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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Antonio - Is the Price Right?

There’s a lot of debate at the moment about what best to do with Michail Antonio. I think most fans can’t deny the impact that he had last night, a stand out player in a dour boring season. In all reality there is no way we should even entertain selling such a player, with his returns last season.

And yet, he is an enigma. In a game where things aren’t going well, he is a hindrance. This is the Antonio Wednesday fans told us and about and remember. The player who drifted in and out games and although talented, could be a problem. For Forest, those games were a rarity, maybe we got the best out of him using him differently, maybe he just fitted better at Forest, or maybe, it’s still there, a ghost in his locked that if his form dipped, we’d suddenly see what Wednesday fans said (I live in Sheffield, trust me on what they say)

Being offered potentially 4X what we paid for a player a year ago represents financial sense. After all that’s a huge mark up in a relatively short time. That money could be used to help balance to difference that exists in Financial Fair Play, and we will never probably get such a good offer for a player that’s got a slightly mercurial nature. Selling surely makes sense. That’s what so many suggest online.

However, it isn’t that straight forward. For one any sum can’t be reinvested. So it’s churlish to mention the fee. It might as well be £20mill because until the accounts are next published we can’t spend anyway. The likelihood is the next round of finances will be as bad if not worse. There's no way on the embargo restrictions we could get a player even remotely as good as Antonio, so why sell? The problems we have aren’t a lack of cash so we don’t feel forced to sell. And the money received wouldn’t do enough to correct the FFP restrictions. We aren’t a motivated seller.

But this debate rages on, because we know the deal to sell could represent good value, there’s no way as good as Antonio is he worth the fees being bandied around. So we’d be foolish to accept the figures. If this was normal circumstances, I think most people could almost accept selling him to reinvest in 2-3 better players. But without that ability it’s a pointless debate.

Unless of course Antonio wants to go. There has been little or no suggesting so far he does. But the fact remains, when Camp had his head turned, performances dropped. We already know Antonio from Wednesday Antonio does has fluctuating form. We know ourselves that on a bad day you might as well not bother (how often did he used to get taken off at half time in the first 2 months) so could we then be left with an asset that we could have sold for more, but kept hold of and decreases in value? Well again, it’s pointless that figure if sold is immaterial for now.

They way to drop the deficit isn’t a fire sale of our best players. It’s selling high earners not doing their job. Getting rid of for instance will save us reduce the annual outgoings by circa £1.5million, a quarter of what we’d get for a key player. Halford, Collins and Harding’s departure will have saved us a nice sum too. Coupled with the fact that FFP is calculated not by overall sums but by looking at the whole financial package, it’s the likes of Abdoun and Majewski we need to trim off the wage bill, rather that single high figure sums. This is the way to a balanced balance sheet. Reducing the hugely skewed wage bill, with a balance of younger players. It won’t help having ex managers on that bill either so Fawaz could do well to be less trigger happy. The cost of offloading McLeish and Davies must have been as much if not more than a number of player sales could achieve.

Antonio could get badly injured early on, and we then the fans would say ‘knew we should have sold’ but that’s football. Do those same fans feel we should have sold Cohen when clubs were apparently sniffing around?

There is little footballing or financial sense right now in selling Antonio, other than to line Fawaz pockets. That is unless the player tells the club he wants to be able to speak to interested parties. That is the only time we should even consider it, and even then, just tell him give it a year.

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