With all the natural – and rightful – hullabaloo that accompanied Chris Hughton’s appointment as new Norwich City manager last week, the last few days have been all-too quiet by contrast.
The pulse will, no doubt, quicken again come Monday when the Premier League fixtures are announced. Little doubt as to which two, in particular, will be eagerly awaited. Aston Villa (a) and Aston Villa (h).
And with Hughton biding his time transfer-wise, sifting through his Norwich DVDs and running the rule over one or two ‘possibles’ playing in playing Poland and Ukraine this month, the only real ‘news’ of note has been Russell Martin putting pen to paper on a new, three-year deal.
And that – for now – has been it.
There was, however, one ‘snippet’ of news that did catch my attention.
It has nothing – directly – to do with Norwich, but may go a long way to explain why Messrs McNally and Bowkett are more than happy for Hughton to turn his eyes abroad this summer after the Canaries picked off ‘the low hanging fruit’ player-wise from the Football League.
It was the number that attached itself to the signature of Everton left-back Leighton Baines this summer; apparently one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘Most Wanted’ at Old Trafford.
Aged 27 and with three years left to run on his Goodison Park deal after signing a five-year deal in the summer of 2010, Baines is being quoted at ‘£20 million’.
I saw the figure in The Guardian first, but here it is in The Daily Mail.
Now, first things first.
This is not to cast doubt on Baines’ ability as a player; I’m sure he’s decent. Trouble is, England-wise, he just has the world’s best left-back ahead of him in the queue in Ashley Cole.
And, yes, this being summer we are in the silly season story-wise; numbers will be plucked out of the air here, there and everywhere. The Mirror had Baines worth only a mere £15 million, for example.
For a full-back. One that is, in fairness, probably approaching his physical peak playing-wise.
He is not the prospect that, say, a Kyle Naughton is – a player now said to be topping Paul Lambert’s shopping list at Villa.
What does Baines’ value make that young man’s signature worth? And just how grateful should the Canary Nation be that Russell Martin has been that bitten by the Norfolk bug that he so readily put pen to paper on a new, long-term deal?
Given the level of versatility and leadership he demonstrated in his first, full season in the top flight, what would his signature be worth in an ‘open market’?
And, again, what price Grant Holt is Baines weighs in at £20 million?
The Canary skipper isn’t 27; granted. But if his heart remains set on an exit this summer, he is surely worth further north of the £4 million that West Ham United have reportedly offered.
Southampton’s move for ‘J-Rod’ – Jay Rodriguez – is another, interesting ‘bench-mark’ for this summer’s Premiership sales.
Not just in the sense of the £6 million fee that went Burnley’s way for the fleet-footed 22-year-old, but the four-year deal that he and his ‘representative’ then prosed out of the newly-promoted South Coast club.
Ricky Lambert and J-Rod together might ruffle a few feathers; the latter’s new deal might also make the club accountant have a few, sleepless nights. Depending on just how many noughts the wage packet came with.
According to The Daily Star, the lad signed for £25,000 a week – so ‘as not to break Southampton’s rigid pay structure’.
Who knows if that figure is anywhere near the mark; but again, do the math. That’s £100,000 a month; £1.2 million a year; a £4.8 million contracted commitment over the course of that four-year deal. Added to the reported £6 million transfer fee, that’s £11 million walking out of the door at St Mary’s.
Give or take.
For one, talented 22-year-old.
Given such numbers, be it for Everton left-backs or Burnley strikers, it is little wonder that Hughton is being encouraged to look abroad this summer.
£20m for the second best left back in the world isn’t too bad ! You obviously know nothing of Baines’ talent, he wasn’t voted into the Premier League team of the season by his peers ahead of Cole for nothing !!
Baines topped Ashley last season and probably the season before that. As for Kyle Naughton, he has a heck of lot to prove before he is even close to Cole and Baines. Cole gets in the England team as first choice simply for the fact that he plays for Chelsea.
Spotlight Kid says
UK Football is not unlike the unregulated credit/property market of 1997-2007 where idiotic deals were being made despite every indicator and sensible code of practice warning contrary. In other words it’s a bubble, a one that has periodically deflated but never actually burst – at least not yet.
Until we see a dozen or more clubs being dragged toward the bankruptcy courts on the back of shoddy practices, creative accounting, falling revenues and dwindling assett values then every manager (even the ‘wisest’) will try this absurd level of speculation. And all this risk to gain a notional (and marginal) advantage over rivals to prevent a lower place finish than the previous season, and so the inevitable loss of job. Even if than means signing Leighton Baines for £20m, or Andy Carroll for £35m etc. etc.
This appears identical to the banking bonus culture, to show gain at any cost even when there is no actual profit to be made.
In a league table clubs have to go both up and down and most don’t win trophies, once this cyclical and statistical phenomenon is accepted by misguided fans, hysterical media and ambitious owners, then managers will feel less pressure to wildly speculate on sub-prime UK players, and instead have the chance to put a longer term ‘Wenger-ish’ footballing strategy into place.
A one that is financially sustainable as well.
You’ve misunderstood the reason for which Baines is 20million. It’s not necessarily his ability which is probably about 10million but it’s how much Everton need him. He is an integral part of the team. Nearly all headed goals come from his crosses at Everton and to replace him would be nearly impossible considering Everton’s financial problems. That’s the reason for the price tag.
“Trouble is, England-wise, he just has the world’s best left-back ahead of him in the queue in Ashley Cole.”
As an Everton fan I would say that Ashley Cole is indeed very good, but Baines’ percieved value to Everton as touted by the ‘Red tops’ is not intrinsically linked to his number 2 status for England. His value to Everton is much more than left back, he get forward well and times these runs to perfection for Everton (Glenn Johnson take note!), has good technique on the ball goes round players and can pass, not to mention he can hit a lovely freekick.
His high value, over inflated as it might seem to you Rick, is also due to the fact that he is a proven quality Premier League player over a number of years, he is a life long Everton fan and very loyal to the club. Everton know this and that all adds a premium, and Everton might well have a strategy to sell Baines now for the longer-term good of our Premier League status.
What might happen is that he might go to (as touted) Manchester United for an undisclosed fee and the Red Tops said it is £20m so we think that but the actual fee is not in the public domain. Then over the next few years decent premiership players will go from Manchester United to Everton for virtually no money – Park and Rafael are linked to the deal. We bought Darren Gibson for £250k cash, with add-on fees up to £750k. A total bargin, but quite possibly the reduced fee for Gibson was a down-payment for Baines in the summer.
This is not uncommon and helps both teams. We sold Rooney to Man U for a reported £26m + clauses, (and pleasingly for Everton all clauses have been activated) since then we have ‘bought’ from Man U – Phil Neville, Louis Saha, Tim Howard and Darren Gibson. All decent Premier League quality players for very little money, but they have all helped Everton stay in the top half of the Premier League with very little output whether you like them as a player or not.
Man U move on decent players they no longer want, Everton sell a top asset for cash and cheap deals on decent reliable players that help maintain a Premier League status. What would not have gone unnoticed to Fergie is that Gibson scored the winner for Everton over City which helped take the league title to the last day…right before Aguero time!
Everton Fan here.
Ask anyone who’s watched him and they will tell you, when Baines is on song he’s Brilliant and when he’s not he’s still a great player. I think he needs time to settle into the England set up but he’s got quality running through him.
He has an amazingly accurate and powerful left peg, he scored 5 goals from left back last term and got 11 assists in a side that was struggling for form for more than half the season and was a major part in the joint 3rd best defence in the league last season. He takes free kicks, corners and penalties and has a fantastic engine. Everton wouldn’t part with him for the £20m bandied about (we don’t need the money having raised in excess of a reported £30m in sales in the last 18 months and wiped approx 8m per season off our wage bill). It would have to be crazy money for us to even think about it. In all honesty it would only happen if Baines said he wanted to leave. While I’ve heard good things about Naughton, he’s mainly potential, Baines is the real deal.
As for Holt, I and quite a few people I know feel he’s overrated. Sure he scored a few goals, but i don’t think that he’s as good as you guys think he is. Just because he’s one of the best you’ve seen at Norwich in 15 years doesn’t mean he’s a good player. He seems a bit of a throw back to the 80’s – big, battling with an average touch. He’s had one good season in the top flight and is what? 31? If you get anything approaching £8m for him you’ll be doing amazing business. I’ll be made up for you guys if he gets into double figures again next season in the Premier League, but he was an unknown entity last season, so I just can’t see it.
Baines is the second best left bk in epl & prob top 5 in world name me better ?? An if Carrolls 35mill downing Henderson 20 mill baines should be goin 4 aleast 20 mill ! Would pay no more than 5-6 mill for holt ,jelivic was 5 mill and is on another level
Re: Baines, ability to value ratio, what you have to consider is the following:
– Rarely injured
– Very consistent
– Solid defensive capabilities
– Rare attacking abilities
– More assists than Cole for two years running
– Scores goals from free kicks
– Wins free kicks on the edge of the box with surging runs
– International and European (not Champions league unfortunately) experience
– International experience
– Can take penalties
– Hitting his peak years at 27 years old
I can go on about his Opta stats, how he is a great crosser, his acceleration and dribbling ability at speed, but you get the idea.
Yes, Prem League prices are crazy but Everton knows exactly what they have. And what they have is one of the two or three outstanding left backs in the Premier league, who also brings a goal threat. Everton fans would actually say that he’s been better than Cole for the last two seasons, but we’re biased…
Anyway, yes, look abroad. Bargains galore there but will they be able to hack the pace and rough & tumble of the premier league? That is what Man U will pay big money for.