• Why clubs shouldn't sell their best players - even in this crazy market

    For Premier League clubs, the transfer market is a complete minefield. Even with an occasional injection of funds from a big sale, it’s extremely difficult to get recruitment right. How many times have we seen clubs sell their big stars, with the aim to reinvest the cash in the squad and strengthen the team as a whole, only for the majority of the dosh to end up wasted on overpriced mediocrity?

    Whilst previously it was mostly strikers and exciting attacking players that commanded extortionate fees, each position has undergone a silly-money transformation. Full-backs now regularly go for £50 million, following Man City’s 2017 summer spending spree. Goalkeepers were relatively underappreciated - until Liverpool spent an unprecedented £65 million on Alisson. Less than a month later, Chelsea splashed out £71 million on Spanish stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga. And now center-backs; Van Dijk for £75 million, Emeric Laporte for £57 million, and now Manchester United have made a huge £70 million bid for Leicester’s Harry Maguire…but this still falls short of Leicester’s valuation.

    Basically, the world has gone a bit mad. An endless pit of TV money has been pumped into the game, and the market has not been able to cope. There’s no shortage of money, but for many clubs, there is definitely a shortage of required quality. Everyone wants to improve their squad and climb up the football ladder. So, how best to do this?

    I propose, that even with the prospect of receiving hugely inflated fees, clubs should avoid selling their top players. Whilst the logic of ‘sell high, buy for less’ may seem watertight, the strategy is doomed to fail. An endless cycle of treading water, one step back and one step forward at best, or a destabilising disaster at worst. In times gone past, it was extremely difficult for clubs to say no if a bigger club with substantial financial weight came in for one of their stars. And often, it could be a great opportunity to reinvest the fee in their squad at large and improve overall. Now, the margins to do this successfully are dangerously thin.

    Simply, in football you are trying to assemble the best possible team, and best possible squad possible, in order to achieve success. Using Brighton as an example, our mid/long term goal is to become an established Premier League side, to finish in the top ten semi-regularly. To achieve this, our starting XI requires improvement.

    Quite extensive surgery. Maybe if we were to sell one of our stars for a big fee, that could allow us to start building works on assembling the rest of our team…
    There is a definite allure to letting key players go, with the promise of a beautiful philosophy: bringing together an equally-distributed quality TEAM where you’ve reinvested intelligently, and grown as a football club. No one likes seeing players go, but in the constant clamour for progress, often fans see great benefit with selling your cash cow, and using the received magic beans to transform the team with wholesale improvements.

    The risk with this is astronomical. For example, take our most highly prized asset, Lewis Dunk. There was a bit of a stir caused on Twitter when it was suggested that Albion could demand as much as £40 million. Surely he’s worth at least half as much as Harry Maguire?
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