“Wolves want 15m for Steven Fletcher?! #goodluckwiththatone“
Above are just some of the tweets regarding Sunderland’s £10m offer for Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Steven Fletcher, a player who the majority of football supporters making their daily pilgrimage to Twitter seemingly don’t deem to be worthy of that amount of money. All are focused on his prospective transfer fee. Not one makes reference to his footballing ability.
Now I wouldn’t disagree with regards to whether £10m is overpriced. However, nor would I agree either.
The simple fact of the matter is that Wolves have a player who they feel is worth a certain price, and who they believe they will get that price for – should they continue to play hardball – as is their right over a player with two years left on his current contract. Additionally, given that the club has no financial worries, they aren’t in a position where they must sell their prize asset as a cost-cutting measure, as is the way of many sides who are relegated from the Premier League. As such, they’re in as strong a position as they could possibly hope to be in, especially given that the player isn’t seemingly interested in rocking the boat and handing in a transfer request.
Is Fletcher worth the figures being mooted?
Quite simply, it doesn’t matter.
If you’re incredulous at the fee and against the move, then you can do whatever factual analysis you want with regards to the Scottish striker – 24 goals in 68 appearances over the past two seasons for Wolves, one goal in eight international caps for Scotland – to back your opinion.
Should you reckon Fletcher is at a peak age (25), having scored 36 goals in the Premier League in the past three seasons and is a striker with solid technique, a good touch, clever movement and an eye-for-goal, and is subsequently worth the investment, then that is your prerogative.
However, in the weird and wonderful world of football transfers, within which money doesn’t seemingly carry the same value as it does to the rest of the world during normal day-to-day life, it doesn’t matter. Because at the end of the day, it’s how much two sides believe he’s worth to them.
Do Sunderland and their manager Martin O’Neill believe Fletcher is capable of being the figurehead at the point of their attack, whose goalscoring nous can prove the difference between a season entrenched in mid-table, and a push for a European spot? What points difference would his arrival mean to them? Assume Fletcher contributes 12 goals and 6 assists to the Mackems next season, and they finish 8th next season rather than 13th (as they did last). That five-place differential would be worth an extra £4m to the club, whilst it would also increase the value of the player, who is now their commodity.
With regards to Wolves, how do they value Fletcher? Is he capable of scoring 25 Championship goals this season, and playing a key role in a promotion push, which thanks to the new tv deal for the Premier League, could be worth upwards of £80m? Take £10m today, or risk that figure for the potential riches on offer in a year’s time? That’s the question which they have to justify, not to the hoardes on Twitter, but to the club’s supporters.
At the other end of the scale, Fletcher could become Wolves record sale tomorrow – and, to paint a particularly grim picture, break his ankle training for his new club the following day, and be sidelined for a year.
When speaking of what could be, it’s important not to forget what is. For £10m, £12m, £15m, whatever the pricetag should he move, Fletcher could prove a flop. Alternatively, he could be a great success at the Stadium of Light. We simply don’t know. What we do know is that he’s a good footballer. That isn’t dictated by his price tag.