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Why Blackpool Should Have Accepted Adam’s Transfer Request (UPDATED)

As has been reported extensively this morning, Charlie Adam submitted a transfer request to Blackpool management today. The Seasiders in turn denied the request, clinging to the premise that Adam is worth more than the £4 million offer suggested by Liverpool.

Now, I’ve loved Blackpool thus far this season. I’ve enjoyed watching as they come at teams with every bit of offensive thunder they can muster, without regard to the quality of counterattack that will be launched on their barely-adequate defense. I think I speak for most of you in saying that we wish less-talented sides took this approach to the match and tried more than the “10 behind the ball” approach.

But in recent weeks, the Tangerine have looked fallible. They’ve lost 4 of their last 5 matches. Two of their losses came against lower-table clubs, including a desolate Birmingham City. Their lone victory came against the same Liverpool squad who is after Adam, and who have struggled through the last couple of months of play.  Blackpool’s most recent match was a 2-1 loss to Sunderland, the Black Cats first match since the sale of Darren Bent.

This run of form is not a great sign going forward for Blackpool. They still have a match in hand against much of the table, but their two makeup matches are against Manchester United (tomorrow) and Tottenham, almost certainly no-pointers for the Seasiders. They are six points ahead of the relegation zone. While the teams in that relegation zone are poor teams, they all have been on extended stints in the Premier League and are not stone-cold locks for the Championship in 2011-12. Come May, if Blackpool reside anywhere near the bottom, their fixture list includes the likes of Hotspur, Bolton, and the Red Devils. That’s not exactly a recipe for 9 points to close out the season. The positive side about the final match would be, if Manchester United have locked up the title and also have a date at Wembley on May 28th, Alex Ferguson might look to rest players. Nevertheless, this is not the way to end a season, even if you are matching up against a team of United reserves looking to impress Ferguson looking towards next season’s training.

Regardless, the prospects of Blackpool being relegated are still very high, even with Charlie Adam’s place on the team. Adam is definitely going to be playing for his next contract, since he will be free this summer. That should mean Adam continues to play with heart for Blackpool even if they do not find a suitable offer. That being said, can they really compete? Their recent play may be an aberration, but it’s much more likely that this team was overachieving through the first three months.

Ian Holloway harps on the lack of funds being offered for Adam, how crucial he is to their team. Could Holloway not offer to lengthen Adam’s contract and raise his wage? If he’s that important to their side, and that much of a fixture in the Tangerine side, wouldn’t he be worth the coin to lock him up? Of course, Adam may ultimately be looking to make his name at an established club, so in that regard maybe he’s unwilling to renegotiate a longer deal.  But Holloway’s trumpet makes it sound like Adam equals the team’s presence in the Premier League in the 2011-12 season. I’m not so sure anymore.

I think prudence would determine that Blackpool should accept Liverpool’s current offer, which is 4 million pounds more than they will get when he leaves this summer. They have proven the pundits wrong for much of the season, but a 38 match season evens out the best with the worst when it comes to football on the cheap. I believe that Blackpool will soon be back to fighting for their very lives in the Premier League, and it’s unclear to me whether they have the talent to battle through those final weeks.

Of course, prudence also says that a team of Blackpool’s stature should play conservative, defensive football. In other words, it will surprise no one when Adam continues to sport the Tangerine in February.

-UPDATE- As a commenter has pointed out, Adam’s contract will not run out until 2012. This adds yet another predicament for Blackpool. Can they afford his wage if they sink to the Championship? Perhaps they can, of course they paid him the same wage (said to be 8,000 pounds per week) back in the 2009-10 Championship season. But I’d say it’s more likely that they would be forced to sell his heavy contract, and at significantly less than the 4 million pounds they are being offered right now.  In other words, I think this makes the argument even stronger that they need to sell him before the window closes.

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  1. Earl Reed

    February 3, 2011 at 9:43 am

    So yesterday’s relegation 6-pointer went the way of West Ham.

    They’ve lost 5 of 6 matches, and stand in 13th place, 4 points ahead of the terrific twosome of Brum and the Hammers.

    Perhaps they were right to hold out for more than four, but they’ve gone mad for not selling him at ten.

  2. skel

    January 25, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Affording charlie adams wages is no problem for blackpool even if they are regulated, he’s not on a huge wage.
    It’s in Blackpools interest to keep him till the end of season, to try to keep them up and then sell if he wants to go.
    Karl Oyston wont allow players or other clubs to try to take advantage.
    Players have tried in the past, but not succeded

  3. JC

    January 25, 2011 at 1:58 am

    As a neutral, I think it’s a real shame. Blackpool has been the most interesting positive story about the league this year. I don’t want to see them go down just so Liverpool can finish 14th.

    I’ll have to hope that Che is right and they’ll survive without him.

  4. Jean-Christian

    January 24, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    What I have learned today: Blackpool shouldn’t sell airplane wings to Liverpool because Charlie Adam can fly.

  5. dominjon

    January 24, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    I expect him to go to Liverpool for around 6 million with a couple of Liverpool’s talented kids going on loan there (with Liverpool paying all wages) until the end of the season.

  6. Simon Burke

    January 24, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    The market’s the market. He’ll go for what he’s worth. My suspicion is he doesnt want to go anywhere other than Liverpool so 2 things will have to happen: one they’ll have to offer the right sum and he’ll have to turn down personal terms with other clubs that do.

    I hope he stays purely because like a lot of neutrals I want to see Blackpool stay up and there is more chance of that with him there. They are by no means safe right now.

    Liverpool and whoever have no right to expect him to come on the cheap. Blackpool stand to make a lot of cash by staying up and if he goes it could jeopardise it. Blackpool will hold firm till Liveropol blink and offer the 7-9 million it will take to get him and the player may panic and join Villa if Liverpool don’t stump it up.

    Arsenal didnt let Cesc go “on the cheap” and it’s worked out fine for us. Arsenal and the Prem are a better place for Cesc staying. Adam I suspect will go but Blackpool have no obligation to sell their only real asset for 4.5 million.

  7. mick

    January 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Blackpool r stayin up…..get a life u plank

    • Earl Reed

      January 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      And if they stay up, I will be ecstatic. They have added an element to the EPL that was lacking before, namely an outsider, small budget club playing like one of the big boys. I will humbly admit my mistake if they avoid relegation.

  8. salahovic

    January 24, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    adam i thin that he could not make any change about liverpool

  9. salahovic

    January 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    liverpool is not good team

  10. jonathan edge

    January 24, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I think, as a few people have pointed out already, that there are a couple of ways to look at this.

    first is that Adam won’t fetch more, is not worth more as a player, and blackpool won’t be able to shoulder his wages come next year regardless.

    another way to see it, which is the view I follow, is that keeping Adam on contract, even if he leaves after his current one is up, is a gamble. a 4 million pound gamble. If it pays off, blackpool get their sky money, undersoil heating, sign a handful more cheap journeymen and transform them into relentless attacking monsters.

    What good is 4 million gonna do blackpool now? not much. They won’t be able to replace Adam with that 4 mil. and if they go down, they’ll look like fools clutching at a petty transfer kitty. But Adam is fairly young, barring any injury he should be just as valuable come summer as he is today, I doubt the few month wait will damage his career too heavily.

  11. The Gaffer

    January 24, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    The tricky part about the ongoing events involving Charlie Adam is that the player has put in a transfer request. Footballers can act stroppy nowadays and seemingly get what they want. The big test will be to see how Holloway deals with Adam, whether he benches him for the match against Manchester United this week or if he pushes him to play. When players put in a transfer request, it’s usually the footballer who wins in the end because a team doesn’t want to play a footballer who wants to leave.

    Somehow, with Ian Holloway, I wouldn’t be surprised if he insists that Adam play.

    The Gaffer

    • Earl Reed

      January 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      See, Holloway has played this “Adam wants to be here” line for quite awhile. Handing in the request throws a wrench into those works. I agree, the last thing that Blackpool wants to have happen is Adam get sidelined on a hard challenge and be without him and the transfer fee. In fact, I wonder if Holloway’s talk made Adam decide to hand in the request. The guy blows a lot of hot air, and maybe Ian thought Adam really was “the company man.” That’s obviously not so true, lest he would have let Holloway continue to bark at Houllier and Dalglish for more money. And realistically, hasn’t Adam given his suitors even more reason to stonewall, since he’s made it clear he does want out?

      • Jon

        January 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm

        Hey Earl and The Gaffer,

        On your last question Earl, yes and no. I suspect that what happened is that earlier in the year Holloway and Adam had a chat about his contract and transfers when it became apparent that he was a) playing at a very high level and likely to attract interest, and b) central to Blackpool’s success. I believe, based on what I’ve read and Holloway’s propensity to be generally honest, that they listed four or five clubs that Holloway would permit Adam to leave to – I’m going to guess any of the top 5 plus Liverpool.

        That way, Holloway could retain Adam if the interest came from a mid-table competitor, but he could also be seen to be forwarding Adam’s career since he is willing to see him move along. This is a good motivator for the player.

        That chat would have been a good deal for all – Holloway gets a committment from his man to play for the Club, play hard, and do well, and the security that he is most likely to keep him (if the only bidders are competition). Adam gets the knowledge that if he plays well enough, he can go to a big club, with much bggr wages (he already fought with the Club over a bonus not paid, remember).

        The problem is that a big club did come – Liverpool. But they offered less than Holloway hoped. Now I suspect Adam feels aggrieved because one of the clubs on the list did come calling, but the Club said no. Hence the transfer request – Adam will feel entitled to ask to go since they agreed earlier in the year that was one of the clubs on the “you can go” list.

        And, Adam knows that the transfer request puts that pressure on Holloway to sell. So it’s his way of saying “hey, we agreed that I could go, now you are saying no, and so here is what I can do to force you”.

        Ultimately, no one will want to stonewall. Liverpool won’t want to pay 8 million, Blackpool won’t accept 4 million, and Adam’s request will probably split the difference.

        I guess Adam will play against United. I’m also not sure the move is better for Adam’s career, but that’s a different topic.



  12. King Eric

    January 24, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I think Blackpool’s asking price of around 10M is fair and reasonable and would be a disaster to sell for anything cheaper, which is why Holloway is sticking to his guns and rightly so. With him in the squad, they won’t be relegated as they’re in good position now and don’t show any signs of faltering that much, or at least worse than teams like wolves, wigan, west ham and brum. The last few that they’ve lost have been close and they’ll still have plenty of hope that they can get results going forward, which I think they will to be honest.

    If Darren Bent is worth/can go for 24M than Adam surely has to be worth at least 10M. Also the cost of relegation is far more than a crummy 4M, which is more likely to happen if he does leave. I think Liverpool should go after the likes of N’Zog or Elia for now and try again with someone like Adam in the summer. In my opinion, I think he stays put for now and will help keep Blackpool up to finish around 12-15th and will leave in the summer.

    • Earl Reed

      January 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm

      He may be worth more than other 10MM pound players, I don’t know for sure. The problem isn’t his worth, it’s his worth to Blackpool. It’s the open market, there are other factors, most of which is probably Blackpool’s size. If they were guaranteed the ability to pay for Adam’s services next season, then his value would be much higher. But NESV darned well knows that Blackpool’s gotta sell him, if not now then come summer.

      The thing that could make this interesting…what if a team like Manchester United decided to throw in a 6 MM pound bid for Adam? Just to try to drive his price? I know that, if this were baseball, the Yankees would be counterbidding the Red Sox trying to drive up a player’s value.

  13. Jason

    January 24, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Part of the reason for Blackpool wanting more than 4 million pounds is that 20% of it goes to Adams’ former club Rangers.

    Holloway could ask Liverpool to loan Blackpool one of their youngsters, like Shelvey, as part of the deal. I still think Holloway will sell Adams before the transfer window closes and will get close to 6 million pounds for him.

    • jonathan edge

      January 24, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      the sell-on clause to ranges is 10% as quoted by the guardian i believe.

  14. brn442

    January 24, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I think you are being unfair to the Blackpool.

    1) They, like every selling club – have a right to value they players and accept or turn down offers as they see fit.

    2) There are six days left in the transfer window, any businessman with a pulse would leverage the remaining time until Jan 31st, to possibly get an improved offer, if not – then let him go (Liverpool/Aston Villa will still be interested, I can assure you.). If for some reason he stays and helps them stay up and he then leaves for free, it’s not the end of the world. If they get relegated, they will have more worries than ruing the loss of 4 million pounds, believe me.

  15. Jon

    January 24, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Hey Earl,

    Good piece. My only small issue is with your argument that if Adam were that important to Blackpool they would offer him a contract extension with a wage increase, and that the failure to do so infers that he is not as important to them as Holloway claims. I suspect that Holloway and the Blackpool Board haven’t offered that because they can’t. They simply cannot afford to increase anyone’s wages. They operate on something like (Gaffer has done the research, and I don’t have the time now) a 3 million pound wage roll for the whole team. I don’t know the top earner but its got to be around or less than 20,000 a week. Any wage increase, even a moderate one, will probably destroy the wage structrure at the Club; a Club whose matchday revenue is going to be the smallest the PL by far with their tiny ground at Bloomfield Road. They don’t have the money for new contracts for anyone, period. They *might* have some money *if* they stay up because the Sky contract is worth about 35-40 million, but remember that they have to think about using that money to upgrade Bloomfield Road in the offseason and acquire players to stay up in the second season, often a bigger ask than staying up in the first.

    Also, as you point out, Adam won’t sign an extension anyway because they cannot offer him the wages he wants. He’ll want 35-50,000 a week based on his performances this season. He can’t get that at Blackpool and they can’t give it. Now that Liverpool have expressed interest, he’ll definitely not sign an extension knowing that there are at least 3 legitimately interested clubs he can move to next summer.

    All in all, I suspect that Holloway is just looking to drive up the price. There are 7 days left in the window. Liverpool (aside from the nice win at Wolves) are in moderate trouble with their squad, and January is a time when their need will feel heightened and the price can be driven up. My guess is that the rejection of the transfer request is jsut part of the game because Holloway thinks he can get more for Adam.

    I would gues you’ll see an increased bid in the 5-6 million range and that at the end of the window, Blackpool will sell. They know they can’t keep Adam past this season and they’ll want a return on the 500,000 pounds they spent.

    My thoughts, anyway.



    • Drew M.

      January 24, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      Yeah, Adam will be coming to Liverpool, this is just brinksmanship. I expect the price will be closer to 7 or 8 mil, but with the deal with Ajax crumbling, Adam may be Kenny’s best shot at a ‘marquee’ signing.

      Unless, of course, there’s more to the Konchesky-and-cash-to-Fulham-for-Dempsey rumor than hope and wishes. Dempsey’s done pretty well as a quasi-forward, but I’m not sure how well he’d mesh with Torres.

  16. chas

    January 24, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    his contract runs out in 2012 so you are 12 months out.

    • Earl Reed

      January 24, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      You’re right, I goofed that one. I read somewhere that his contract was winding down. They have more leverage then to fight against the Liverpool’s, at least until the summer transfer window.

      • Dave C

        January 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm

        I disagree with the conclusion you draw in your “update”: They would be forced to sell him for less if they happen to get relegated, so they should just sell him now.

        Firstly, if Blackpool have any sense they wouldn’t have to sell him if they got relegated (I’m sure they will have factored in a relegation wage reduction clause in the contract).

        Secondly, the conclusion is like saying:
        I’m flying in a plane. I could sell the wings for $4m. But if I happen to crash, then the wings will be mangled and will fetch much less than $4m. So I should sell the wings now, before I crash, to maximize my profit (although the act of selling the wings will bring about the crash in the first place).

        i.e. selling Adam would be greatly increasing their chances of relegation. They would be MUCH better off keeping him until the end of the season to try and stay up rather than throwing in the towel by selling him now.

        • Drew M.

          January 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm

          I guess it comes down to how many points you think a team needs to stay up. Last year, it was 30+, but I bet this year you’ll need 40+.

          Can Blackpool get 40 points in their remaining 16 games without Adam? If yes, sell him to Liverpool (who are desperate for a decent signing at this point) for 6 mil. If no, don’t sell. If maybe, sell, but sell dear.

        • Earl Reed

          January 24, 2011 at 2:28 pm

          And I think these types of scenarios, risk assessments, etc. are intriguing. My point is that, through their recent play, I have cause for concern about the chances with or without Adam. I know that Ian Holloway will do everything he can to keep Adam, I’m just trying to weigh each side.

        • Jon

          January 24, 2011 at 2:31 pm

          Hey Dave,

          Your analogy regarding the plane is only true because a plane cannot fly without wings and therefore is guaranteed to crash. That is not the case with a football player – if they get relegated anyway – that is, using your analogy, if you were going to crash anyway (wings or no wings) and someone came along and offered you $4m for your wings, you would take it. Why not have $4m in your estate to give to your family if you were going to go down regardless?

          The author points out in his piece that he thinks Blackpool are likely candidates for relegation, regardless of whether Adam stays or not. He might be wrong about that, but his assumption is that this is a plane that is crashing anyway, so sell everything that anyone wants to buy. If that is your wings, well, have at it.

          With football, unlike your flight analogy, staying “aloft” is much more uncertain. Will Blackpool survive without Adam? They might. They’ve won without him this season when he was injured/suspended. Will they go down even with him in the line up? They might. If either of those is true, then it is worth it to sell him for a massive profit. It’s if and only if they can only survive with him that he is not worth selling at any price – when he becomes the wings in your analogy. And it’s precisely that uncertainty that makes it a market in the first place.

          And while you are correct, in that they don’t have to sell him, right now his value is very high. If they get relegated, this time next year he’ll be off many radars and his value will drop. Same if they stay up but he plays worse or gets hurt. If you were going to crash anyway, wouldn’t you rather sell your wings for $4m rather than a bag of training cones and a pat on the head in 12 months time?



          • Dave C

            January 24, 2011 at 4:29 pm

            True, the analogy isn’t entirely perfect (since a plane without wings is guaranteed to crash, where as Blackpool could possibly survive even without Charlie Adam).

            Perhaps I should have modified it as follows:

            You’re flying in a plane with a dodgy tail-fin that may cause it to crash, however right now you seem to be doing OK. You could sell the radar guidance systems now for $4m (although that will greatly increase your chances of crashing into a mountain, or getting lost and running out of fuel). But if you crash, your radar guidance system will be mangled and valueless. So you should sell the radar guidance system now to get some money while you can (even though this will increase the risk of crashing).

            Still the analogy might not be perfect, but I think it’s better. The best option is surely to keep your radar (even at the risk that you might crash anyway, which would lower the re-sale value of the radar), and hope for a safe landing. After the safe landing, then you could maybe sell the radar.

            Aah I love bizarre flights of metaphorical whimsy.

            • Che

              January 24, 2011 at 8:12 pm

              I also love your bizarre flights of metaphorical whimsy. I think blackpool will survive without him, and if they cant they are already in trouble. All it takes is for him to get de jonged…

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