Ok, straight off, the £25M+ for Ben Godfrey is actually a great piece of business by the club and a good potential move for Ben. In 2018 we secured £20M plus add ons for a certain Mr Maddison and whilst we were all sorry to see him go, it was a great fee! Ben is nowhere near the level of Maddison at the point we sold him. Young, talented but still working out his trade (and position). £25M represents a gamble in my opinion especially right now with COVID hugely impacting revenues across the game. His performances, especially since the restart, haven't been exactly great. But, I wish him well. I believe in Hanley, Zimbo and (reportedly) Gibson, we have ready made replacements that can more than fill the void for Godfrey and we still have Klose and Tetty as a make-shift should we get hit with an injury pandemic!
Jamal was also a good piece of business, great promise but little end product for me. Quintilla will prove to be a notch above from what i've seen thus far. So I believe we'd also done good business on that. So, with Jamal and Ben that's £40M banked with add-ons potentially!
That takes us to the remaining assets, Cantwell, Emi and Aarons.
Cantwell had a good spell of 10-12 games in the Premier League and, understandably wishes to ply his trade back in the top flight. Without over analysing it, the rapport between Cantwell and Farke has been noticeably strained for some time. Watch the end of game sequences when players shake hands and Farke wanders on, he and Tod barely make eye contact and there is a noticeable difference in how Farke appears warmer to other NCFC players. Why? I have no idea, but it has been clear especially in the run of games after lockdown.
Cantwell gave us some real highlights in an otherwise very dark season. I personally liked his peacocking, it's after-all, meant to be entertainment and every pantomime needs a villan. So Cantwell goes and I'm cool with it. He isn't essential to our play and if he and Farke are grating on each other then you can bet that is felt throughout the dressing room and training sessions. Move on, circa £15-£20M would be perfect! I wish him well.
Aarons is a different kettle of fish. We don't have a replacement anywhere near his ability fit and available and tested. He's a good lad, ultra professional and gives solid, reliable performances. We would miss him dearly! In the event he is sold, I'd expect a fee to eclipse that of Ben Godfrey. On that basis the club should be hunting for replacement talent for Max that is already established at a top 6 Championship level. We could throw anything up to £10M and we'd still show a great return for the changes should Aarons leave.
This takes us to Emi. undoubtedly the most talented and most valuable player asset we have. To find a player of his ability, who is available, proven and who can dictate tempo and play and carve open opportunities for strikers at our level is a tough call. For me, Dowell was a good signing but he's out for 3 months. Selling Emi would need us to quickly source probably 2 players of similar status to when we unearthed Emi to attempt to cover his should he be sold. It is a very difficult task but at least the funds MUST be made available. Emi should be sold on the basis we can reinvest a significant percentage of the sale fee immediately or a decent established player swap is included. If Ben went for £25M that would suggest, for me, bids in excess of £35M for starters. That, given the current state of the market and the fact Emi isn't Home Grown, is a Hefty price. So i'm 50/50 as to whether any clubs actually have the financial clout to take a punt on Emi against the backdrop of COVID and what will probably mean 6-months with very little match-day revenues.
My gut says Cantwell will be sold, Emi will probably be with us at least until January and Max, that is too close to call.
What ever happens, with the exception of Godfrey, any further sales of the current squad will need like for like replacements if anyone else is sold. I mean quality replacements and not obscure European lower league punts! Do that and we'll be in teh mix this year. We will have:
Krul, Skipp, Quintilla, Dowell, Hernandez, Pukki, Hanley, Zimmerman, Kenny, Idah (looks great) so the spine of a very capable team at Championship Level.