If you'd asked Evertonians which date they were most looking forward to this summer, many would probably have skipped past next Monday's 2012-13 Premier League opener against Manchester United and cited 1st September when the summer transfer window officially closes.
The close season may, up until the last week or so, have been a slow one in terms of the Premier League merry-go-round, but Blues fans have had to contend with near constant media-fueled speculation regarding Manchester United's supposed interest in Leighton Baines, not to mention occasional suggestions that Chelsea might poach Marouane Fellaini or that John Heitinga could be winging his way to Inter Milan or Turkey.
And, of course, the closer we got to the end of August, the greater the fear that the Club's financial constraints might necessitate another deadline-day sale of a prized asset with no time to draft in replacements to a squad that has seen a double-digit loss of personnel from the senior and Academy ranks since the end of last season.
Even though there was a sense that, despite the relatively small funds realised from the sales of Tim Cahill and Joseph Yobo, Everton might not need to sell any more this month, speculation remained that one of the Club's more saleable assets would be leaving before the 31st August deadline.
Given his waning form and recent injury problems, few would have thought Jack Rodwell would be the one to leave, though. Having been forced to miss out on England's Euro2012 adventure and the chance to represent the reunited Great Britain team at the London Olympics, it seemed as though Rodwell's only focus this month would be to complete his rehabilitation from a succession of frustrating hamstring tears and prepare for the coming season with Everton.
It promised to be a crucial one for him, too. After effortlessly making the step up from the Academy to Everton's first team and establishing his credentials as the Blues' brightest home-grown prospect since Wayne Rooney by the 2009-10 season, Rodwell's career has visibly stalled over the last two seasons.
Injuries lay at the heart of it; he struggled to regain his form after a two-month lay-off in the autumn of 2010 and his 2011-12 campaign was wrecked by those mysterious hamstring problems at a time when he was supposed to be blossoming into the future England captain so many observers expect him to become.
There were addiitonal questions over just how big a role David Moyes's system and tactics had played in Rodwell's plateaued development and with the hopes that his injury issues were behind him, the next nine months were expected to throw some light there as well.
So, it wasn't just the quiet manner in which City swooped for the 21 year-old and concluded the deal that caught so many by surprise. And though the £12m fee is ultimately disappointing given some of the ludicrous money that has been doled out for more mediocre "talent" recently — indeed, just look across the Park at the likes Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll — it's a decent one for an Academy graduate whose future prospects are clouded in doubt. The chances that anyone — read long-time rumoured suitor, Sir Alex Ferguson— was going to risk £20m on a player with a freshly chequered injury history and struggling for form were very small.
Certainly, if Moyes is able to draft in quality additions to his squad in the next two weeks, the money will be more useful to him than a player who was no longer an automatic first choice starter in central midfield. Though pre-season form is an unreliable yardstick, the sense is that Francisco Junior has showed his manager enough to suggest he can be a ready-made replacement for Rodwell's place in the senior squad and he has effectively swapped places with Jack costing the Blues nothing in return. And if by letting Rodwell go, Moyes has fended off any urgency the Board might have felt to cash in on Baines, then his move to the Etihad will have had one added benefit.
The challenge for the manager who agreed to let him go, of course, is to bring in the handful of faces he needs before the end of the month to bolster what remains an uncomfortably small squad. With the addition of Steven Naismith and the retention of Steven Pienaar, the first team is as strong as ever under Moyes's tenure but there is a worrying lack of depth should injuries begin to bite.
With M'Baye Niang on trial and talks underway regarding Kevin Mirallas, the manager is clearly pressing ahead with his plans to strengthen his squad, and with his quota of loans unfilled heading towards deadline day, it would not be a surprise at all to see him pad his numbers with targeted acquisitions of players deemed temporarily surplus to requirements when crunch time comes on the 31st.
There is no question, though, that as a boyhood Evertonian and a player we have groomed over the past few years, Rodwell's premature departure is saddening in many ways. Jack always carried himself with the utmost professionalism and maturity and he will surely leave Goodison with every Evertonian's best wishes for a great career. If he can grab this opportunity with both hands and revel in a fresh start, it could be just the move he needs to get back to his best.
He certainly looked at one stage to have the stature, the temperament and the ability to become a giant at Everton, a future captain and a rock around which to build a team. But so little has been seen recently of the unbridled, precocious talent that smashed two majestic long-rangers past Sigma Olomouc in 2009 and marauded through United's defence the following spring to drive home the third goal in a famous 3-1 romp that you get the feeling that, given our severely limited resources, it was better for the Club to cash in now and use the money to build the squad than give him time to re-find his best form at Goodison... with no guarantee that he will. City, with their vastly superior funds, can afford to take that risk.
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175 Posted 15/08/2012 at 19:58:32
189 Posted 15/08/2012 at 20:32:42
190 Posted 15/08/2012 at 20:23:02
Like the time he drove to training with his girlfriend and a satnav but still got lost and had to call a taxi so he could follow it to the training ground?
Or the time he begged Wayne Rooney's hooker Jenny Thompson for sex? That ended with them having text sex and Jack sending her a picture of his manhood which she then gave to the press.
Where was the professionalism and maturity when Jack Rodwell's pixelated manhood appeared in the Sunday tabloids?
Already we are looking at Jack Rodwell with rose-tinted glasses. What I remember is an injury prone midfielder who had a habit of passing sideways or disappearing completely from games. He never put his authority on a game, never dominated and at times strolled around the pitch almost in a dream.
196 Posted 15/08/2012 at 20:45:33
197 Posted 15/08/2012 at 20:34:47
Rodwell will probably fade away and the right call was made. However, if he does come good we might have flushed away a lad that would have stuck with the club for a long time. Do you think we can say the same about his midfield big haired team mate?
I personally don't think the current side is anywhere moyes's best. We have a good goal scorer but lack the creativity of 3 plus years. Moyes has got rid of the 3 players that were absolutely right to go. Add the 2 signings made and a couple of more new faces and even the mob may come around that Moyes still has it in him to serve beef Wellington with corn beef cash.
199 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:05:58
204 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:16:35
205 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:14:34
207 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:16:20
Without his injury problems we could have perhaps commanded and extra 5 million up front but I'm not losing sleep over it.
It seems our first choice centre pair are now Gibson and Fellaini followed by Osman, Barkley and Cisco. Arguably stronger than United's centre midfield of Scholes, Carrick, Anderson, Fletcher and Kagawa, wouldn't you agree?
Scholes is very much a spent force although capable of the odd piece of magic, Carrick is a reliable enforcer and a good enough to be a mainstay for Fergie, never really rated Anderson, Fletcher is barely fit these days and Kagawa is unproven in the Prem although he could be a very good signing.
Obviously they could still add before Monday but I would prefer Gibson and Fellaini over the best pair they could select from those above.
209 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:21:29
There are, unsubstantiated, suggestions amongst various reports that Rodwell was indeed hesitant about the move, perhaps realising that chances may be limited even if the wages are 3 x more. Hodgson today was suggesting the core of England future may not be first choice in their teams.
What hope do we (or other teams) really have when an academy prospect moves to a bit-part role for 50% more than we pay our highest earner?
I'm beginning to get the disdain for the Man City "Project". Not only does their manager show the same lack of class in his comments as his predecessor, it seems they really don't give a shit about FFP as they've already decided they can get round it.
This is the team that has a strikeforce on an absolute fortune that it wants rid of, and being the mercenaries they are, are in limbo as no-one will take them. Adebayor laughably refusing to move even though City will subsidise his wages for 2 years, as it would mean he'd still be out-of-pocket for the last 2 years of his Spurs contract.
Of course, with their new training development being "non-relevant expense", that's a whole load off their cost figures that UEFA won't count.
Then, there's their commercial revenue leaving everyone behind. Apparently they have now EIGHT sponsors from Abu Dhabi- with Etihad being the Tier 1, the others are still pouring more cash in. And UEFA don't give a shit as it's all fresh money into the sport.
City aren't the only ones at it, but they are far and away the worst example, in the worst league. With our taxation system relative to other countries, we already have to pay players more than in other leagues just to keep their take-home the same.
Maybe it's post-Olympics realisation that football has lost its soul (I even found myself agreeing with Joey Barton's blog last night!), but as usual, even if we got sold tomorrow to the perfect owners, we've missed the boat. City made sure their 2010-11 largesse didn't count in the first round of FFP calculations. It seems their well-paid execs have found a way round everything else. Apart from signing RVP.
213 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:51:27
214 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:45:34
'Unfortunately this is our reality; all our possible glory this season is for the right for brief mid-week TV exposure the next.'
Get used to it. It stil remains the case.
Note Lyndon's comment. I'm still waiting for the ceremony.
215 Posted 15/08/2012 at 22:00:00
It'll be very interesting to see how we start especially how we do against United but I'm really positive. I'm also extending my unpaid home leave and coming up from Horsham to see the game.
220 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:47:42
Agree with every word, Matt. It's obviously difficult discussing anything to do with our club these days without addressing the obvious disparity that exists in the Premier League so it more or less goes without saying, as far as I'm concerned.
I've deliberately not gone into the financial controversies of our situation lest each article turn into a novel!
Suffice to say, yes, the whole situation is incredibly depressing, with no resolution in sight... apart from "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em".
226 Posted 15/08/2012 at 22:29:30
227 Posted 15/08/2012 at 22:49:00
Seeing your views on this thread, wondered if you might enhance the "overdraft" thread with your thoughts. Ian
230 Posted 15/08/2012 at 23:06:24
237 Posted 15/08/2012 at 22:20:25
But something has come into the thread (via Matt Traynor) which I know a little about.
My work took me to Manchester 40 years ago. What was happening in Liverpool apart from football plus some music and the Tate Gallery, bits of City of Culture maybe, I knew next to nothing about - a Wirral blue you see, not wedded to the 'City'.
The City of Manchester put in two bids to host the Olympics. They got the Commonwealth Games and did it well, building the C of MC Stadium in the new 'Sports City' of Eastlands.
MCFC? There is no way they would have done this for themselves. They have been the beneficiaries of a well-organised forward thinking City Council. Of course, MUFC have nothing to do with them, being across the border in Trafford so no clash of interests. Perhaps this is significant.
Now I'm not saying that any city council should be promoting he interests of a privately owned business unless, perhaps, it could be demonstrated that this had a significant halo effect for employment and, in the end, increased revenue for the city itself. And, as I said, I know nothing about Liverpool and its council. But what MC City Council did, with no agenda to assist MCFC as far as I know, has had a massive effect for them, and has probably been good financially for the city as a whole.
What happened next - Shiniwara's money laundering and the Middle Eastlands 'project', Matt is quite right about. But the start came from, as it were, the 'city' itself. Its elected representatives and their executive officers going for the Olympics. Twice.
249 Posted 16/08/2012 at 01:50:22
And if any of these rumored signings happen, and Barkley or Francisco Junior step up as hoped, this £12-17 million for Rodwell will indeed be a fine bit of business for Moyes and BK.
279 Posted 16/08/2012 at 06:51:43
765 Posted 17/08/2012 at 19:00:29
1) Rodwell has had a poor injury record and has never got into his stride playing for us. Turning down the cash and then being stuck with a player who spends his career injured is untenable in our financial situation. He has showed glimpses of class when not injured, but he is far from world class right now.
2) We have a good homegrown youngster in the same position in order to put our regional hopes into. It would have been great to see a home grown midfield of Rodwell and Barkley, but at least we still have the younger (and higher rated) of the two to develop into a first teamer.
3) The players we are being linked with as a result of the sale look exciting. We have needed a pacey winger since...... probably Kanchelskis (Arteta played there for a while but was always more of a centre mid). If this winger and striker come in, we will have a better balance squad with genuine options up front.
All in all I wish Jack well in his career and fingers crossed the money is spent wisely.
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