Friday, 1 February 2019

Duchatelet doesn't disappoint the doubters

We entered this January transfer window in the Meire-fabled position of a side competing well in the division with ambitions for promotion. This was always her mantra that she used to explain Roland Duchatelet's approach to ambition, investment and promotion in particular. It was also intended to be a trigger moment to invest or even speculate in the window in an attempt to get promoted.

Five successive January windows have failed to see any net improvement in the squad and most have been articulated by cashing in of the most saleable assets and replacement with free transfers or loanees who typically haven't filled the void left.

So, as we entered into January there appeared to be a split in the fanbase over what would happen between the cynical anti-Duchatelet supporters of the club who knew what to expect and those who thought that Duchatelet had now seen some light with a possible sale and perhaps a possible window of investment in the hope of being able to sell a Championship side at an improved price etc.

Indeed, the early moves to replace the keeper we needed (Maxwell to replace Steer), the injury-hit left-back situation (Purrington) and the surprise signing of Williams to bolster the also injury-hit midfield looked promising. We all knew that an additional goal-scorer was needed to provide cover for Taylor and Grant and the decision to offload Ajose set the pulses racing that we were going to strengthen here too. 

Sadly, Taylor's dismissal during the Accrington match meant we were in additional short-term need, not only for his three match ban but also because another booking before the end of March would see him face an additional two game suspension for having accumulated ten yellow cards. As if to compound matters interest in Karlan Grant intensified. Bowyer told us he was confident the kid would stay but with only six months left on his contract before he became a free agent, there was a clear risk that Duchatelet would once again cash-in. Brentford has reputedly offered a £1m which was clearly a tempter and then the desperate Huddersfield Town emerged with more money.

In the last week of the window Bowyer was forced to tell us that Grant might indeed leave but that he and Steve Gallen had four possible replacements in the wings and that hoped to bring two in. Grant went for £2m in a deal confirmed on Wednesday but acknowledged done at the weekend, which lead to the eventual last-day nonsense for us, yet again. At this point the cynics knew the game was up. For all that I sat up watching the updates of Luton and Sunderland signing everyone they could and waited for the token Duchatelet contribution.

With 90 minutes to go we got it - Josh Parker from Gillingham - another desperately late looking Joe Dudoo signing. Apparently their current third choice striker (plays as a winger?) and they had earlier signed Ricky Holmes, our last year £1m asset sale in January on a loan deal. The irony was rich. I can't recall Josh Parker but one look at the 28 year old Wiki entry told me why. I also said to myself, "I bet he scored against us last season." That's usually how it works - and so he did.

According to the official site, Bowyer was pleased with the deadline day signing of Parker but he was 'disappointed we couldn't manage to bring another body into the building." Apparently we had it lined up but "the other club stopped it last minute because they couldn't get what they wanted." Reading between the lines it looks very much like we may have been relying on getting a last minute deal within our budget which didn't wash but if it was Mo Eisa from bristol City then they chose to hold on as they couldn't get their man in. That would fit with Duchatelet's approach to January and why they have all seen us come out weaker, not stronger. The £2m for Grant was good money ordinarily and hard not take in the circumstances but why not cut Bowyer some slack? Simple really because it's all about the money with Roland which some of our supporters still don't get because they think it's all small beer to him.

So, fingers-crossed our match at Fleetwood is off tomorrow to give us a bit longer towards getting Igor ready again for a handful of matches and perhaps settling Josh Parker in so he can give us his best. Worth remembering Lyle Taylor's call out earlier this month that now was the time for Roland to back his manager. Hard to see how he can't be left personally disappointed that he will start his next game without Grant or even Ajose for the last twenty minutes if needed. 

Perhaps the failure to land someone else may leave a bit more money in the kitty to improve a few deals to get some key contract extensions agreed? If not, the club could see events out-of-their hands come June where we may lose some players we will struggle to replace in terms of quality. Bauer has been clear he will be off and I would now add Lyle Taylor although Duchatelet is always likely to cash in on him anyway given he will attract a decent fee. You wonder who else will have made their minds up yesterday and just what affect this will have on team morale. I would say "in Bowyer we trust" but maybe Lee is also now eyeing his own options up come his contract expiry in June and deciding that he's never going to get the support his abilities have deserved so far under Duchatelet and that he may have already done enough here given the impossible circumstances to merit a better offer elsewhere.

1 comment:

  1. Sciurus Carolinensis Nemesis1 February 2019 at 12:58

    It’s not even about the money, the numbers don’t work whichever way you slice it. Maybe it’s about headcount. But we’ll drive ourselves as mad as the douche bag if we try to rationalise anything this decrepit dillusional onanist decides.


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