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Nouble In, Fletch Out?


By Tom Bason
June 22 2012

Over the past few seasons, there have been a number of, ahem, questionable signings. Players who make you scratch your head and think “why the hell have we signed him?”

Well, dare I say that we have the first of the Ståle Solbakken era, with the arrival of Frank Nouble? Those of you who know my love of Kevin Doyle will appreciate that I don’t think goalscoring record should be the only thing a striker should be based on, but Nouble has scored just 8 in a career taking in spells at West Brom, Swansea, Gillingham, Charlton, Barnsley and Swindon. If I was to break his goalscoring record (sic) down, I’d note that of those eight, five came this season for Gillingham in League Two, in addition to the one scored as West Ham won promotion, one as Barnsley narrowly avoided relegation in addition to one scored for Charlton in League One last season.

I had no idea of these stats until this morning, but my instant reaction to the rumour of the signing yesterday was “If this is true, it'll possibly be the single most depressing moment I'll ever have known as a Wolves fan”. It is very rare that I am pleased when anyone signs for West Brom, but I was chuffed to bits when Roberto Di Mateo signed him on loan in 2009/10, going on make three starts, playing a total of 221 minutes.

But, since Solbakken was appointed, I’ve hardly been able to contain my excitement for next season. Gone are the days when I was still footballed-out by the time the first game of the new season came around; I’m actually really looking forward to next season. Maybe this is just because I’m in Euros mode at the moment, but I can’t wait for the first day of the new season (even if I won’t be going because of Ken Bates’ ridiculous ticket prices). And so, I’m going to take some of this optimism, and have faith in the signing of Nouble, because I have faith in Solbakken.

But this leads to another question; who has decided that Nouble will be a good signing? The official site quotes Solbakken as saying “Frank is a player that our scouts have been watching”. ‘Our scouts’. Now, I have nothing against our scouting team coming up with players, and they’ve picked up one or two gems from the lower leagues over the past 6 seasons, but Nouble clearly isn’t a player that Solbakken will have seen a huge amount of. I doubt a Bundesliga manager spends a huge amount of time watching the English Football League, where Nouble has spent much of his career.

But, there is also a second question. On our books, we currently have Steven Fletcher, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Sam Vokes, Sam Winnall, Leigh Griffiths, Kevin Doyle and Jake Cassidy as strikers, plus the impending arrival of Björn Bergmann Sigurðason. However you look at it, that’s a lot of strikers. How many do we need? I would guess that Nouble has been bought in as fourth choice striker – there’s not a lot of point signing a fifth choice striker who rarely gets used, Vokes or Griffiths could easily fill this role. This suggests to me that one of the big boys will soon be moving out, with Tim Nash on Twitter last night suggesting that it will be Fletcher on the way out.

Now, even the most ardent Wolves fan must have seen this coming, but I was still holding out hope that he’d give us one season in the Championship. Remember, he’s under contract until 2014, with the club having the option of an extra year, so there is no immediate rush to sell. I guess I was delusional, but he would have been a hero had he dropped a division with us and smacked 25 goals next season; he would have been revered in a way no striker has been since Steve Bull. But, any hope I have of seeing Fletch in a competitive Wolves shirt again is slowly dwindling away. But, as I said before, Ståle Solbakken has my complete trust at the moment, and if he believes Nouble will be a “useful addition to the squad”, then who am I to argue?

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Nouble In, Fletch Out?
Wolves (IP Logged)
22/06/2012 10:36
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2012:07:03:13:54:01 by toomb.

 
Re: Nouble In, Fletch Out?
Wirral Wolf (IP Logged)
22/06/2012 12:04
I am not sure that we should question the signing of Nouble. I appreciate that he does not have a proven goals to games ratio - but if he had then I do not think that West Ham would be letting him go on a free transfer.

He is a big, young striker who has represented England at U17 & U19 level, and came through the Chelsea youth set-up.

And apparently he is fast! One of the things that everyone has criticised Wolves about is lack of pace - so maybe that was a factor. Also, Wolves have missed having a big striker to aim at since Chris Iwelumo left.

Certainly the manager will know the profile of players that he is looking for, even if he has not had the chance to study them in detail.

My reading is that Wolves see his signing as "worth a punt" - hence a two-year contract. If he turns out to be a gem then Wolves extend the contract, if he turns out to be a flop then Wolves sell him on next Summer for a nominal sum.

It's a win-win for the club and the player - no cost to the club and the chance for the player to show he can cut the mustard.

Who will he replace? I do not think that he is being signed to replace Fletcher - you don't do that with a two-year contract. With the signing of the Scandinavian and Nouble I think that SEB, Vokes and Griffiths will go. I do not want SEB to go - as we all know he can score goals in the Championship - but I understand that he has one more year left on his contract. Therefore the club either sell him or extend his contract. If we return to the Premiership at the first time of asking (as we all hope) - or worst case after 2 years - then how old will SEB be and can we see him scoring regularly in the Premiership at that stage of his career?

Interesting times!

 
Re: Nouble In, Fletch Out?
Mills Wolf (IP Logged)
22/06/2012 12:51
"Now, even the most ardent Wolves fan must have seen this coming, but I was still holding out hope that he’d give us one season in the Championship. Remember, he’s under contract until 2014, with the club having the option of an extra year, so there is no immediate rush to sell. I guess I was delusional, but he would have been a hero had he dropped a division with us and smacked 25 goals next season; he would have been revered in a way no striker has been since Steve Bull."

Speaking of the messiah himself, Steve Bull, he was another strong striker with a poor strike rate that albion decided he wasnt good enough for them.... so lets hope Nouble follows in his foot steps !

GOOD LUCK KID, IN STALE WE TRUST smiling smiley

 
Re: Nouble In, Fletch Out?
wolverina (IP Logged)
23/06/2012 15:29
Well, SEB is 26 now - I suppose he'll be too old by 2014!!

 
Re: Nouble In, Fletch Out?
halesowen wolf (IP Logged)
23/06/2012 23:41
The heading is very misleading. I saw it & thought Fletch had been sold.



http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h190/Dazzab73/801442ff-f5ee-4126-a5e5-1a7c5200d195_zps8173e75d.jpg

 
Re: Nouble In, Fletch Out?
wolverina (IP Logged)
24/06/2012 09:55
Well, to be fair, there is a ? at the end - so it's merely speculative. We'll have to wait and see.

 
Re: Nouble In, Fletch Out?
A Happy Wolf (IP Logged)
24/06/2012 11:11
Personally I don't see any correlation between our top player and taking a punt on a freeby squad player. More likely Nouble to replace Vokes, who we can hopefully cash in for a few quid & a sell on clause.

 
Re: Nouble In, Fletch Out?
Stourport Wolf (IP Logged)
03/07/2012 10:40
I would agree that with 2 strikers signed by Wolves is a strong sign that Fletch will be moving on. Its extremely unlikely that Fletch would be prepared to drop a division anyway after 3 good seasons playing for relegation fodder. If he can move to a mid table side with a better supply line his next move could easily be to one of the top 6 clubs so its unrealistic to expect him to give us a season.

Its also right to question who at Wolves sanctioned the signing of Nouble as it just looks like a cheapo signing of a player who showed some promise at youth level but has failed to make any impact so far at senior level. Has this cheapo signing been foisted on Solbakken by Moxey/Morgan? If so then I think it is right to be worried.

Personally I think it would be madness to sell SEB with his record at championship level. I'd be pretty happy with Siggurdarson, SEB and Doyle to spearhead our championship strike force but I'm not convinced Nouble should be the 4th choice striker ..... think I would prefer Vokes TBH.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2012:07:03:10:41:12 by Stourport Wolf.

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