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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