With rumours surrounding several of our key players departing our ever increasing it seems time to finally talk about this speculation. Personally I believe that SISU will lose more than they’ll gain by selling any of our best players and I cannot imagine them risking the fan backlash that would occur with key player sales given the move to Northampton and the slow rise of positivity around the club. If you haven’t heard apparantly Carl Baker has been training with Sheffield United, which I’ll believe when I see to be honest. Additionally Leon Clarke has been linked to several clubs which appear to be people trying to put 2 and 2 together with the recent administration making outside observers feel as if there is a dire need to sell players (which there may or may not be but the evidence thus far suggests there isn’t). Finally Callum Wilson has been linked with Sheffield United, mainly because Lee Carsley watched the Preston match (along with a number of other league managers such as Karl Robinson and Graham Westley which no-one has seemed to included in these reports) and Cyrus Christie is being linked with Blackburn and Ipswich (which looks the most credible rumour in all honesty).
My opinion is that the club won’t be selling these players. I think its SISU’s prerogative to keep the club’s best players around in order to maintain the momentum of the start of the season and attract some floating fans back to the club. The rumours are largely down to outside sources looking in on the club’s situation and thinking ‘wow these guys can’t pay their rent they can’t have any money their players are going to be cheap.’ Personally I think that misinterprets the situation at the club, SISU didn’t pay the rent because they didn’t want to not because they couldn’t, their actions in signing players and appointing managers implied that they were willing to invest in the club and make it a success but used bullying tactics to try and purchase a stake in the Ricoh Arena and failed in that regard. SISU’s are in a PR battle with ACL over the support of Coventry City fans, selling key players helps ACL’s PR more than SISU’s and gives the impression to fans that the club is a sinking ship away from the Ricoh.
I’m not saying that SISU won’t sell players but I don’t think they’re going to be giving them away as some outsiders seem to expect. The notion that our club is allowing its captain to train with another club is frankly ridiculous and something I find hard to believe. This attitude that Coventry are planning a fire sale is apparant from the open comments in the media, such as Brian Laws’s comments on Leon Clarke and the BBC story linking Clarke with Swindon. The mooted 8k a week wages for Leon Clarke are also I believe wide of the mark. Had we 8k a week to give Leon Clarke back in December we probably would have been able to bring McGoldrick in instead. This is all speculation on my part but I don’t believe that there’ll be a fire sale (but I will be happy to see September 3rd arrive with no-one outside the bomb squad leaving).
On the flip side there have also been rumours linking the Sky Blues with a couple of new players, both seem slightly strange but I’ll comment on them anyway to talk about something positive on the transfer front. The first player is Nouha Dicko, the second is Leon Best (stay with me here).
Nouha Dicko is a player who I would describe as most comfortable on the right of a three pronged attack. I would say also that he’s slightly more comfortable as a striker than a winger should we be looking to fit him into a 4-4-2 formation. He’s a fast player and his best spell of his career came with Blackpool a few seasons ago where he and fellow Wigan striker Callum McManaman formed a deadly attacking trident with whoever Blackpool played through the middle (which was down to Ian Holloway’s rotation policy). Perhaps a player who should be looking to play in the Championship and would see League One as a step down but perhaps would welcome the opportunity to play regular first team football and prove his ability.
If you’re trying to put 2 and 2 together and figure out which of our first-teamers he would replace then I’d suppose it would be between Callum Wilson and Carl Baker. Pressley has talked about wanting to add pace to the side, Dicko would certainly provide that and be a useful addition to the squad. However he would surely demand first-team football in the third-tier so one of the two outlined would have to make way to make this move feasible. Perhaps a non-starter but would suggest ambition from the owners were it to happen without sacrificing a key player in order for it to happen.
The other player we’ve been linked with is Leon Best. Yeah, that’s right it’s Leon Best the guy who used to play for us. Leon Best, the guy who was booed for half his time at the club. Leon Best, the man on supposedly £25k a week. That guy.
Where’s the credibility in this story. Probably not a lot but with Blackburn trying a different approach in the transfer market it is perhaps feasible, in that Blackburn may be looking to sell. But first why wouldn’t any other Championship side look at Best and take a punt, perhaps hoping that he’ll accept a lower wage in order to play first team football. Secondly how on earth could Coventry provide anything approaching Best’s wage demands (perhaps selling Leon Clarke and offering some interesting incentives to Best). Finally where in the team does Best fit, Wilson and Leon Clarke are in top form, Manset is providing effective back-up, perhaps you could see Wilson being put on the wing and Best and Clarke pairing up up front but it would reduce the mobility of our front line which has been key so far. For so many reasons this transfer is ridiculous.