Thursday, 1 February 2018

Well, well, no buyer for Konsa

The January transfer window closed yesterday with Ezri Konsa remaining at the Valley. That was the big surprise given every expectation in the run-up to January. It shouldn't be a huge surprise given that Ademola Lookman wasn't sold in the Summer of 2016 when I believe an offer was made. Instead, it was considered too small and we held our nerve which resulted in a significantly bigger deal in January.

However, the circumstances around the proposed sale of Konsa have different; Duchatelet is clearly on an exit strategy, Konsa has the first-team experience Lookman lacked in the Summer of 2016 and big Karl Robinson has been telling us for several months about the inevitably of Lookman going with Everton strongly linked as repeat purchasers. 

The simple view that Duchatelet would sell and pocket an extra chunk of cash is a tad naive in a sale situation where clearly he is a major asset on the balance sheet, although with a big gap in expectations on club value, selling him to cut that gap was a consideration.

Konsa has established himself in the side and was part of the same England U20 side as Ademola Lookman that won the World Cup last year. Being a defender and not a striker, his value was always going to be less but a £5m estimation has been bandied about as part of a done deal for a long time. 

That leaves us with Karl's touting of him, which could be just Robinson's natural over-speak when he always wants to look like he is ahead of the pack as well as always seeking to provide a bit of controversy. More disappointingly is the prospect that Robinson was encouraged to talk-up a move for Konsa by Duchatelet because he wanted the money. Maybe there was no directive from the absentee owner - after all he seemed unaware we had few options to the tired Magennis upfront when approached for a short-term loan of Leon Best. Robinson might have seen that as the way to a percentage of the fee to bring in several more players which might have strengthen his options. Time will, no doubt, tell.

Not to break with history and tradition, there were two outgoing players yesterday. Aaron Barnes, a youth stalwart who has played well at every level up to his 20 years has been released on a free transfer to Colchester United. Always a tough decision and one that Aaron should be boosted to know that we often get wrong! I have watched several excellent Colchester players on loan at Welling this season, so it says something that they rate one of ours so highly to take him. The other news was the loan of Ahearne-Grant to Crawley Town. I have been harsh on KAG here in the past and said he's not good enough for us, although I should have been generous and said that too much has been expected of him at his age. A classic case of playing him too early, too often but a consequence of only having one experienced striker on the club's books. Robinson is saying it's a good move and that KAG is the future of the club. I'll stick my neck out and say he isn't and that he will move on in short order.

Oxford United shouldn't present too big an obstacle at the Valley on Saturday when we should get a glimpse of Kaikai and Zyro. My advice is to temper your expectations on both of those and hope to be pleasantly surprised. I will be following updates from Cardiff where Scotland kick-off their latest 6 Nations campaign in what should be a very close affair (cue Wales by 20 points).

Finally, a 'get well' wish to fellow-Blogger Wyn Grant whose latest post tells us he is "seriously ill in hospital." That obviously doesn't sound good but hopefully is getting the treatment he needs in good time and will be back with his regularly punchy updates soon as well as his observations of his very varied life and travels.

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