Goldy’s Logic: Wolves and the £14m Fletcher buy – greed or hard bargaining?

Jake salutes the golden prose

NB. Stop Press: Have we, haven’t we? A tweet which may or may not have been a spoof suggested he was ours, or nearly, Wolves having accepted a ludicrously high bid of £14m for Steven Fletcher – good player, no fault of his that football is bonkers but that would make him worth almost as much as PSG paid for Ibrahimovic. It may be complete nonsense, of course. Much dust has still to settle …

Every club will get away with it as long as they can. Sunderland were happy enough to take megabucks for Jordan Henderson, good player and excellent longer-term prospect that he is. Spurs are past masters of the art of extracting ridiculous money for players they sense the would-be buyer wants more than they need to sell. Even so, the Steven Fletcher saga is extraordinary. Wolves have held out for a world-beater fee, with the risk of getting nothing, for a useful player most would value at £5-7m. Before the questionable rumours suggesting we had got what we wanted and so had they, Stephen Goldsmith, a known admirer, had chatted about it to Thomas from the Wolves Blog

Thomas: Hi Goldy. I suppose the first obvious question is what do you think of the player? Are you as keen as Sunderland appear to be to see Fletcher arrive? Do you think he’s the man to replace Darren Bent’s goals?


I have admired Steven Fletcher for quite a while now. He’s one of these players, certainly from an outside perspective, where you maybe don’t notice him initially but then once you do you wonder how he’s off the radar of most of the Premier League clubs. Since his double against us last year and the impressive work rate displayed, particularly for his second in that game, I have watched with admiration how he appears to finish most of the chances that come his way. With McClean and Larsson flanking him, I could see him become prolific here, absolutely. I was delighted when it became apparent we were after him.

Yes, I think his goal/chance ratio must be right up there with the best. We put a lot of crosses into the box last year, but they weren’t always of the best quality and often when teams had chance to get man back and re-group. He scores all types of goals too, which is nice. A lot has been made of his heading ability, but he’s actually incredibly skillful and light on his feet. I don’t want to use the term ‘complete striker’ but he’s certainly got a bit of everything. Blimey, even I’m beginning to think he’s worth £15 million! Speaking of which, what about the fee? Looks like Wolves are holding out for the full 15 million smackers. That’s a massive slab of dosh isn’t it? I thought £10-12 million was a fair price myself.

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It’s surprising and disappointing that Wolves had turned down £12m for him. People here have generally been split over that particular sum to start with, never mind anything more. A lot of people see a player from a relegated club and automatically associate that with the assumption that any of their players must be rubbish. All clubs possess these small minded fans, however, and the consensus amongst the rest of us is that he will change the whole dynamics of our side. We have had a poor pre-season and the main reason for that is that we appear to have played a system without the focal point necessary to make it work- i.e the centre forward who can hold and finish. A proven Premier League player providing this will always cost over £10m. Maybe Wolves know this and know how badly we need him.

I think that’s exactly it. Wolves know how badly you want the player. They’ve set their stall out to get the full amount and don’t see a reason to budge. It’s now just a case of who blinks first. I would have been happy with £12 million. In fact, I wouldn’t have slated the club for selling at £10 million. What do you make of this tug-of-war between the two clubs? Fletcher handing in a transfer request? I suppose it’s just the way high-profile transfers are conducted nowadays?

It appears to be standard these days that clubs have to think of their own PR when conducting deals publicly. I always sensed Fletcher would hand in a request to force a move. I thought Wolves may go for it then and devoid themselves of any blame. I feel O’Neill has done brilliantly in refusing to talk about it though, and I feel Wolves are simply trying to show their fans they won’t be pushed around. If this goes on any longer it will be even more counter productive, however. It is reflective of men in suits running football clubs that the board fail to see that the manager would rather have the cash in now so he can bed his own new players into the side. Moral and positivity can’t be underestimated in football. How we loved Niall Quinn being in charge here, a real football man.

Thomas from Wolves Blog

Definitely. I think it’s already been counter-productive. Our season starts on Saturday and we’re short in a few areas, despite having vast numbers of average players for most positions. Wolves as a club are definitely guilty, and not just in this instance, of trying to run it like any other business. Football is a business of course, but it’s a unique business where other factors come into play. Like you say, having a football man like Quinn at the top is never a bad idea. Still, while this is ongoing are you concerned another club might swoop in and pay the money?

I was, when figures of £9-10m were being floated around. I think he’d be a great foil for Darren B£nt at Aston Villa. The reason that Villa have B£nt however, makes me conclude that paying over £12m for another striker wouldn’t be in their best interests and I’m not sure they have that kind of money anyway. I feel we will sign him for around £13m and it well be after the season has started. As frustrating for both sets of fans as that is.

That’s definitely the most likely conclusion. I suppose for both teams, the important long-term issue is that when the transfer window shuts, we’ve got our houses in order. Wolves still have plenty of business to do, so it promises to be a long month. What did you make of the talk about Connor Wickham being part of the deal? Were you keen to offload him? Would he be a useful player at Wolves?

Wickham is another who has divided opinion with fans. He came with a big transfer fee and people have sometimes allowed that to cloud their judgement on him. We have some kids who have graduated from the academy who are the bee’s knees in some fans’ eyes but Connor is even younger than them. He was starting to look handy before he was injured last season and he looked very decent in our games when we played in South Korea a couple weeks back. He’s extremely raw but he’s an O’Neill kind of forward and i think he will come good. If you got him i feel it would be on loan only and he’d be more than capable in the Championship. More realistically, I feel Frazier Campbell may be one more mediocre performance away from being offered permantley in any deal. He could be a real star in the right environment and he probably needs a fresh start somewhere.

Very interesting. We’ve of course got Doyle, Ebanks-Blake and two other new signings, so I think our reluctance to take on another striker is probably hampering the deal as much as anything else. Lets just hope it gets sorted out sooner rather than later. In the meantime. You’ve also been linked with our forward come left-back Stephen Ward. What do you think about that deal? He’s certainly a good outlet going forward from deep positions, but defensively he’s been found out on numerous occasions. Interested?

Reports today that appear to discount any interest in Stephen Ward have been met with a huge sigh of relief. With all due respect to the player, we are surely in a position to attract better players than that standard. I couldn’t see any positive spin on the speculation that he was being chased by us, not by anybody. All the best for the season in an ever improving Championship. I hope the actions of your board aren’t to the detriment of both of our sides for much longer.

Thanks Goldy. Good luck for the season and in the remaining days/weeks of this saga.

Stephen Goldsmith considers the right price for Fletcher

16 thoughts on “Goldy’s Logic: Wolves and the £14m Fletcher buy – greed or hard bargaining?”

  1. I hope you’re right, Jeremy. Certainly, MON is known for playing his cards close to his chest. Aiden McGeady maybe, or Jermain Defoe? O’Neill certainly knows all about McGeady and he wouldn’t have an eight-digit price tag. Defoe’s more doubtful, partly because of the old WAG shopping-in-the-north bugaboo.
    Meanwhile, the rumours are still flying that the Fletcher deal has gone through, for the full £15 million, subject to a medical on Thursday.

  2. I don’t think it’s a done deal and I also don’t think he’s worth anything like 15M either Bill. O’Neill has to be looking at other options now. He’s very experienced with transfers so I doubt all of his eggs are in this particular basket, even if it’s the only story the media have latched upon. Why would they sell asks the Wolves fan? Simply because Fletcher doesn’t want to stay. Irrespective of what Moxey says or how long a contract may be, once the player decides to go, the move is inevitable. The only question is how much bad blood builds in the interim.

  3. I agree with what Colin said on my post earlier today that Fletcher’s not worth this much money. But, having gone to £12 million, I don’t think there’s any way O’Neill can refuse to pay the extra £3 million (or 2 mill is if he’s able to bargain Wolves down at all) and walk away. If he doesn’t buy Fletcher, there’s not much time for him to shop around for someone else. And how much choice would he have? Not a lot at this stage.
    This one is a done deal, I think. We just have to hope it happens sooner rather than later and that Fletcher lives up to expectations.
    And maybe when the January window opens O’Neill should be a little less conservative than last time. Even with Fletcher on board, the squad will not be as strong as it should be.

  4. I think I need to add a wolves fan prospective to all this. Fletcher is our best player – so why all of a sudden do we need to sell at the price Sunderland wants for him. We do not need the money and we certainly could do with Fletcher to help us up the championship. Yes things went badly for us last season but this can happen to many clubs. Many sunderland fans would call it greed. I call it necessity. We don’t want Fletcher to leave so if Sunderland play it out until the end of the transfer window, then knowing Jez he won’t agree to a sale and will ask Fletcher to agree to continue as his contract allows him to.


    • We have had wantaway players turn out for us. You don’t want that, believe me. The money is a much better option. If you fail to go up this year then he will be worth a lot less and of lot less value to yourselves.

  5. Why do you think O’neill keeps on mounting bids on Fletcher? Because he wants a striker of the same calibre as Fletcher, someone that can execute crosses. He’s one of the best headers in brittain. There are few other alternatives: Crouch and Carroll, but few others.

  6. Oh my word, £15 mil? Is he that good? If he was, then the other prem clubs would surely be in the mix too? Wolves are acting like Spurs with Modric. Not really wanting to sell at all unless silly money is bounded about. True, we just sold Gyan and Henderson and from that we would expect to see some reinvestment. And we desperately need a striker. No offence to Campbell who is still recovering and Ji and Wickham, but we need a proven goalscorer. Perhaps even two with Defoe’s name being mooted. (he’ll probably not leave London though to be honest.) Truth is, we need to do something as our pre-season results show. If that means Fletcher for £14m then we have to bite the bullet hard.

  7. We’ll see how long this stand off lasts when Fletcher makes a stand, which he undoubtedly will. We couldn’t prevent Bent from going when his head was turned and this one’s no different. Fletcher wants to go and they are refusing to sell. The selling club never can hold on to the player in these circumstances. Wolves are over stepping their safety zone with this one as we may well move on to another target, and they will be left with an unhappy player who still wants away with nobody wanting to buy him. Moxey may think he’s in the driving seat but he’s fooling himself. Nobody is knocking at his door but us.

  8. If ‘greed’ is wanting to play in the Premier League then it is no longer sufficient to use the term when describing players such as Bent and Gyan.

  9. Greed or Hard Bargaining? Neither – merely a reluctance to sell. In order to overcome this, Sunderland will have to pay more than he’s worth. If they aren’t willing to do this, he remains Wolves’s Player – it’s as simple as that. The only greed on show is Fletcher’s, trying to force the issue with a transfer request.

  10. £12m maybe rising to £14m would be fair to me, but as someone who disliked Peter Reid’s stance with perspective recruits it’s hard to begrudge a manager that IS prepared to pay what it takes to get his man. I think he’d be a really good fit for us. Also, Defoe anyone?

    • I like Defoe and he’ll get us goals. Doesn’t look like a MON type player to me though to be honest. He prefers big, stocky hold-up-the-ball types.

  11. Good read. It’s about time we started focusing our attention elsewhere. We’re desperate for strikers and if Wolves want £15m I think that’s far too much. Surely their are strikers further afield that are worth a punt?!

    I can’t help but think the Wolves board are over-compensating for their failure to bring in a manager once they got rid of Mick Mac. Had they appointed a capable manager last season they had more than enough time to turn things around.

    They now risk holding onto Fletcher, failing to secure promotion and having to part with him for a considerably lower price next season.

  12. I really hope Sunderland finally has grasped it: The cat’s can’t get him for below 15 millions. Wolves are not desperate to sell, it is a club with ambitions. It’s so damn comical. They are gonna launch that bid – why wait until the day before the transfer window closes.

    Fletcher in form reminds me a lot of Jurgen Klinsman. He’s a complete forward, except he isn’t the fastest footballer.

    • Karlir, Fletcher is no better than Asamoah Gyan and he was over-valued at £13m. I think your head is in the clouds if you honestly believe Flecther is worth £15m.

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