Just sayin'

Published: Sunday, 25 June 2017

So much has happened since we last shared a few words together. I thought we'd best catch up with some of it or my next blog is going to have to be a monster!

I noticed a line that the Premier League is 25 years old. 25! It's incredible. It's formation brought about a sizemic change the likes of which football had never previously seen - a real revolution. It's largely been evolution ever since - mostly under the brilliant leadership of Richard Scudamore. If there has ever been a brighter, smarter sports administrator than Richard I can't think of him/her.

Every TV deal that's agreed the doom mongers tell us 'that's it, the bubble will burst soon'. No sign of it though is there?

So the spending goes on and there's no sign of it relenting either. So far, City have spent £133m on three full-backs alone! Is it sustainable? According to Scudamore it is 'The most important thing is player costs as a percentage of turnover,' he says. Adding 'We're down in the early 60 per cents and we were much higher 10 years ago. Sixty per cent of turnover spent of player costs is actually very manageable.' Fair point. Interesting as well. So the truth is the transfer market hasn't 'gone mad' at all.

I repeat, there's a lot more spending to come before the window 'slams shut' (Why does the window always 'slam shut' Jim? Why can't it just close?) but who's done the best business so far? Let's use the old boxing adage 'pound for pound' as our barometer. So forget the big money spent - let's have a look round for the bargains.

Here's my top 4, in reverse order.

4. Chicharito. He's a proven goal scorer and at just 29 there's plenty yet to come from him. He's just what West Ham have needed for a good while now. If he delivers as I expect he'll become as popular in the East End as the likes of McAvennie, Robson and even Cottee. He's a class act.

3. Andy Robertson. Having said the Hammers have needed someone like Chicharito for a good time, Liverpool have been desperate for a left back since Brendan Rodgers tried to sign Ryan Bertrand. The then 'transfer committee' at Anfield killed the deal because Bertrand didn't fit their 'profile'. Rodgers ended up with Moreno, who he didn't want because he couldn't defend. That's why Rodgers always played a 3 at the back. Milner did brilliantly as a left-back last season, but what a difference it's going to make to Liverpool now having a naturally left footed player in that position - who can also defend. A 23-year-old current international for £8m - its real value for money.

2. Joe Hart. IF the real Joe Hart turns up West Ham have got a steal. Hart is prone to mistakes, especially on his left side, but what keeper doesn't make mistakes? In my book he's still better than anything, and I mean anything, that City have tried to replace him with. I mentioned before that it wasn't just his ability that Guardiola was judging when he threw him out, he thought Hart was too big a character in the City dressing room. West Ham can use that to their advantage.

Before I mention my best value for money - so far - just one thing about West Ham's business this summer. For the first time since Big Sam brought in Nolan and Carroll, the manager seems to have been making the decisions about how to spend the money.

One of the 'evolutions' in the P Lge these past 25 years had been the 'transfer committee' - the Director of Football - the Sporting Director - the 'busy' owner who wants to buy players and then decide who plays. West Ham have been in the latter category for a long time now. I've never understood their transfer policy. With the occasional exception, they've continually signed 28-year-old duds for £8-£12m on 3-year-deals, which have always been allowed to run down, leaving the player to walk away for nothing. Ok, the initial outlay wasn't much, but it is when there's no sell on value. Bilic appears to have changed that philosophy this summer. Good on him.

1. Wayne Rooney. Brilliant Everton. Brilliant. I like a whole lot Everton's business so far - and I know they're not done yet. I smiled when I saw Jamie Carragher (or whoever it is that operates his Twitter account) trolling Everton fans to this effect 'quite a day when Everton sign 5 players and not one of them would get in Liverpool's first team'. What? The keeper would walk in. So would Michael Keane. So would Rooney (so too would Gylfi Sigurdsson, who I believe they'll eventually land).

Rooney is a terrific leader. He's determined to prove he hasn't gone back to Goodison to retire. He's only 31. He hasn't played for 12 months so there's plenty left in the tank. I wouldn't be surprised to see him back in an England squad at some stage this season. Nor would I be surprised to see Everton finish in a Champions League place.

In closing - just one last thing. On the day Rooney re-signed I read that it was the most exciting day at Goodison since Gary Lineker signed back in the 80's. That got me thinking - because in my view the two most influential signings Everton ever made were Peter Reid and Andy Gray - Evertonians know the rest of the history.

In '85 Everton won the title with Gray, Sharp and Heath scoring 41 league goals between them. Gray left at the end of that season.

In '86 Lineker scored 30 league goals - and 10 more in other competitions. Everton won nothing. Lineker went to Barcelona.

In '87 Everton won the title again with Sharp, Heath, Sheedy and Steven scoring 48 goals between them.

As the great man Links might put it 'just sayin'.