Wednesday, 18 July 2012

We're Doomed

Al-Gharafa Representatives arriving at Birmingham Airport 
Yesterday's sensational news of a training ground bust up between Peter Odemwingie and new Albion boss Steve Clarke which was quickly denied by the club has been followed by a report that Qatari club Al-Gharafa have made a bid for the Nigerian International. Albion have rejected the offer.

Cue panic among the Baggies faithful at the very thought of selling our star striker. To quote our more pessimistic fans "We're Doomed" or more accurately "We're Doomed Again" because every silly season we are doomed because of what the club is doing or more often not doing in the transfer window.

Last year we signed McAuley and Jones we're doomed, sold our fifth choice centre back Ibanez on deadline day and guess what we're doomed. This year we appoint Steve Clarke we're doomed we haven't signed Ben Foster by the end of May we're doomed we might sell Odemwingie and Jonas Olsson and therefore we're doomed. 

Before we leap to the inevitable conclusion that things are about to go tits up for the Baggies I think we need to give those running the club a little bit of credit and not just assume the worse. By and large across the last three seasons the club has got most of the big decisions right. The last time we got something badly wrong was the Mowbray Premier League season and that prompted a rethink in our strategy with regard wages which has proved to be correct.

There is no doubt that both Olsson and Odemwingie have played big parts in the teams's success over the last two years however neither is irreplaceable. It is easy to forget that both arrived at the club without great fanfare and for relatively modest fees. 

From a contractual perspective Olsson's situation is the more pressing and if as seems likely he does not sign an extension to his current deal a decision needs to be made sooner rather than latter. It could be argued that keeping him for the last year of his contract might be more worthwhile than any fee we would receive.  Personally I am not sure keeping a player in the last year of his contract is a bit of a risk for both parties and there is a fee maybe around £3m where a deal might be in everyone's best interests.

Odemwingie is a totally different proposition  he is contracted until 2014 so there is no pressing need for the club to sell and therefore can happily rebuff Al-Gharafa's approaches. The question then arises does the player want to leave? It rather depends on how much he likes money. Put simply even if the Qatari's only matched his current wages he would be a lot better off and at the age of 31 a few years tax free earnings might be very welcome. If he really wants a move he will no doubt get it by fair means or foul. Albion can only hold the line for so long and extract the maximum price and with 2 years left on the contract his market worth is now at it's peak.       

If both were to leave replacing them would be a challenge but the funds would be available to do so and replacements might not cost the earth. For instance Rosenburg who we have been linked with on a free transfer has a comparable goal scoring record to Odemwingie before he arrived at the Hawthorns. 

I personally will not be jumping on the "We're Doomed" bandwagon no matter what the outcome is.My only concern is that these saga's drag on through summer and the club bows to the inevitable right at the death leaving no time to get in the necessary replacements but to assume any replacement for either Olsson or Odemwingie will be worse is just being way too pessimistic.  

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