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Fletch should be kept at all costs

By Tom Bason
August 2 2012

Although not confirmed by the club, the general consensus is that Wolves have rejected a £10 million bid for Steven Fletcher from Sunderland. If the rumours are true, the Wearsiders are set to improve their bid by £2 million, and I suspect that many a Wolves fan will feel that £12 million is too much money for a Championship club to turn down. I'm about to tell you that you're wrong, that Fletcher's value to the club far exceeds any bid that Sunderland will make.

First of all, be aware that I'm writing this on the basis that Fletcher is not actively seeking a move from the club. It's a completely different story if he's going to cause the kind of problems that Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are seeing with Robin van Persie and Luka Modric this summer.

For me, the decision whether or not to sell Fletcher boils down to three simple questions:

 1) Is our primary aim to bounce back into the Premier League?

 2) Does having Steven Fletcher in the team significantly improve our chances of promotion?

 3) Can the club afford to keep Fletcher for one more season, even if the promotion dream isn't realised?

As far as I'm concerned, if the answer to those three questions is yes, he shouldn't be sold. A player of Fletcher's ability is going to make a huge difference to a Championship side. This is a player who scores a goal every three games in the Premier League, and is the highest quality Wolves player I've seen since a young Robbie Keane cartwheeled onto the scene. Even if promotion isn't gained, will his value of dropped that much in 12 months? Yes, he'll have a year less on his contract, but the difference between three and two years remaining is slight.

Look at the prices that are being bandied about for forwards who have never played in the Premier League? Jay Rodriguez moved from Burnley to Southampton this summer for £7 million. Rodriguez scores a goal every 230 minutes in the Championship. Fletcher scores a Premier League goal every 219 minutes. Fletcher scores at a better rate than Rodriguez, in a tougher league, playing for comparatively worse teams, and is somehow only valued £3 million more? That to me is a joke. And don’t bring me onto comparisons with Andy (a Premier League goal every 246 minute) Carroll….

I used the price for Rodriguez to demonstrate the amount it’d cost to replace Fletcher with a player who’s scored goals in the Championship, and has the potential ability to step up to the Premier League. Perhaps Björn Sigurðarson is the replacement? Personally I doubt it, in the short term at least. It’ll be difficult enough making the transition to a new league, before you factor in that he’s already played half a season. Is he still going to be fresh after 30 odd games, with still a third of the season to go? I’d be worried if he was going to be the central figure of our forward line for the season (I’m not writing him off at all, I just expect him to take some time to settle in, and pretty knackered by Easter).

When Manchester United sold Cristiano Ronaldo for £80 million in 2009, I was one of the few who thought it was a bad deal for the Salford club. How could they possibly hope to replace him? There was only one direct replacement, and Leo Messi was as unavailable to Sir Alex as Scarlett Johansson is to me. This isn’t to say that there’s no precedent for clubs selling star men and improving – when Juventus sold Zinedine Zidane to Real Madrid, they effectively replaced him with Gianluigi Buffon, Pavel Nedved and Lilian Thuram, and but for Calciopoli, had one of the most successful spells of the club’s history.

I guess that’s one of the big questions – there are clear positions in the team that need strengthening, left back being the priority. But, it appears that Ståle Solbakken is able to bring players in without the sale of Fletcher, especially as the club turned down £2 million for a player who is likely to be our reserve right back with only 12 months left on his contract (incidentally, I’d have definitely sold Ronald Zubar. Kevin Foley’s a superior player, and we have Matt Doherty coming through and Richard Stearman is more than adequate as cover). If we can afford to turn down £2 million for Zubes, a player who can leave for free in a year’s time, surely there’s no compulsion to sell Fletcher?

Finally, there’s the financial question - £12 million is a lot of money for a Championship club. But it pales into the insignificance to the estimated £90 million that promotion brings (slightly exaggerated, Wolves’ turnover increased £42.371 million in our first season back in the Premier League). But, that figure is only going to get bigger with Sky and BT virtually doubling the domestic TV deal to £1 billion a season. With foreign TV rights doubling with each new deal, the financial gap between the Premier League and the Championship is ever increasing. Hell, £12 million is less than the parachute payments we get this season.

I’ve been having a look through at previous sales by Championship clubs, and there are very few players there that I’d put on the same sort level as Fletcher. The nearest I can see is Darren Bent, who left the newly relegated Charlton for Tottenham Hotspur for £16.5 million. Now, adjusting for normal inflation, that’s around £19 million in today’s money. If you adjust for football inflation, it’s a hell of a lot more. Assuming Fletcher is happy to stay for a season to see if we can bounce back, I’d want at least what Spurs paid for Bent, and even then I’d have to think twice.

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Fletch should be kept at all costs
Wolves (IP Logged)
02/08/2012 10:57
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2012:08:22:09:17:26 by toomb.

Re: Fletch should be kept at all costs
Mills Wolf (IP Logged)
02/08/2012 13:28
Absolutly spot on mate !


Why sell a proven goal scorer who can cut it in the prem when thats where were trying to get back to ?

Lets say we sell him, if Stale does well with the money he might buy 2-3 quality players for that which improve the team, but this is not saying were going to find a natuaral goal scorer in them signings.

Worst case scenario is we sell him and buy dross with it that bomb, the risks just arent worth taking imo too.

It might be different if doyle's goal scoring record of recent years would have been better, but to bank on him, a player with potential but not proven in english football (bjorn sig) and a player that fired us up there in the first place but has lost his mojo and looks lazy at timeS and very unfit (SEcool smiley is promotion suicide.

There's nothing to say that any of the above players wont start banging them in this season, as there all capable of it in this league, only that the difference is in Fletcher we know he'll score at this level and proberly be top goal scorer in the league.

Okay if he wants to go, tell him we'll let him go in Jan once he has put us in good stead for the return, and offer him a big bonus based on goals, he might even be valued even higher once he's smashed golas in till xmass and get a move to a top 6 club !

Re: Fletch should be kept at all costs
ernesto hunt (IP Logged)
02/08/2012 13:36
All of your analysis ignores the major component of last seasons debacle - the magement team above the team manager!

We know very little of their real intentions. Does the 'management plan' contain the intent for immediate return to the Prem? Does it contain the intent to finish the ground development?

I use the collective 'their' because the club is run by a 'Board' and a CEO and the team manager is not one of that collective.

We know only that Prem staus last season was sacrificed for the club to publish a 'profit' - but at what long tern cost? Was it just a piece of useless 'management' or was it intentional? Time will tell.

For me our position last season was caused more by low morale than inability. This season, with the same squad of players available - includig the likes of Fletcher - we are more than capable of storming back into the Prem!

But is that our intention? I have read only words - and after the performance's of Gibson and Moxey and ,for me, that is not enough.

Re: Fletch should be kept at all costs
Arthur Tannen (IP Logged)
03/08/2012 16:23
I believe he's available for transfer, the £10m fee talked about hasn't been plucked out of no where, that's been the price in the majority of rumours. I think Moxey will accept £12m, which would be a paltry profit of £5m on a player who's consistently scored goals in 2 relegated teams and hardly the out of this world offer the club claim it would take to buy him. Moxey will hail it as great business - the biggest fee received in our history blah blah and then fans will begin to praise Moxey for negotiating such a great fee after reading "£10m rated striker" all summer.

I fully agree with your post though Tom, he should be kept at all cost but once again the club will think short term and be mesmerised by the £12m fee. When they should be thinking Fletcher's goals could be the difference between a top 2 finish and the play-offs or missing out on the play-offs all together. If we get back we will need a goalscorer and they don't come cheap so why not hang onto the one you already know can score goals in the top flight.

Re: Fletch should be kept at all costs
Cheshire wolf (IP Logged)
03/08/2012 18:56
Have to agree with you AT. It would be good to think that the decision will lie with Ståle if he wants to keep him or not, but that is perhaps a bit immature on my part to think it could happen!!

Re: Fletch should be kept at all costs
a3nca (IP Logged)
03/08/2012 19:38
I fully agree but the problem that we have now is that we are in a situation where we cannot and do not believe what the 'Management' team tell us.

We still don't know if Fletcher cost us 6.5 million or 7 million. There is also speculation that the sell-on clause in Fletcher's contract mean that Burnley are due 15% of anything over the original purchase price further bringing down the 'out-of-this-world' offer that we suspect will be accepted.

Hopefully, we do hang onto him as I think he is a quality player and with a better supply could score a shed load more goals.

I also agree about the pricing strategy. I've read on sites that he's not worth 12m but then let's look at Chelsea who paid 50m for Torres. Now in terms of value for money, Wolves definitley got the much much better deal here and so you have to say, if Torres is worth 50m then even 12m for Fletcher is an underestimation.

Re: Fletch should be kept at all costs
Risca TM (IP Logged)
04/08/2012 08:49
and Leo Messi was as unavailable to Sir Alex as Scarlett Johansson is to me.

You never know till you try...

I agree about keeping Fletch, but I can't see the M/M Management combo having the (b)alls to do it if there's cash on the table.

The first big test of the club's leadership since the McCarthy & Connor farce after bringing Stale in, not just in terms of selling Fletch or not, but also in terms of how they will spin it to the fans if he is sold.

Re: Fletch should be kept at all costs
toomb (IP Logged)
04/08/2012 11:11
Risca TM
and Leo Messi was as unavailable to Sir Alex as Scarlett Johansson is to me.

You never know till you try...

As soon as I manage to get rid of that bloody restraining order, I'll try again

toomb's twitter

Re: Fletch should be kept at all costs
Risca TM (IP Logged)
04/08/2012 12:02
Risca TM
and Leo Messi was as unavailable to Sir Alex as Scarlett Johansson is to me.

You never know till you try...

As soon as I manage to get rid of that bloody restraining order, I'll try again

Arf Arf! Nice one!

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