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Sell to buy, will we have a choice?

By Kieran Fitzgerald :  29/03/2009 :  Comments (47) :
The last two summer transfer windows for us last have been horrible. A lot of reasons have been stated for this, most of them true. There's no money until the TV cash comes through almost at the end of the window has been one. The club has dithered until the very last minute before doing anything is another. My own personal favourite is the club chasing players that have absolutely no interest in coming to the club. Seriously folks, Over how many windows have we courted Moutinho? The guy has no interest, leave it alone.

This summer, you would hope that we will have learned our lessons and that we will at least try get things done at the start of the window. Much has been written on the website recently that given our limited resources, hidden gems, diamonds in the rough and players leaving relegated clubs at knock down prices are our best option. Much has also been written recently of our lack of a strength in depth squad and that certainly one big summer signing just isn't good enough this summer. All of this is true. That is what needs to be done.

The problem is though, to get the job done as we need to, when we need to, means having money at the start of the transfer window. And if he is to do this, David Moyes is going to have to sell players to raise the cash. There is just no other way he can gain access to funds without having to wait for the TV money which, as stated above, apparently only comes through towards the end of the window.

Unfortunately, given our current squad, selling players well mean selling our best players as there are no fringe players left that would raise sufficient funds. Not much of a choice for the manager; try to do things properly may mean selling his best players. Waiting until he has money means getting the same as we have for the last two years.

When you look at what would be regarded as our best players, Yakubu and Arteta won't be match fit and presentable until at least the start of September. This doesn't make them very attractive to clubs. The pressure is off with these two, you would think, for now. This leaves us with Jagielka and Lescott. To sell one or both would mean breaking up one of the best centre-half pairings in the Premier League. Also, you now have to factor in trying to replace them at the same time using the money from their sale to add extra players to your squad numbers.

My fear with selling our star players, though, is not how to do it in the most productive way possible but that we may not get a choice but to sell. Take Jagielka and Lescott for example. Both players were sat on the bench yesterday looking at players on the pitch who they are the equal of in every way except that their current club is either not fashionable enough or because they are being punished for not playing in the Champion's League. If Lescott walks into David Moyes's office in the morning and says, "My agent just rang me. Those paper reports about Arsenal are true, I want to chase that up," would you be surprised?

Lescott has been with the club for I think four full seasons. He has given a lot to the club and has really established himself. At this stage, he has to be thinking about how much further things will go for him with Everton. Jagielka may also be starting to think about what he has to do to gain the recognition his performances this season have merited. Football can be merciless and I think there will be only too many clubs and agents willing to exploit these two players situation.

To me, I think that this summer will make or break this current squad. What ever happens, I just hope it doesn't mean having to make those hard choices.

Reader Comments

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John Martin
1   Posted 29/03/2009 at 16:17:21

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I would hardly call Matthew Upson at West Ham a more glamorous club than ours. The constant picking of Stewart Downing from Middlesboro proves that players at any club will get a chance for England under Capello.

While all of us at Everton know Lescott & Jagielka are better than Upson, Capello will pick a player based on what has happened for England. Lescott looked nervous when he has played and Jags had played really well up until his blunder cost us the 1st goal v Spain. Upson on the other hand has been steady so is favoured by Capello. That's the only reason Jags & Lescott are behind him in the pecking order.

Pete Clark
2   Posted 29/03/2009 at 16:28:25

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I don?t know about breaking up the central defense partnership because as I see it, Yobo will be the one to go and maybe at a decent price. We also have cover in that area as Jack Rodwell is being groomed for that role albeit getting his playing experience in midfield.

If we can get Arteta, Yak and Vaughan back for the start of next season then that will be like new signings and a tough midfielder to come in on one of Moyes bargains. Where from, I don?t know but that's what I am hoping for.

Mike Oates
3   Posted 29/03/2009 at 16:54:22

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The sole reason Upson is ahead is that, as John has said, Upson has delivered at this level whilst Jags and Lescott haven?t fully given Capello the belief he requires.

Neither of our lads pass the ball better than Upson. He is cool on the ball and on a number of occasions last night made good 20- to 30-yd incisive on-the-deck passes to his midfield men ? something Jags and Lescott don?t really do well.

I agree with Peter that Yobo is our most saleable asset. The other choice (if the Russian stories are true) is to sell Pienaar and maybe both to get the cash to get our Arteta No 2. But we will still need a good winger, particularly if Pienaar leaves.
Sean Patton
4   Posted 29/03/2009 at 17:32:56

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I wouldn?t go as far to say that Moutinho does not want to come here. All the quotes I have read attributed to him have been complimentary towards us. This summer could be different with regards to signing him as his contract expires next year and apparently he wil not sign a new one.

Now, if this is true, it puts us in the driving seat ? unlike last time, during Euro 2008 and Sporting Lisbon ridgidly stuck to their asking price.

12 months later and they will have to accept a much lower bid or risk losing him for nothing in 2010, not forgetting that he can pen a pre-contract agreement in January.

Providing that Moyes is still interested, then he could well be on his way here for less than £10 million.

My, how the worm has turned...
Andy Morden
5   Posted 29/03/2009 at 17:39:45

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In some ways Kieran raises some telling points. However, the one thing I think he misses in his analysis is "Where did the TV money from last season go?". If we were waiting on TV money last season to get players, why didn?t we spend it?

The Fellaini money was arguably made available from AJ. If you follow the argument that we waited to spend the TV money but seemingly didn?t, then we should have funds for the start of next season. Bet we mysteriously won?t though. I would be very surprised if we swooped early.

So yes, selling someone looks the option. I sincerely hope not, unless we can get £15 million of Leon Osman!

Jason Broome
6   Posted 29/03/2009 at 17:58:53

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Good article Kieran.

Breaks my heart to lose Yobo but I have a feeling you could be right.

Would rather we sold Anichebe and Osman for £6M though!
Oliver Molloy
7   Posted 29/03/2009 at 18:42:44

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Absolute rubbish for anyone to think that ANY player will leave this team without it being the choice of the manager, and I for one will back D Moyes 100% if he chooses to sell a player no matter who they are. I do not believe for one second that any of our current squad would want to leave a club that is making very steady progress under the a very good and shrewd young manager.

These players know that Moyes is a winner, and the players that everyone has mentioned owe him! Moyes is known for his straight talk and honesty when speaking to possible new signings and the likes of Lescott, Jags, Cahill and the rest have all blossomed under him. Oh and by the way, I also believe we will sign Moutinho if Moyes wants him for next season! Thank god you're not running EFC Kieran!

Billy Bradshaw
8   Posted 29/03/2009 at 21:35:57

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The TV money from last summer is being spent on Desperation Kirkby; consultant's dont come cheap.
Peter Bradshaw
9   Posted 29/03/2009 at 23:35:56

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Silly comments, Oliver, when the bid from City for between £15 and 20 million comes in for Lescott, do you actually believe Moyes will turn that down? He has Yobo and Rodwell as cover, he can buy Montinho and M?Bia with the money, therefore not as rubbish as you thought.
Dick Fearon
10   Posted 29/03/2009 at 23:47:07

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I would have no qualms about losing the following: Top of the list is AvdM... followed in no particular order by Turner, Valente, Osman, Castillo, Kissock, Anichebe.

If getting rid of that little lot did not raise a cracker in transfer fees it would at least more scope to pay the wages of better players.

Tim Lowe
11   Posted 30/03/2009 at 00:15:23

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Dick - Vdm and Valente are out of contract and Castillo is on loan. Kissock and Turner won't command much of a fee and we?d be lucky to get £5mil for Vic and Ossie. £5million ain't gonna get you much to replace these players unless Moyes can unearth some gems from the lower leagues again. Think we missed the boat on that Ben Watson at Wigan, he looks a snip at £1.5 mil

As for the wage bill, I can't see that getting rid of those players is going to enable us to pay £60k a week or more for better players.
Dave Wilson
12   Posted 30/03/2009 at 06:54:20

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Slightly off topic.
Has anyone had the chance to see Femi Orenuga yet? I was delighted when I heard he was signing, if only because he was wanted by so many other clubs, but I haven't seen a junior game at all this season and haven?t heard anything.
Rick Cole
13   Posted 30/03/2009 at 06:59:47

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is Fellaini still under warrenty??
Howard Don
14   Posted 30/03/2009 at 07:35:15

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Food for thought, Kieran, though I?m not sure I agree with the logic of having to wait for the TV money at the end of the window. That money is a definite and, even in these straitened times, you could probably borrow short-term against that if necessary. Also no big deal these days involves immediate handover of the fee ? stage payments are now usually the norm.
Richard Parker
15   Posted 30/03/2009 at 07:10:20

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If Moyes must sell to buy then Yobo should be the one to go, he’s coming up to the age where his value will start to decline and he should command a fair transfer fee.

If Man City are interested in any of our players and offer silly money, then I would be prepared to let them go. I don’t think any of our lads are irreplaceable, with the possible exception of Yakubu. The only caveat to that statement is that Moyes must have a replacement before selling.

The other possibility is that AJ and McFadden paid for the Fellaini fee and we are now ahead of the game, in that the TV money from last year is now available for transfers this year. But somehow I doubt it.

I would be sorry to see Jags, Lescott or Arteta go, but if we are offered silly money, then needs must.
Jip Foster
16   Posted 30/03/2009 at 08:55:56

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If it’s a choice of selling our best players at the start or waiting until the end of the window, then I think I’d prefer to go through the hell of waiting until 31st August. Our best players are just too important. we need to build the squad size. Besides, it could have a bad effect on team spirit.
Steve Carter
17   Posted 30/03/2009 at 08:58:42

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I guess you?re right in the sense of the truism ?everybody?s replaceable?, Richard, but for mine Tim Cahill is neigh on irreplaceable. Who out there would (a) be available for the money we?d have in the event of a sale of Tim and (b) be at least as effective as Tim?

The Times On Line rated Tim 49 in Everton?s 50 greatest players. A manifestly inadequate assessment in my opinion (FFS they rated the likes of Cottee (38), Heath (30) and Gray (27) above him). I?ll stand to be corrected, but I?d be surprised if any player from any club has scored more goals against ?Sky 4? opposition than Tim in the time that he?s been with us. Not counting penalties, his scoring record is better than Gerrard?s. (Etc.)

Paul Formby
18   Posted 30/03/2009 at 09:41:40

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Put your house on Moutinho coming to the blues in the summer. That has come from a good source.
James Boden
19   Posted 30/03/2009 at 10:01:18

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I for one cannot see the point in selling our main assets. Who exactly is going to replace them?

Selling Yobo may be an option as he has been usurped by Jagielka and Lescott and if need be Neville and Rodwell could be back up. But I don?t think we should be selling anybody. Who are we going to bring in exactly? May as well keep hold of VdM, Valente and Castillo for the moment. Unless Moyes plans on gambling with kids I can?t see the thought behind binning them lot.

And one final thing: Why is everyone so convinced we are going to sign Moutinho when we haven?t a pot to piss in??? I for one would rather have Manny Fernandes and we would probably be able to get him on an eighth of what Moutinho would cost.

Gary Hegarty
20   Posted 30/03/2009 at 10:02:45

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Another uplifting topic for a Monday morning. I?ve just got my ticket for the semi-final and I?m considering sending it back as there seems to be no point even trying as we won?t have any players next season will we????

Pessimism seems to rule supreme at this stage of the season ? every year!!! Why can?t we just look forward to what?s left of this season and see where it takes us???

For the record, the profit of finishing 5th last season will come through from Sky / Barclays this summer and will no doubt fund some moves. I also understand that Moutinho will be the big arrival in the summer.

One final point, it was clear from Moyes?s dicking about at the start of the season that things were not too well shaped but by the sheer fact he signed up and is making quite positive noises about the future of his squad should mean something. If he was questioning the validity of staying last year with minimal funds, why sign up again for the same???

Whatever way you look at it, what will be will be and I for one would rather be a follower of Everton than Man City at this time ? despite the billions!!!
Dan Phillips
21   Posted 30/03/2009 at 10:42:22

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To those who seem certain that Moutinho is a done deal, how are you so certain? And if you are that informed who else is coming in?
Richard Parker
22   Posted 30/03/2009 at 11:24:18

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Steve, fair point about Cahill and I don?t think would could replace him like-for-like, the question would be can we replace him with a player who offers something different... maybe a winger, maybe a playmaker, maybe a defensive midfielder to allow Arteta more freedom up the pitch... Fair shout though ? it wouldn?t be easy.

I only singled out Yakubu, as a maybe, because a striker who scores as regularly as him with players like ours around him are like rocking horse droppings and would cost. Cahill would be in the same bracket.
Joe McMahon
23   Posted 30/03/2009 at 12:03:00

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Will people please STOP talking about signing Moutinho until he is actually here. We were signing Arshavin.... ring any bells?

How will this summer be any different than the last?
Nick Wall
24   Posted 30/03/2009 at 12:49:49

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I don’t think Yobo is going anywhere. It sounds as if he’s close to agreeing a new contract. In any case I don’t see that we’d get a massive amount of money from selling a defender of his age.

The report yesterday said that Lescott is Wenger’s no 1 target. If Wenger shows his willingness to make a serious offer, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Lescott went. Moyes will try his utmost to keep Lescott, but if the lad decides he wants to go, and the price is right, it will be hard for Everton to say no.
Michael Williams
25   Posted 30/03/2009 at 10:19:06

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This article makes no sense to me. Your whole point is in order for us to have cash to spend at the beginning of the transfer window we need to sell. How can we sell players before the window opens to have the money there? Everton never seem to try to get deals going before the window opens and that doesn't matter if we are buying or selling.

And what would the point being selling Jags, Lescott or Arteta and then just buying someone else unproven at the club with the money? Plus if you're selling two to buy one then the squad numbers go down instead of going up.

We have a very decent first 11 if all our players are fit apart from maybe needing to replace Osman with someone who has that little bit of class. Our problem lies after the first 11 when we have to play the likes of Castillo who just looks lost. We need to add to the squad not gamble on selling our best players in order to buy.

Moyes in my opinion can't spend the big money anyway you only have to look at Beattie, AJ and Fellaini who cost a packet compared to when DM hasn't got cash he has to go buy "cheaper" options like Cahill, Arteta, Lescott, Jags and Nigel Martyn ? who all cost under £5 million each.

Alan Kirwin
26   Posted 30/03/2009 at 13:22:08

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Reasonable enough article overall Kieran, but suggest you check your facts on one or two sweeping conclusions.

Moutinho for example, "Over how many windows have we courted Moutinho? The guy has no interest, leave it alone."

Your assumption, as that is what it is, contradicts reports both in Uk and Portugal where Moutinho has openly expressed his interest and pleasure in Everton’s interest. The only reason he hasn’t arrived yet is because a) he more or less holds their team together and they’d be lost without him, and b) unlike the majority of senior clubs in Europe, Sporting appeared to want all or most of the money immediately (which we can’t afford).

As I say, your general analysis has some merit, but don’t make claims in the way that you have without checking. Rumours persist about Moutinho and I would personally not be shocked if he arrived in the summer.
Kieran Fitzgerald
27   Posted 30/03/2009 at 13:33:31

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Folks, I wasn?t advocating selling our best players to finance transfers in. I was just saying that it may happen, whether we want it to or not. It is true to say that some of our best signings have been picked up on the cheap. But if we are to pick up four or five of these players to supplement our first eleven and build a decent squad, that?s still £20M plus at least. Unfortunately, outside the first eleven the players are poor so raising money may mean our hand being forced in terms of selling one or two of the better players.

Alan Kirwin, I accept what you?re saying. Perhaps what I should have said was that I tired of these long drawn out transfer sagas that appear to be a wild goose chase. M?Bia was one, Moutinho seemingly another. The on/off thing with Manny is another.

To some of the other comments about where last season?s TV money is gone if Fellaini only cost £4M, that?s a very good question. Hopefully, it may be a choice that can allow us to avoid selling the better players we do have.

Ciarán MacGiolla Eoin
28   Posted 30/03/2009 at 13:54:00

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There?s absolutely no point in telling people to ?check their facts? - then using supposition yourself.
Rob Davis
29   Posted 30/03/2009 at 14:20:50

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Rodwell to Arsenal?
Mike Whittaker
30   Posted 30/03/2009 at 16:03:38

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As a few people have already adhered to above - you can tell how much money Everton have in the summer by the early transfer activity. If, as some people expect, Moutinho is a done deal, then I would expect him bought in the first few weeks of June. If June and July go by without a serious signing, then I will presume that we have no money. Anything that the club says to the contrary will have to be taken with a pich of salt, particularly as they cannot use a major championship as a smokescreen.
David Reid
31   Posted 30/03/2009 at 17:01:36

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"Take Jagielka and Lescott for example. Both players were sat on the bench yesterday looking at players on the pitch who they are the equal of in every way except that their current club is either not fashionable enough or because they are being punished for not playing in the Champion?s League."

You mean Mr Johnson & Mr Upson from Portsmouth & West Ham are they very fashionable or playing in the Champions League?

James Stewart
32   Posted 30/03/2009 at 17:42:55

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Lescott is a liability and I would be happy to see him sold!

Yobo is the better player by a country mile... and before anyone says look at his errors etc ? LOOK AT LESCOTT'S! Ten times worse.
Rich Jones
33   Posted 30/03/2009 at 18:00:03

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James are you madder than Brian Mcmad of Mad Town, Madshire.
Paul Connell
34   Posted 30/03/2009 at 17:26:50

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If you compare Moyes's reign to that of Walter Smith in the transfer market, it could be easy to assume nothing has changed. After all, we never had a pot to piss in then and we still don?t now. However, analysed closer, there is one massive difference: Moyes has total control.

Smith takes a lot of stick for his time here but he faced every summer in the knowledge his best players would move on and he would have to build from scratch. Rooney and Gravesen apart, Moyes has not had to deal with this. I don?t believe any other sold player has been against the manager's wishes.

My point here is the progress Moyes has gained has been based on continuity. It?s no coincidence that clubs like Spurs & Man City who spent fortunes more than us have a high turnover of players and ultimatley fail year-in, year-out. Regardless of our frustrations in failing to bring in any of our top targets, it seems to go unnoticed the we generally keep our best.

Some have challenged Moyes to demand cash or threaten to quit. For me this is a ridiculous suggestion considering he would be demanding something that doesn?t exsist. A more realistic demand is for him to be the man to sanction who goes out the door. If he loses this autonomy I believe he would be on his bike. It?s for these reasons I don?t see us selling to buy unless it's record prices.

He said in January there isn?t anyone he wants to sell; I don?t see this changing. More likely he will continue to work with small numbers, adding one main signing and a few more loan deals. Doesn?t seem ideal but a lot better than selling.

On the bright side, this is a big step up from the best player getting sold behind the manager's back, as in Smith's day!

Martin Handley
35   Posted 30/03/2009 at 20:47:49

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I firmly believe that the only major casualties this summer will be Yak, Big Vic and Joey Yobo. The first two more because of attitude than anything else and Happy ?arry at Spurs is willing to part with £10m plus D Bent for him; Vic is more suited to Hull's game than ours and Yobo simply because he wants regular 1st team football.

The majority of the money from Yak will go on Moutinho, what?s left over will help to pay for M?Bia, he?s already lined up two young defenders ? one Dutch, the other?s from Italy. With Bent coming in part-ex, I think he?ll either take Jo on or go for Vagner Love. I believe there?s a few youngsters coming in. I?ll probably get slated but that?s what I can see happening.

ps: MUFC 0 EFC 2 ? sorry to spoil the dream final! Now where have we heard that before?!!

Robert McWilliam
36   Posted 30/03/2009 at 23:27:04

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On another note, what about that young african winger who was playing in italy that couldnt get a work permit with us at the start of the season... Has anyone heard anything on him? ie. How he is playing, whether he will be available?
Barry Jevons
37   Posted 31/03/2009 at 00:27:58

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Has anyone ever tried to add up the amount of money we’ve saved on wages by signing a player at the end of the transfer window rather than at the beginning. It must run into the millions! It could be considered very shrewd business acumen from the management team!
Vijay Nair
38   Posted 31/03/2009 at 02:08:37

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If we need to sign another striker without spending a bundle, we should take a good look at Scott Macdonald from Celtic. Fantastic goal record and being Aussie, I?m sure tiny Tim could put in the good word on international duty.
Russell Buckley
39   Posted 31/03/2009 at 05:04:30

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Vijay, Macdonald is a good player but I have doubts he would come that cheap (Celtic love him). I’ve read interviews with him in the Australian press where he explains that he grew up a Celtic fan and has stated he would be happy to spend the rest of his career there.
Alan Clarke
40   Posted 31/03/2009 at 09:47:01

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I assume the money paid for Fellaini was a minimal up front payment which increases based on appearances, international appearances, goals, haricuts etc. We should just cut our losses with this guy. That would probably free up some money to buy a decent midfielder. Then sell Anichebe for £2 million.
Paul Formby
41   Posted 31/03/2009 at 14:23:20

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Totally agree with Martin Handley's view that the 3 casualties leaving in the Summer will be The Yak, Yobo and Vic.

What Martin failed to point out is that not only do they have a good re-sale value (and the story about Yak and Tottenham I can assure you is more than just a rumour) but, as Nigerian internationals, they will again be missing for 6 weeks in January/ February for African Nations Cup. I think Moysie has more than had his fill of the disruption that competition causes. Note how Alex Ferguson never signs any Africans.

Paul Gayler
42   Posted 31/03/2009 at 17:51:02

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I have to admit I?m out of my depth a bit here as I am no expert, but I read a lot and as you know most of it is crap; however, is there any substance to Tom Huddlestone being out of favour at Spurs as I think he has the passion required (and won?t be off to the African Nations like everybody else). Plus if Sunderland go down, will bargin-bin Moyes be sniffing round Richardson, who still has a house in the northwest? Two replacements I would like: the Yak is too lazy for me and Vic is having pop star strops.

ps: On to Fantasy Island here but surely with Owen being snubbed again by england, even behind ?arry's favourite striker, Mr Barn Door Bent, and the Barcodes heading for the Championship, maybe just maybe!......... I look forward to being ridiculed!!! loli meant owen been snubbed

43   Posted 31/03/2009 at 17:53:50

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So why should we take your word Paul Formby about the Yak going to Spurs? What's your connection with Moyes, The Yak and Spurs to know anything other than rumour?
Paul Formby
44   Posted 31/03/2009 at 19:55:16

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Gaz, more than just a rumour mate. He would have gone in the January transfer window had he not got the long-term injury pre-Christmas.
Vijay Nair
45   Posted 01/04/2009 at 01:33:11

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Paul Formby - SAF did sign Quinton Fortune, not that he lasted very long in the team!
Ciarán MacGiolla Eoin
46   Posted 01/04/2009 at 09:12:03

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The ACON is every two years...not every year...

So no-one will be dissappearing for it in January.
Ciarán MacGiolla Eoin
47   Posted 01/04/2009 at 12:26:45

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Actually scrub that. I can’t count.

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