Monday, 22 June 2015

Goodbye Joe Gomez

Clearly all clubs want to keep hold of their best talent, see Man United and Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, especially if they are young, see Liverpool and Raheem Sterling, but inevitably when a player thinks there is a better opportunity elsewhere (and, invariably, it is about money) he tends to get his move.

I do not know the ins and outs of the two transfers above but I'm inclined to say that money mightn't have been the main factor, all be it that I suspect a pay cut was never, ever, on the cards. In Joe's case I suspect that money is a factor, and why shouldn't it be? I have no idea what Joe was earning at Charlton but I have no doubt that his pay will be multiples of what it was. Potentially this five year contract gives him the kind of long term financial security that the majority of the population have to work into their 60s to achieve. Why wouldn't he want to move?

Joe's Agent has already been singled out by club employees as being, shall we say, pushy and demanding in when and where Joe should play in our first team. It must come as no surprise that his client has a desire to move to Liverpool and benefit from the kind of money that we will, almost certainly, never pay a player.

There seems to be some doubt as to the fee. Clearly Charlton have said the fee is undisclosed, but this must come as no surprise as they won't even tell us how many season tickets we've sold. Liverpool, however, are happy to tell the world that the fee is £3.5m. A sum that sounds low for a club that paid £20m+ for Dejan Lovren who is not English (not that I care) but has managed just 26 games in his first season. However I can't help but wonder if we are not getting a little excited about the value of our Starlet.

Sure Joe has great potential but I seriously doubt that we are paying him £20k a week (the minimum that I would expect a £10m player to be earning) and what's more we didn't play him in his first position all season, and even in the run in we wasn't being picked in front of Ben Haim or Johnson, two players that have been released. I understand how we, as fans, would want our most promising player to be worth c. £10m and I appreciate how much money the Premier League teams are going to have from next season, but in the event of just one club being interested there is not much wriggle room on the fee for a player who has, clearly, decided to move on.

If the fee is anything like the £3.5m that Liverpool are boasting there is no good reason as to why Arsenal, Man City and all those German clubs didn't want him. Unless, of course, they were never interested in the first place. I find it interesting that Liverpool were linked with Joe last summer and he signs a new contract then suddenly we have loads of interest in him. Really? Why didn't Man City come forward. £3.5m is what they paid to sign their tea lady, if they had the least bit of interest in our future England International they would have been involved in pushing the price up.

Was there a release clause in the contract? To be honest if I were Joe I would have sacked my Agent if I'd signed a contract extension just months after Diego Poyet was allowed to leave on a free (I know there is compensation for youth players, but it's basically a round of drinks for a Premier League club) without an exit route.

I don't want to suggest that all players and their agents are greedy and disloyal but let's face facts. The players remuneration is reduced if there is a big fee to pay. Or, in other words, the player earns much more if he can orchestrate his exit from his current club for little, or nothing. This is why (and this is a subject for a completely different post) J├│hann Berg Gu├░mundsson was happy to sign a two year deal with us coming on a free. I'm speculating, of course, but his future is completely in his own hands, and if he doesn't get the deal he wants this summer, he can leave for nothing in July 2016 and command the kind of wages that take into account the fact that no transfer fee has to be paid - i.e. he will also pocket the transfer fee, or his agent will.

So I find it complete plausible that a release clause was inserted into the contract. I also have some questions as to what would have happened had Joe played more games, especially in his favoured position at centre half. I'm not saying he should have, just that he might have been less inclined to leave and/or we might have secured a greater fee for him. We will never know.

For the record I am, really, pleased for Joe. I think it is a very good move for him. He is unlikely to be ready for Premier League football just yet (although Jenkinson played a fair few games in his first season). Liverpool are a big club but not in the Champions League. This means that their squad rotation will prioritise the Premier League (opposed to the Champions League) and I anticipate that he will play in the Europa League. Big(ish) games all across Europe and, of course, at Anfield where as if he'd gone to one of the top four he might have been given no exposure, at all.

There are rumours of him going out on loan but I think that is unlikely. Liverpool like to bring young players through and I think they will want to ave a good look at him until December before they decide what they are going to do to help his development. Maybe a loan in January, maybe even to a struggling Premier League side. We have no idea, really, of how he will progress from now on. He might even be a regular in Liverpool's side by the end of the season and they could finish top four with him playing. As we have seen so, so little of him we can't say for sure. I would love it if he achieved that so early. His comments, all be it I expect he was 'guided' on what to say to some degree, showed a maturity in such a young man that I think will help him to develop and who knows, the next World Cup is three years away and we have a serious lack of talent at centre half in England right now.

Good luck to him and what ever the release clause was, or wasn't, he signed a new contract with us last year, that he didn't need to, which showed more loyalty than most players have these days.

Good luck Joe.

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