I think our board are starting to realise that this buying unearthed gems for cheap idea isn’t as simple as it first looked. For the fans, perhaps we’re finally seeing that there’s a reason why no one else has had this idea before and used it successfully.
It’s all well and good when it works well and we hit lucky. Getting Cabaye, Tiote, Ba, Ben Arfa and co was great. However, we’re now seeing the big downside of such an austere policy.
The fact is that we’ve had targets and missed them. We missed PEA, we’ve missed Bony, we’ve missed some young talent and missed other players too. They’ve joined other teams for not necessarily cheap, but fairly reasonable prices.
Now it’s all well and good saying that we “walk away if the deal isn’t right” and “won’t be held to ransom” but the board seem to be mistaking normal market competition for this. Clubs will compete and, as a result, players are going for the value set by the market. As they say in business, the value of something is what someone is willing to pay for it.
This approach is supposedly safe, but the fact is that we can’t just keep walking away until a great deal happens to land on our lap. There aren’t infinite players out there to choose from.
We might walk away from a deal where we’ve been pushed a little too high, but we ultimately still need to buy players for these positions and have to turn to back up options. With this approach, do we not just end up weaker overall? Does the overall value for money not end up lower just because we’ve been so stubborn in the attempt of trying to obtain the best value?
To me, speculating to accumulate is a strong tactic when used correctly, getting the best value doesn’t always necessarily mean spending the least, and we have to accept that we’re often going have to compete in the marketplace when there’s a player worth buying.
By only swooping in on players under the radar, or with buyout clauses, or with fallings out at their existing clubs, we’re going to severely limit our target audience. If we then enter the more “public” market and try to be overly austere with well-known players with clubs fighting over them like they’re some under the radar buy, we’re just going to be left with either no players or poorer players which ultimately offer poorer value for money.
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