So today Liverpool – according to every press source under the sun – have upped their bid for Sunderland’s Jordan Henderson. Apparently, the reported initial bid of £13 million wasn’t enough so the club went back in with a £15-16 million bid. Again, they were rebuffed. Today, we’ve moved again with a bid in the region of £18.5 million.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m as pleased as punch that we are able to table bids of this sum for players, it shows that we’re not short of a bit of money anymore. But what we’re talking about here is a player who has spent his entire professional career (one spell at Coventry apart) with a bottom 10 club. In two full seasons at Sunderland, he has played 77 games and scored just 5 goals. He is a midfielder and an attacking one – that can also play out wide – and he has scored just 5 goals over two seasons. We have tabled – reportedly – an £18.5 million bid for this player, who also has one England cap. He has never played in Europe and has not yet even made an impression when playing against one of the big sides.
Contrast this with a player reportedly on offer for £500,000 less, Valencia’s Juan Mata, and you can see why I’m a little concerned about the amount we’re prepared to pay. Mata, by contrast, is barely 3 years older than Henderson, has played over 170 times for Valencia with 46 goals to his name. He has also played 11 times for the best national side in the world, scoring 4 goals. He has played a further 38 games for Spain at various youth levels, scoring 21 times. Now if anybody believes (and can also prove) that the Englishman is greater value for money then I will happily retract my statement and eat my hat.
Similarly, I have read today via the official LFC site that Ipswich have refused an £8 million bid for their young striker Connor Wickham. They believe that they are entitled to about £2 million more and I can see why, after all he has scored an intimidating 15 goals in 72 appearances for Ipswich. In the Championship. Now, I appreciate that I may sound overly harsh, he is after all only 18 years old and it’s impressive in the sense that he’s playing regularly in the Championship and has been since he was 16. But £10 million? For an 18 year old that has scored 15 goals in his whole career so far? I’m sorry but British or not; ‘home-grown’ or from the Isle of Sandwich, that fee is positively extortionate. In January, we spent just over double that on a proven Uruguayan international that had scored over 140 goals in his career by the age of 24 – Luis Suarez.