By Daniel Lovelady
Over the years I’ve looked at Valencia and marvelled, inspired by this team’s ability to produce and/or put together talented and competitive teams, in spite of the Real and Barca factors and huge debts. Juan Mata, David Villa, David Silva, Jordi Alba, Raul Albiol, Vicente, Roberto Soldado, Adil Rami, Exceptional footballers. All bought and/or produced at a more or less insignificant cost. Borussia Dortmund another club that has been excelling at this in recent years, Mario Gotze, Neven Subotic, Mats Hummels, Nuri Sahin, Shinji Kagawa, Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus.
Exceptionally gifted players, coveted by the very elite, some of whom already having moved to top clubs. I always cite Borussia Dortmund and Valencia. In my opinion that’s the model we should seek to follow. They’ve spent nothing like Bayern, Barca and Madrid yet have put together very good young teams. Youth development and bargain shopping did it.
The fundamental similarity between these clubs is that they aren’t big spenders and payers, precisely like us. But precisely unlike us is they have an exceptionally faculty of producing and acquiring top talent at insignificant cost (Kagawa at £300,000 was just too shrewd), and turning them into world class material whilst staying competitive and attractive at the same time.
Why haven’t we been able to do the same? There’s absolutely no way we could go mano a mano for players with the likes of Manchester City, United, Chelsea, both Milan teams, Bayern and hell even Arsenal. We need to change our financial tactics and go about our business differently.
The start is accepting our present status as non-elite financially restricted (to a point with fsg’s transfer policy), and uncompetitive whilst at the same time understanding that some players are no-hopers, Cavani, Subotic, Lewandowski, Higuain and a thousand others are quite frankly pipe dreams, presently at this current moment anyway. But the world doesn’t end there, though as talent is there and at none of the ridiculous cost of the aforementioned. Jan Vertonghen, Moussa Dembele, Nathaniel Clyne, Michu, Clint Dempsey(who would’ve been a great buy for us), Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla, Junior Holliett, Marko Marin, Ron Vlaar etc etc are all examples of premier league clubs finding bargains and not being ripped off in the process
Players like Moussa Sissoko, Isco, Victor Wanyama, Demba Ba, Kevin Gamerio, Gary Hooper, Aleksandar Dragovic, Wilfried Bony, Benat, Roberto Firmino, Jordy Claise, Igor Denisov,
Theo Walcott and many more across Europe, are already immense players, and some have the potential to develop into very exceptional footballers, all attainable at a remarkably low to insignificant cost, relatively low wages too.
Some of this has already been showcased ourselves in the signings of Assaidi, Joe Allen and Nuri Sahin
Crucially too, (as you may have found out) is our youth, which in my opinion can be our future and play perhaps the most important role of getting us back up again. Raheem Sterling and Suso in particular, have all the makings of world class footballers who can save any club millions. They’re unique talents who, properly nurtured and with the right attitude, will win many, many games for us. Add the likes of Adam Morgan, Samed Yesil, Andre Wisdom, Jack Robinson, Jordan Ibe and Conor Coady to the equation and they can all become very good too. Looking at our own, lads like the before mentioned, are immensely talented and can be just as good as, if not better than, those Dortmund and Valencia lads. Also, with his age and potential, I consider Joe Allen a massive steal at £15m. I think we’ll do it. And we won’t need CL to and buying £25m players on ridiculous wages to do it.
a) youth excellence, b) smart manoeuvring in the market and, crucially, c) the football we seeking to play will be the trump cards. a) we starting to see slowly with Sterling, Coates and Shelvey and the likes of Suso, Yesil, Sinclair etc are sure to follow suit. b) refers to such deals as those of Allen, Dembele, Cabaye, Cisse etc. c) the way we seeking to play, when executed accordingly, inherently gives one an advantage. Another plus with this approach is the financial benefits. Fiscal prudence is paramount. Developing and promoting our own (class) youth will save us millions in transfer fees and wages. That’s the way to go, the Dortmund way. Those who want kamikaze megabucks spend are going to have a LONG wait. It’s NOT going to happen. There WON’T be NO sugar daddies… and quite frankly, I like it that way. Obviously, all of this will need time and patience from the owners, fans and the players themselves. Nevertheless, it’s a path well worth following, especially with the current stadium issue which looks to be getting resolved. Fellow fans, we can be realistic and progressive in our thinking and follow the example set by Dortmund and Valencia in talent recruitment and development. And with the right man in Brendan Rodgers and with ever improving signs of the new system settling in, a new scouting team, and increased confidence and morale amongst the squad, we won’t have to
wait years and years for champions league football and maybe perhaps within 3 seasons we’ll be challenging for the title!
Or you can keep deluding yourselves clamouring for Cavani, Higuain etc, by believing that we have even the snowball’s chance of getting them, that we’re an elite side that should be eating at the elite table with the elite boys. That path ladies and gentlemen, leads to disappointment and misery (as seen in the past with numerous transfer saga’s and false hope) when delusions are shown to be just that, delusions.