We’ve got £300,000 to spend at Christmas, so what are we going to buy? That’s after we’ve got Manny Smith and Louis Moult on long term contracts and a 6ft 4inch rangy, skilful, hard tackling, midfield wizard of course. Perhaps a pair of slippers each, so we can be cosy during our inexorable rise up the table to promotion.
I’m wildly estimating receipts from playing Stoke combined with other receipts in excess of our budget. The club will be cagey about actual figures, but stick with me whilst I take a look at alternatives. A lot of fans would like the above (perhaps not the slippers)
Put into perspective, £300K is over half our playing budget for the season. It’s an enormous sum of money at this level. It’s very hard to spend that much on players now, because buying lots of players would waste our half-seasons progress and buying a few excellent players would require good contracts, the payment of which may become a burden in hard times.
So what about spending on Louis and Manny? I fear they are both just out of reach. Manny could step into most 1st and all 2nd Division clubs. Louis is a league prospect, and thus worth a bit. They are great players passing through, and it’s good to have them, but I don’t think it’s financial sense to fight to keep either. We would receive compensation for Louis if he left, and I think that’s the best we can hope for.
‘You idiot!!’ a lot of you are now shouting at me. I say; ‘Hold on, I can get more stupid than that’ The desire for a new midfielder is a fallacy, we’ve already got two new midfielders (Carrington and Evans) and with Wilkin we’re going to favour 4-4-2 so there isn’t an urgency for more. My only reservation on this is that we all hope Jay Harris stays fit. You’re now thinking ‘He’s only got the flaming slippers left!’ Well no, I have a different set of Christmas Wishes.
Andy Bishop is not getting younger, but at this level and the one above he is terrific value. My first Christmas pick is to give him an extension. Secondly its Blaine Hudson who I see as the future, at the right price. He’s quick enough and has improved enough for a two year deal. While Robbie Evans is ‘resting’, I’d give him a longer contract to read as well.
I think my plan might leave a little left in the mythical pot, and I think that should stay there for the time being. We may need another midfielder, but apart from that I want to see what this new set-up is capable of. My judgement is that it is capable of having a slightly better 2nd half of the season than the first. If its 10 points better we’ll probably reach the playoffs.
If we look like making the playoffs WIlkin should not be left marooned with no money. Like all new families, sometime we’re really going to have to start planning to secure a home.