As the wintry January chill sets in, the transfer window is also upon us. And with clubs needing to dig deeper to find hidden gems with big clubs largely inactive, Midlands rivals Aston Villa and Birmingham City are reportedly engaged in hot pursuit of Blackpool trickster Charlie Adam. His manager Ian Holloway has reacted angrily to the alleged £3.5m bids and feels they have undervalued the Scot. This is another classic case of showing how much a club’s talisman is valued.
Transfer fees are not black and white. A fee is not only based on a player’s ability and potential, but also their worth to that particular club. From a purely objective view, £3.5m seems a very reasonable fee for Adam. He has limited Premier League experience but is a player in hot form and one of the most important players for Blackpool and Scotland.
To look at a different angle, Tottenham Hotspur completed daylight robbery when buying Rafael van der Vaart for a meagre £8m from Real Madrid. Of course, the difference was that the talented Dutchman was largely unwanted in Madrid. But after nine goals and six assists in the Premier League this season, the cunning nature of Harry Redknapp’s transfer becomes clear.
Adam’s Blackpool sadly do not have the money to compete with similar big-money transfers. Out of nine players bought over the Summer, cash exchanged hands in just one of them, Craig Cathcart’s £600,000 move from Manchester United. The club’s entire wage bill for a season is around £5m, which is less than John Terry’s yearly income. Plus Bloomfield Road is three times smaller than many Premier League grounds, and the club’s highest transfer fee paid is the £1.2m to Leicester City for the services of in-form goal-getter DJ Campbell. So the sparse finances of the club place speculation over bids for Adam into context. A fee of somewhere near £6m or £7m looks to be what Holloway and Blackpool might be after. That is if they would let their prize asset go in the first place.
After signing from Glasgow Rangers in August 2009 for £500,000, offerings of £3.5m show how Adam has excelled, and are a credit to Holloway’s management and his team. But the 25-year-old may not want to up and leave just yet. Aston Villa and Birmingham have both struggled this season, and also sit below Premier League newcomers Blackpool in the table. Stewart Downing and Ashley Young take care of playmaking duties at Villa Park, whilst David Bentley’s arrival at Birmingham will quash suspicions about a transfer.
The influence of the Scotland international is clear and concrete. In all but two of the Seasiders’ victories in the Premier League this season, Adam has chipped in with either a goal or an assist. Like fellow promoted clubs West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United, the star players are paramount and will not go cheaply. If you took Adam and Campbell out of Blackpool’s squad, the club’s first season in the top flight may not have been so rosy. There is a similar story with Chris Brunt and Peter Odemwingie at West Brom, as well as Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan at Newcastle.
Holloway has described Adam as a “genius” and declared: “you won’t get him strutting around the place. He’s not like that, but he’s a fantastic footballer.” The witty 47-year-old is also a wise man and has admitted he may be inclined to sell if the price is right, and it is only for us to see if Adam could make a step up in his career. After reaching a Europa League final with Rangers in 2008, surely Adam could fit into most Premier League teams aside from the top three or four. Holloway is probably the only man who could determine this and make it happen.