Originally published on my personal blog on January 24th 2011.
Charlie Adam looks set to leave Blackpool but Ian Holloway insists that an offer of £4 million is an insult, and I agree with him.
For the so-called “bigger clubs” in football, transfer fees mean very little in these modern times. Manchester City can afford to go out and pay £30 million on an average player because their owners can afford to spend hundreds of millions in the pursuit of that Holy Grail: the Premier League trophy. Liverpool are, in some respects, in the same boat as City, as they can afford to spend a reported £20 million on Ajax forward Luis Suarez: a player who has torn the Eredivisie to shreds in recent seasons but is a slight risk given the history of players coming from the top Dutch league to the top English league.
Blackpool, on the other hand, cannot afford to throw away money and that includes selling players for under-valued prices. In total, the Tangerines have spent £320,000 this season, all of which comes from the transfer of Matt Phillips from Wycombe in late-August. Charlie Adam, Blackpool’s captain and talisman this season, was signed for £500,000 in August 2009 from Scottish giants Rangers after a successful loan spell at Bloomfield Road. The Scottish midfielder is now the subject of a transfer-tussle between his club (or rather, Ian Holloway) and a few reportedly interested Premier League clubs, including Liverpool.
The only sticking point, it seems, is the fee of the potential transfer. “If they are going to offer me £4m, then that is insulting” says Holloway, and he’s right. Adam may be in the last year of his contract but that doesn’t mean that Blackpool have to sell him on the cheap. Holloway continues “I think they are wasting their time because we don’t need to sell him at the moment.”
Aston Villa are the other team reportedly interested in capturing the signature of 25-year-old Adam but their offer was supposedly only £3.5 million at most. Obviously, if Blackpool don’t reach an agreement over the fee then Adam would be able to leave the club on a free transfer when his contract eventually runs out, which would be detrimental to Blackpool both to their team and their finances. But Holloway is right to request more money for Adam; he’s right to dismiss Liverpool and Villa and ask for some “respect” in the matter.
Adam’s performance against Sunderland on Saturday was a clear indication as to how talented the Dundee-born midfielder is. His range of passing was exceptional throughout (see chalkboard below) and, while some passes may not have quite found their intended target, the fact that he is looking to play the pass shows great ambition and great drive. Also, if Adam were in a better equipped team, his passing ability would be used to better effect. At Villa, for example, Adam would have the chance to spray balls out to the wings to either Marc Albrighton or Gabriel Agbonlahor, while Darren Bent, who got off the mark for his new club on Saturday, would benefit massively from the supply line that is Charlie Adam.
Central midfielders that can pass as well as Charlie Adam can do not boast transfer fees of under £5 million; they are worth much more than that. Adam is one of the most creative players in the league and whoever acquires his services will have signed a fantastic architect of attacking football. For a deep-lying playmaker his ability to score goals isn’t bad either, with sixteen goals to his name last season in the Championship and four so far this season, all four of which have come from the penalty spot.
Adam’s passing has been key to Blackpool’s success this season along with the sheer work rate that players such as DJ Campbell and Neal Eardley have exerted in the Premier League since August last year. Adam has been at the heart of Blackpool’s attacking play this season, shown by the fact that he has made four assists so far in 2010/11, the same number assists that David Silva has made for Manchester City and one more than Raul Meireles has made for Liverpool. Adam has been particularly influential against teams that Blackpool really need to beat in order to stay up, such as teams like West Brom who, amongst others, are going to be in the same sort of position as Blackpool come the end of the season. Against West Brom in November, Adam was again the creator; his cross-field passing to the right-wing (see chalkboard below) started many attacks for Holloway’s side. Adam also scored a penalty in that game to give Blackpool an early lead.
Adam has all the qualities of a player worth at least £10 million, so why are Liverpool and Aston Villa (‘bigger’ teams by all accounts) offering Blackpool an under-valued amount for a player still relatively young and therefore still has the potential to grow into a fantastic player? Holloway himself says that “I believe that Charlie is shining and his star will only shine brighter”, and he’s correct. At twenty-five Charlie Adam could become the versatile, creative star in the Premier League that Holloway clearly expects him to become.
The midfielder has now allegedly handed in a transfer request, but Holloway will still be reluctant to let him go. The only niggling point on Adam’s transfer is the length of time left on his contract and the amount of money that Blackpool paid Rangers for the player. Many would argue that, as Blackpool signed the player for relatively cheap in today’s market, Holloway should happily accept a £4 million offer, or even a £7 million offer as is now being reported, as this would provide Blackpool with a big profit. But that doesn’t mean Blackpool should let Adam go for anything less than £10 million; in today’s market (quite rightly described as “ridiculous” by Sir Alex Ferguson) Adam is at least worth as much as Southampton teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, possibly as much as £15 million. This money would possibly then enable Blackpool to go out and buy a few decent replacements for Adam as they strive to stay in the Premier League.
Clearly, no human being is worth millions of pounds but, in the current transfer climate, surely Charlie Adam commands a higher transfer fee than that which the top guns in the Premier League are offering? Holloway explains that “We’re not stupid little Blackpool. If you want him, I want the right amount of money”, and that is how the ‘bigger’ clubs are treating Blackpool with this offer – stupid and little. Not only is Adam worth more than what has been quoted, he commands more and, it seems, until Blackpool receive an offer they deem to be acceptable, Adam won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.