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Playing Transfer Poker

I have already admitted in an earlier post that I would never be able to earn a living as a street trader or as a poker player. I can neither bluff nor hold my nerve when negotiating a price for something I desperately want and have the wherewithal to pay for.

So, it`s pointless asking me to say how much I would give for Johnson, Bassong or Mills because our need for central defenders is so great that I would be inclined to pay well over the odds. Perhaps, it`s just as well that the Ms are in charge of finances. As he indicated in an interview earlier today, the chairman certainly stresses the need to curb the inflation in transfer fees. My head tells me he is right (35m for Andy Carroll?) but my heart worries that, as a result, other teams, willing to pay more in fees and/or wages, will snap them up.

I don`t mind top clubs spending huge sums of money for star players because we couldn`t match them, even if we could attract them to the club. The problem lies with the Sunderlands and Newcastles of the PL, who are awash with the cash gained from such deals and who are therefore in a position to outbid us for players, whom we could reasonably expect to sign up.

It`s a fine balance and to succeed one has to have a cool head and a detailed knowledge of the market. Even Mr. Morgan`s stance is not an absolute one ... or, if it is, it is probably unsustainable. On the one hand, he asserts that if the clubs with whom WW are negotiating do not reduce their valuations, he will not complete any deals with them. On the other hand, he admits that he would break the transfer record in order to secure the right players. And, of course, the right players might cost 2m-3m more than that (perhaps far more).

How high is he prepared to go for quality central defenders ... and what about a left back? The board has to consider the fortunes of the club over the course of next season, if we do not acquire solid, reliable players in these positions. To me, it foretells another relegation battle. Surely, management has to factor in the sporting and financial implications of that.

As I write, the game of poker is in full swing. Unfortunately, while Mr. Morgan occupies the moral high ground and is keeping his hand close to his chest, his position is undercut by a knowledge of our fragile defence. Even worse, the clubs, who hold the contracts of sought after players, are aware of our predicament and this gives them an advantage in the business of brinkmanship. It`s a dilemma he has to face.

Perhaps, I would be more optimistic, had management been able to show a better track record over signings. Yes, I am aware of the successes (as well as the flops) but I am focusing here on the ones who got away. I am not asking for the splashing out of silly money - we all want a stable, financially secure club- but merely a bit of flexibility in our rigid approach to transfers. The fate of the club could depend upon it.

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The Journalist

Writer: southbank60 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday June 22 2011

Time: 4:42PM

Your Comments

Flops have only ever been 1-2 million pound signings , the big money moves for Doyle Fletcher and Hunt all worked as im sure O'Hara will , Zubar is a success , Milijas at 2.5 has proved a valuable addition , Mouyokolo cannot be said to be a flop as we aint seen much of him due to injury , Geudioura has been a good buy , VD couldn't settle in the area , I would say the only flops have been the Hoff & Halford who cost a mere 3 million between them , MM tried a big target man and didn't work and if Duisburg had a million pound we would recoup 75% of his transfer fee and im pretty sure we will get 750k - 1 mill for Halford so roughly MM has only lost a million pound on 2 flops , every other signing he made got us out of the championship and i would say 90% of them can now say they are good enough to play in the prem , I mean even Karl Henry who is not our best footballer was linked with Everton so he must be doing something right , All in all i think MM has worked wonders in the transfer market , i think he has if previous season are to go by 13-15 million left to spend , so 8 for Johnson 3 for Mills and your guess is as good as mine for LB , if he could get Bertrand on loan for a season then maybe MM could have 7 million give or take to go and splash out on another experienced centre half instead of Mills , Maybe Dunne or Bassong , Jez said we had deals put in for 2 players and within a week both are here , so no lets see what happens with the defensive signings , Berra has done us a job there for 4 seasons or so so MM knows a centre half to do a job , Zubar shows he knows a full back when he sees one so another of his calibre would be great and it sounds like Bertrand is an attacking player , I have only seen him play for the under 21's so that means nothing really as he doesn't play with those players week in week out , but what i have seen he would be a great asset to have for a year !
I take your point, Oddjob. But, last year, when we really needed to buy quality players to ensure our place in the PL, we bought Mouyokolo, JVD and Maierhofer, who for different reasons have proved to be flops. Fletcher and Hunt ultimately saved us and can be considered sound acquisitions. Yet, for one reason or another, they did not play a full part in the season. In any case, we needed to prioritize a solid, reliable defence and they were not bought for that purpose. To be fair to MM he did try to shore up our leaky defence but for one reason or another JVD and Mouokolo did not improve the situation. But that's not the point of this report. Here, I am concerned with the issue of weighing up the cost of purchasing qualitiy defenders and how well we play the game of transfer poker to obtain them. In this respect, you clearly take a harder line than me (or play a better game of poker) because I would be willing to spend more money than you would to obtain the right players. It's also important to factor in the cost of losing our PL status against the payment of enough money to buy in players who would ensure survival (if only it were that simple).
Everything you say is correct oddjob but the money spent last close season was not wisely spent,Doyle as we all know was signed the year before,even the money spent on Fletcher was looking a waste until Doyle got injured.No doubt about it,Fletcher only got a look in because of that injury so we will never know the outcome if that had not happened?.I think the chairman will be a lot more involved in what is spent and on whom this time around and maybe even other people will have an imput on who joins us.
Crete Wolf
As I read, what Mr. Morgan intends to convey is: I will break the bank all right; only, do not up your valuation of the player just because you know we need him desperately.
So, lovesW, it's still a game of who blinks first? What constitutes a fair price other than what a chairman is prepared to pay to secure the services of a player who will effectively plug a hole in the team? Of course, it partly depends on the number of clubs bidding for a particular person; the degree of desperation each feels; and the amount of cash available to purchase the sought after individual.
Southbank and im not having a pop , but your being a little too faced as no one moaned about the defence after the first season in the prem as we defended superbly for a promoted team with no experience , he kept Mancienne who we all thought had talent and everyone applauded the Mouyokolo signing when it happened and bad luck let it down , The Hoff was never gonna be first choice and the JVD situation is down to a player letting everyone down by signing and then not having the balls to stick it out and make MM look like hes signed a flop ! , I would not mind us paying upto 9 million for a centre half but thats the limit , because every player we have been linked with is knowhere near worth double figures in terms of millions , and i want our club to be financially secure because believe me a lot of clubs the way its going wont be around in 20 years time ! , Crete you trying to say Morgan is another Roman Chelski ????? oooo please hahaha , he has signed very good players in the past and if we sign either Johnson or Bassong do you really think its down to Morgan or Moxey , MM choose his transfer targets not the board , LovesW spot on about Morgan , Southbank we are not Man utd , we cannot afford to pay 15-20 million for a player , Morgan does not mind bidding low and meeting at a reasonable match but no way will he allow Wolves to be hung out to dry on stupid valuations which you sound like you would want Wolves to do to fill a gap , yes we need a centre half but we need a financially sound football club more and i love the fact Morgan will not allow Wolves to get in serious debt just to purchase a player/s
Oddjob, I agree with virtually everything you say, though Crete Wolf has a point about the under-use of Fletcher last year (and I know it's partly due to circumstances: both in and out of the team). With my head I'm with you in your assessment. As I mentioned in my report, I don't want us to pay silly money but feel that we might have to go a little further than expected. I am particularly concerned in this thread to debate the mindset of the 3Ms, the people who really matter, to find out how they are likely to respond to bids and counter-bids in this game of poker ... and how their decisions will affect the outcome.
Looking at NewNow Wolves for the umpteenth time today, I notice an interesting report on comments that the chairman has just made. It's relevant to this thread because he reveals his ambition for WW, challenging the club to become more than PL strugglers. This statement implies that he is willing to back up his opinion with hard cash, though, as lovesW points out, he probably won't be laying out silly sums of money.
As things stand, right now, the squad has not been strengthened from last season, where we spent 95% of it in the relegation zone. The purchase of a decent defender or two is critical, not just to strengthen at the back, but to allow us to play 2 upfront on occasion and put games out of reach so we have less risk of throwing them away in the last minute. We are all more or less saying the same thing on here, not wanting to pay over the odds etc... but if we go into 2011/12 with the same back 4, we WILL be relegated, and that WILL be a step backwards. Perhaps a bit clenching is necessary so we can push on. WE ARE WOLVES !
Ad Mant
Well, that's my argument too, Ad Mant. Indeed, I think we all agree on the need to sign three solid, reliable defenders, capable of operating at PL level (I want to include Mills here). The question I pose in this thread is how high should we go to secure such players. This seems to be the issue which divides us.
The only one I think will come for sure has hardly been mentioned,Merlin likes Richard Dunne and I think he will join us very soon.
Crete Wolf
Southbank, I know that you know that there IS such a thing as a realistic, let us say intrinsic, value of a player, other factors that affect the final price of the deal quite apart. And this is what Mr. Morgan is on about. But,as you say, the realistic may be swept away by these other condiderations. That is what Mr. Morgan is on his guard against, and he is determind not to be made a victim of it. Carrol 35m, for instance. Now that was poker - Newcastle knew Liverpool had just bagged 50m for Torres.
I dont think we would be relegated to be fair , Wigan are going to lose there star player and probably Rodellaga too , Newcastle in my eyes wont be as strong without Nolan and they look to lose players aswell as bringing in a flood of unexperienced players , West Ham and Blues underachieved and on paper at least would be far stronger teams than Norwich and Swansea , QPR will struggle unless they splash the cash and will only sign players that will come for the money , I mean Bothroyd on a free , setting there standards high there aint they hahaha , Bolton look set to lose Sturridge and Cahill aswell as Elmander already gone , and with there start i think Bolton will be down there , all in all the league will be knowhere near as hard as last season , every manager has said it was the hardest premier season ever and we survived it and should have survived a lot easier if it wasn't for all the last minute - 5 minute goals , i think its a definate that we will sign either Johnson or Bassong , Bassong by tomorrow ive heard on Spurs rumour sites , and if we get Konchesky or Bertrand then our back 4 along with Zubar should be a lot stronger and names we would all welcome , Bassong is left footed so maybe Mills too play alongside him if we go for him too, Personally i think Zubar - Mills - Bassong - Bertrand has a hell of a lot of pace as well as power in it , would everyone be happpy with that ? , to think that a back up defence would in my eyes be Stearman - Mouyokolo - Berra - Elokobi , Foley im not sure where he fits anymore and Craddock if Berra does not go and new faces come in will be considered for a coaching role as everyone speask so highly of him , the best thing is the club know where we need to strengthen and we are doing everything to do so , even if it means paying a couple million over the asking price which is fine with me , all in all we are in the prem and i think a good pre season and hopefully injuries aside and the names above signed we should be aiming for mid table :-)
Exactly, lovesW, and I worry that we will be outbid by a club offering silly money (though I wouldn't want us to try to match it). At the moment it looks like we are still playing poker. According to this morning's report in the Express & Star SM and JM are threatening to pull out of the Johnson and Mills deals if Birmingham and Reading respectively do not reduce their valuations. This suggests that they are still playing a unblinking, steely-eyed game.
Oh and Crete I would happily bring in Dunne instead of Mills as we do not have a natural leader in the squad let alone first 11 and a ball winning beast like him with a fast talented Bassong alongside him would be very very good :-)
I am fully with Chairman and CEO in their stance, Soutbank. Let these clubs rip someone else off. These players are replaceable - not so the money of a club who prides itself on sensible management and is highly admired for it by others, the very benchmark about how a club should be run. Steely-eyed, you say. Right.
Oddjob, away with this talk of mid-table. I will be satisfied if all give their all, transfer market, on the field of play - then we can face whatever position we finish in with an easy conscience. I remember before the start of the 09-10 season, just after the new signings were completed, before our first kick in the PL, people were commenting in the E&S that Wolves are the best Midlands team, certainly better than WBA, probably better than AV. Doing our best with what we have available, and with what we can afford for the moment, will be enough for me.
Hey i said IF we sign those players then our 14/15 players are as good as anyone else upto mid table so why not , I would equally be happy if we finish 14th or 15th next season aslong as it is a little more comfortablly than last season haha , and you will never hear me saying we are better than AV , we aren't , they massively under achieved last season with the personnel they have , Are you saying if we sign the names i mentioned i.e with a back 4 of Zubar - Johnson or Mills - Berra or Bassong - Bertrand or Konchesky that Norwich , Swansea , QPR , Stoke , WBA , Bolton , Newcastle , Wigan are better than us ? and i think the likes of Sunderland and Fulham are not that far infront of us either so thats 10 sides we could if all players play to there potential we can finish above , dont for 1 minute presukme i think we automatically deserve a mid table finish , I have said time and time again that if we finish 15th for the next 2 seasons i would be happy aslong as we are playing well and adding to the squad but why not think we can finish mid table , West Brom did it nearly with an average side and a centre forward who banged the goals in , If you take away all the last min goals we could have finished 9 points better off and therefore would have finished mid table , Its possible and if you dont think so then thats your opinion , just a very negative one !
Oh also E&S is the most biased newspaper going , its all Wolves so of course they are going to print stupid comments thinking Wolves are as good as Barca !! , Take any notice of fans comments in that paper then unless for ammusement purposes your as daft as those who send them in and print them !!
But W, what does that amount to? Another relegation battle? Banksy raised a good question, which none of us have been able to properly answer. It is a simple situation really- as far as things stand we have an unreliable, often shoddy collection of defenders. We need three new ones, we have identified the players we want but how badly do we want them. Johnson at 14 million was a joke. Who else is actually trying to buy this player? They soon came down to 10 million because they are desperate for money, hence their silly valuations. I think the club have done the right thing by putting the message across twice in as many days- 'get real' and warning they are ready to pull the plug. I actually believe we will win that particular hand. Of course we have money; Birmingham are in a dire situation and the longer this drags on they are still paying the wages of players they know full well will not be playing for them next season, and are in danger of making nothing on their assets unless they grow up and listen to the music. I imagine we have gone to both Blues and Reading with take it or leave it offers by now. Reading appear in no major rush to sell- Blues simply must. Before all these numbers started flying around my guess would have been that Johnson was worth maybe 7 million and Mills around 3 million, exactly what we have offered. I would go up to maybe 8.5 for Johnson and as much as 4 million for Mills. At the end of the day they are not the only players available and if their clubs want to shoot themslves in the foot then let them do it and lets move on. Bassong for me is as good as, if not better than Johnson and I will not be surprised if he is unveiled as our next signing.
New York City Wolf
So! in conclusion..... the market remains inflated and this is a result of desperate clubs paying absurd amounts of money for various reason. Liverpool to fill a void left by one very good playing leaving- 50 million was absurd, 35 million for Caroll equally so. West Ham and Birmingham each spent a lot of money in transfers and wages in desperation to remain in the Premier League. Not everyone can of course- three teams had to go and I, as did others, repeatedly underlined relegation would stunt our growth by five years easily. If we have to pay a million over the odds for a very good player then bite the bullet and get over it. How much is a season worth in the Prem these days? 60 million? With a wage bill costing less than 40% of our income for the past two years the O'Hara contract has shifted the posts and proven to many we are getting real about this business now. The most interesting thing he said when he signed was 'if we get the players we want......'- the club have obviously shared their targets with him and if a quality act such as O'Hara is nodding appreciatively then there is hope. Whether we get them will show O'Hara, us, the rest of football whether Wolves are prepared to push the boat out a little in order to truly establish ourselves or whether we are going to resign ourselves to yet another struggle. I have great faith and I believe we are going to be very happy Wolves fans within a few days. I can smell a signing.
New York City Wolf
Oh no, Yorkie! Now that you have whetted my appetite, I'll have to access NewNow Wolves every minute for updates. With regard to your previous post, Yorkie, you're clearly a cool, calculating, steel-eyed gambling man.
Shows how mad football has gone when a team gets relegated and there 2 centre backs are rated at 20 million for the 2 hahahaha ! when us and Wigan and West Brom all survived and our 6 centre backs dont come to 20 million !!!
Yup, it's a funny old world, Oddjob, but would you forego the opportunity to sign Johnson and Dann in order to keep Berra and Stearman in the side?
Well we didn't get releagted they did so it just baffles me how people can rate there 2 defenders so highly lol , Its a toughy , Maybe they just played so well because most of Blues midfield was defensive minded and why Blues were so hard to beat but hardly scored any goals oh and Foster had how many man of the match awards ? , quite a few if memory serves me right , I aint seen enough of them really but i cant get my head round the fact 2 relegated defenders can fetch 20 million , they aint Scotty Parker are they ???? and yet he will go for 8 million give or take a mill or 2 and he was voted premier league player of the year !
Birmingham got relegated because they did not score anything like enough goals not because of their defence....
Neither impressed me when Wolves played them this season , I want Bassong or Bougherra or Dunne and Johnson or Mills as back up Purchases but now we are after Johnny Evans , Surely a good signing if we can get him !
Evening all! I have been out all day and the stories and blogs have moved on. Are we really after Evans (if he would come) or is it merely a ploy to concentrate the minds of the Birmingham and Reading CEOs? And have the Ms taken note of Oddjob's paean of praise in support of Bassong?
Oddjob: I am far from being negative in my approach to any matter, quite the contrary - I have often been accused of being too positive, idealist and out of touch with reality, in fact. The distinction to be made is between that and presumption. Now that you expand the point, I see you do not fall in that E&S category of presumptous twits I made reference to. It I rather who have been presumptous, in another sense, consigning you to that category impulsively, and, as it turns out, wrongly. Forgive me for it. Evans now. I see a better chance of concluding something here since he is surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, not so with our targets at Blues and Reading. All this running after Johnson and Mills, run-of-the mill players; solid and valid and worth the chase,but not worth spending more for than what they are worth. The financial stability of the Club must ever stand as top priority. I have prepared myself for the eventuality that no more signings be made. It will not be so, there will be more, for if not an outcry will follow, and were it not for this, I say SM and JM would be quite ready to face the season with what we have got, rather than give in at the negotiating table - an additional year of PL experience and the unlikelihood of a similar long list of injuries accounting for two 'IN' s.
lovesW I guess this shows that bassong is 'young and hungry'
Can sum1 please explain to me why we cannot simply raise a million for mills? I have a feeling he will go to a different premier league club and develop into a solid defender. Please 1 more million. As for johnson , the same applies really , I am sure if we bid 8 million and a player like keogh or another fringe player or even kights on loanfor half the season they wud accept.
That's the point I have been trying to get across in this thread.

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