Gray to Bristol City?

So as I find myself writing another blog on Andre Gray and the long running transfer saga it would appear that the deal is all but done and he has signed for Bristol City. The numbers being touted around are astronomical and if we are to receive the 9 Million that is being quoted than I guess you could say that we have come out of this as the winners. However there is a few things to consider before passing judgement on this deal.

As I mentioned in a previous blog “is Gray a Goner?” I consider that Andre has two very different valuations. One that will indicate what his true worth is in footballing terms and the second what his overall value to Brentford a Football Club is and how much it would hurt us if he was to go.

Looking at the first of those I would be bold enough to suggest that he is not worth that figure. Cast your minds back to the last 10-15 games of last season. You saw the best and worst of him inI those games. Watford was magical, his raw pace and power was phenomenal and that goal against Boro in the first leg of the playoffs was brought about by sheer determination and bloody mindedness to not go down without a fight. But for the other side of the coin look no further than Derby County away. The amount of chances and the quality of those that went begging were equally as staggering and in truth, whilst Derby highlighted his inefficiencies in front of goal, the frustrations from the fans came about as a result of a series of sitters being missed and a question mark over body language. So to that end, whilst he will no doubt improve, I am not sure 9 million is a fair reflection of his overall value. The way that some fans have been going on you would think that it is Messi we are selling. But again, as always there is a flip side. He will no doubt improve this year and we have seen already in the two league games that he can be the difference. He is a huge talent but we are getting a good amount for him.

The second thing to consider though is his value to the team. At the start of the pre season, with Odubajo, Douglas, and Dallas all still at the club and with further additions in Gogia, McHechran and Bjelland already through the door and with the promise of extra strikers coming in, if we had sold Gray then, I can absolutely guarantee you that we would not have see this reaction to his sale. But that was then and this is now. We no longer have Dallas, Douglas or Odubajo, we don’t even have Bjelland or McHechran owing to injury and Jota has now joined them on the sidelines. We went into the game with Bristol City with Josh Clarke, Jermaine Udumaga, Courtney Senior and Jack Bonham as our subs (as well as Vibe, O’Conell and Barbet) by anyone’s standards that is not a championship bench and certainly not a promotion challenging one. So I suppose that means that in the current climate, Gray is worth far more to us than 9 million at this time.

Balancing the two things up you have a player that is all but indispensable to us and then another club offering you ridiculous amount for him. When the deal is concluded I think the only way fans will be happy is if a proven goal scorer is brought in as a replacement. Unfortunately that is not in our model and we are much more likely to replace him with a cheaper alternative from abroad. It is well worth noting that had Gray been called Andreas Graytowski than he would probably be worth about 4 Million. The premium put on English players is insane and has on this occasion worked to our benefit.

So where does this leave our season. Some would have you believe that the end is nigh and this time next year we will be facing the likes of Burton and Bradford instead of Birmingham and Middlesborough. The eternal optimists will still tell you that we are going up as the money used to invest will sign the next big thing. I believe the truth is somewhere in between. The club has been saying that the aim is to kick on from last year and push for the Premier League. What I would like now is for some honesty from those at the top and come out and say that as a result of changes made, we now need to reevaluate where we are and look to consolidate. I can’t lie and say that I don’t fear that we could be dragged into a relegation scrap this season, I do feel as if our squad has nowhere near the required depth as yet and we need reinforcements and to shake off this injury curse. If we can do that then we should be fine but I do not fear consolidation either. A lot of fans will tell you it’s a backward step and that finishing 5th last year should mean we have to equal or better that this year. Well, things happen that change that possibility. That’s where we are now, injuries, forced sales and astronomical bids for players have meant the squad is not as strong. To that end, let’s replace with quality, build a solid squad and make sure we are still in this divisions next season, from there the new ground should be a lot closer as should a proper tilt at promotion. There can be doubt that the squad needs reinforcements but just like when Forrester, Forshaw and Donaldson left, the right players came in.

It will need a whole lot of faith and a fair bit of patience but It’s going to be an interesting few days and an even more intriguing season. If nothing else we have the funds to compete for far more talented players that we did this time last year.

Keep the faith

Up the bees

Carl Massey

The BIAS blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed are those of the author and they don’t necessarily represent BIAS policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn’t be attributed to BIAS.