Friday, July 25, 2008

An expensive packet of crisps

"But I have been disillusioned with football for a long time. I kept my sanity by pumping millions of pounds into my academy, feeling the saving grace of my club was finding players who would be chomping at the bit and honoured to play in the first team. But that's been taken away from me as well. Bostock was one of the best players my academy has produced in the last 10 years - and he has been sold for a packet of crisps."

- Simon Jordan, Crystal Palace chairman

This quote from Simon Jordan is with regards to recent transfers from Crystal Palace, notably John Bostock to Tottenham for 700,000 pounds. That's the fee that was set by the football league transfer tribunal. It's pretty high considering Bostock's just a sixteen year old kid, but it's pretty low if you believe he's one of the most highly sought-after kids in England.

Whatever the case, it's patently more than a packet of crisps.

Now, according to reports, we're after another one of Jordan's lads - a young dreadlocked chap by the name of Vincent Moses. Now, I don't know anything about him other than he looks a bit like Edgar Davids, but we're going to bid one million pounds for him; low considering Moses' potential, but high considering he's still just a kid.

I've always been a bit uneasy about how we poach kids from the academies of other clubs. I realise it's all within the letter of the law. I also realise that the kids have a right to choose which club they sign professional terms with. I just feel for the home club (especially if they're a small club) when they've nurtured a kid for all those years only to have him poached as soon as he's ready for first-team action. Especially, if they're given a pittance in return.

A few days ago, Wenger was calling the presidents of Real Madrid, Barca and Milan a bunch of dirty skanky hos, because they unsettle players and pinch them off other clubs. Most gooner websites applauded this, and said that Arsenal are classy enough never to stoop to such levels. I'm not so sure.

Maybe we're just sneaky in other ways.

I'm not sure what the solution is. I really don't. Obviously, Arsenal are taking a big punt on these kids. There's no guarantee that they'll turn into stars. We pay the club a (relatively) large amount of money for them. In return, we're gambling on the fact that the kid will fulfill their potential. So, it's not to say we're stealing these kids away - we are compensating them to the letter of the law.

It's just that something about this youth policy makes my stomach turn.

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