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Monday, 6 June 2016

Is selling Wanyama why Koeman wants to leave?

On the face of it, there is no reason for Ronald Koeman to leave Southampton, yet Dutch reports say he has already agreed terms with Everton.

Southampton are in the UEFA Europa League proper and finished above Everton in the table, Southampton 6th, Everton11th. Players are attracted by European football, firstly the UEFA Champions League, then the UEFA Europa League, money for many is a by-product of that. So you have to ask, why would a manager make such a move?

The answer is suspect lies in the reason Mauricio Pochettino left. Clubs plan ahead and discuss plans for the next window while the current one is going on. The manager has to know immediate strategy and future strategy otherwise he can't plan ahead himself.

Southampton failed to give Pochettino assurances that players wouldn't be sold and that the club would build. He didn't get those assurances according to former players and decided to leave 6 months before he did, he stayed until the end of the season. I wonder if that has happened all over again.

Southampton have a policy (it has been stated by the previously) of not letting players run down their contracts. They look to sell players with 2 years left if they haven't signed a new deal. That maintains their value and allows Southampton to put inflated prices on them, which they did rather successfully last summer. If anyone thinks Luke Shaw was worth £30 million they need their head tested.

I wonder if the same thing is happening? Ronald Koeman does not want Victor Wanyama sold, but that goes against club policy, given he is running his contract down to move and refuses to sign a new one. The manager and club want different things, the board sees players as an investment, a balance sheet number, whereas Koeman, I suspect, see a football team and what is best to grow his current side.

Ronald Koeman already managed to keep Victor Wanyama beyond his Southampton sell-by date, he only has a year left on his contract now and that has already reduced his transfer value. If he is kept now he'll be free next summer. Fans of the club the player currently plays for, in this case, Southampton, usually forget about contract length conveniently and see their players value at its maximum.

However that is a false reality, a players value decreases as his contract gets shorter, much in the same way a car decreases in value as it gets older, it loses 50% of its value as soon as you buy it. Last summer Southampton could slap a £25m price tag on Wanyama, now with a year left that is slashed and next summer, it's nothing. It's the same with Berahino at WBA, he isn't worth anywhere near £25m now with jut a year left, Crystal Palace are reported as being prepared to offer £7m.

If you sign players and let them go for free you are going to struggle, making player  payments with no financial return from them isn't good business practice, especially if the clubs you are competing against are getting a return on any investment. Run your club financially soundly and you'll have more money available when you really need it, until them you slowly build.

Wanyama is probably now worth between £12m-£15m tops, £25m with a year left on his contract is pure fantasy. It mat well be that the Southampton board want to sell Wanyama and Koeman doesn't. Something has to give, it seems that is Koeman, given he has agreed terms elsewhere, according to Dutch sources.

Fans will agree with Koeman, the football team is what matters, but the reality of football now is that business comes first, football success stems from that, although Leicester City have shown everyone what can be done. Sustaining that success is an entirely different story though.

Leicester have achieved and can now use that success to build, they have UEFA Champions League football which makes them more attractive than they would otherwise have been. The football approach is possible they have shown.

That only exacerbates the conflict between a club and its manager. They have to be singing from the same hymn sheet whichever approach they choose. It seems to me that Southampton and Koeman are not.


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