly half way round the world to enjoy the delights of Hertfordshire.
For Santiago Aloi was signed on-loan from the River Plate club in Argentina this summer having been spotted playing out there by two Watford scouts.
There's the difference; there's the lesson. Think outside the box. Just as Watford did.
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