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Branston Pickle

Possible Leavers in the Summer....

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I''ve been having a think about whether or not we''ll be able to keep the core of our squad if/when we go down.

To me, it seems certain that relegation would see Francis leaving (if any of the Premier managers know anything, that is!), and also Green  - though I''m not sure that the bigger sides will come in for Green, which may unfortunately affect his transfer fee; he seems to have been at fault rather too often recently: twice at Blackburn, clearances cost goals v WBA and Man City and he appeared at fault for Chelsea''s 3rd. Of course, he''s not been helped by the poor defence, but these mistakes may knock on the head the potential moves to sides of Arsenal/Man U standard, and the thing is that most Premiership sides have good keepers ealready (eg Fulham, Saints etc).

I''m unconvinced that Jonson, Svensson or Helveg will leave, at least for premiership sides - none have proven themselves enough. Sven has only 3 goals in 16 this season and had been doing not a lot at Charlton Reserves before we bagged him whilst in Div 1, Jonson has looked good at times but not scored at all, and Helveg hasn''t really got going but may not want to drop down in standard (maybe a Euro-move on the cards for him?). In all, I think two of them sill stay, and if it is Sven/Jonson I''d be happy.

Otherwise, we are down to the Mulryne''s and McVeigh''s of the squad - I''d be more than happy if they stayed but Green/Francis apart, the players who leave will mainly be ones we decide we don''t particularly ''want'' to keep - this has to be a good thing; if we can keep the core of the side, and strengthen the defence, I reckon we''d have a pretty decent chance!!!!  

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This is a tough one. I think it is 50/50 for both Green and Francis to leave. That is each not both of them together. The reason why I suggest this is quite simple. Look at the teams that are supposedly interested in him.

Charlton: They already have a strong midfield line up. Holland is a quality all-round player even if he is in his early thirties, and Murphy who is also a quality all-rounder who is more of a playmaking player. Both are capable of bagging goals. So I think that what will happen if Francis goes will to be fill the squad out and be a long term replacement for Holland. Saying that Franis is 26 and a couple of years in the reserves may do more harm than good.

Fulham: A rocky boat. Will they stay up or will they go down? Then you look at their midfield. Malbranque, Diop. Again I think both of these players are better than Francis, if only because of the Premiership experience. But they are far better allround players.

And the price is wrong. £3 million may be worth it in our minds but you can get some of the players mentioned above for that sort of money. Charlton would do better to make the same sort of bid for Boa Morte as they dont have an outstanding left winger. Then you have to add that Hughes at Chrystal palace would probably cost less and is a much more complete player. And then Gera at WBA who is again quality. You have to start asking yourself what £3 million can get you.

Also as a player I think Francis will be more inclined to go to a team where he is more likely to get first team action if it is not almost guaranteed. I am confident that he will either stay or move to a club that has had to sell one of their stars. Otherwise Francis is best off sticking with us. First team football, hes on good money (he has just signed a contract extension) and he knows hes a fans favourite. Dont get me wrong, he is class and well up to the standard but clubs will be looking at players within that price range and see what the others offer.

Scoring 7 goals is good for a midfielder but its not more than what many top teams would expect. A good team allways has a midfielder that bags more goals than the others. Man U has Scholes, Arsenal have Pires/Ljungerg, Chelsea have Lampard, Liverpool have Gerrard . . . .

As for Green, again it depends on what price we are asking for and whether the big clubs who pay that sort of price are willing to get him instead of finding a cheaper quality player abroad which Man U have already been linked with. Its all in the balance. I wouldnt accept less than £3 million upfront for either of them. With Green it would be the money plus appearences for England etc. Both with sell on clauses.


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