Saturday, 21 January 2012

Splashing the cash

Today is going to be a more exciting day than usual for CTFC fans as we should get our first look at new signing Jermaine McGlashan.
I first heard of our interest in him on Wednesday and - to be honest - never thought it would happen this quickly, firstly as there were other clubs interested and also because we would have had to pay money for him.
But Paul Baker and Mark Yates have managed to pull the deal off, and now we can look forward to the prospect of a player who has impressed twice against us this season lining up in Ruby!

How much has he cost?
The fee has been called 'undisclosed' which happens most of the time these days.
My theory on that is that I think clubs don't want to admit how much they have paid for a player as they are worried they will get stick if the signing does not work out.
Also, they might want to relieve the pressure on the player a little, so fans don't expect him to be a world-beater straight away.
The selling club also like it kept quiet so their fans don't think they have sold the player on the cheap, or they don't want other clubs to know they have now got lots of money, so any deals for targets they want will see the price go up, and the same for fans who see they have a windfall and expect it to be spent.
However, there can be no doubt that we have broken our transfer record, which was £50,000 for both Brian Wilson and Grant McCann, as he is a young player and had 16 months left on his Aldershot contract.
The figure I have heard is £75,000, which is a significant chunk of the Spurs money - and we have given him a two and a half year contract, so add the wages on top for that length of deal, and the whole package could set us back around £250,000.
That all adds up to a significant investment by Paul Baker and the board and a real sign that they want to take the club to the next level - it's a bit of a shock too, as Paul said he didn't expect us to pay a fee this month...!
We paid small fees for Sido Jombati and Wes Thomas, and used to pay fees regularly under Steve Cotterill, mainly to Hereford, but the last player we paid a 'significant' fee for was the £25,000 John Ward shelled out on Paul Connor.
Some fans I think are more excited about the signing just because we have paid a transfer fee, but it is no guarantee that the signing will work out in the long run.
For every Kayode Odejayi, Wilson, McCann and Neil Grayson who we have paid money for, there is a Hugh McAuley, Antony Griffin and Connor, who did not prove to be unqualified successes at Whaddon Road...

Is he any good?
On the evidence of the two games he has played against us for Aldershot, yes he is.
Up at the Rec, he was the game's outstanding player in the Shots' 1-0 win, and his display that day probably went some way to losing Danny Andrew his place in the side as he took him to the cleaners.
He set up the goal for Michael Rankine and also hit the bar.
Then, last weekend, he was also influential and was again Aldershot's best performer but his efforts were in vain as the Shots had absolutely no presence in the box at all.

Are Aldershot fans upset to lose him?
Yes and no it seems.
On Twitter, @RisingPhoenix said "He isn't all that - has pace & looks dangerous, but NO end product. Would be happy to get some cash for him."
Whether that is sour grapes, I don't know, and he added: "He runs fast & looks dangerous, but falls over a lot & rarely scores/assists. Like him tho, so I wish him well."

Is he what we need?
Yes I think so.
The one position in the side where we have looked a bit weak is on the right flank.
Josh Low's performances have been, by and large, a bit disappointing and we have used a striker, Jimmy Spencer or Darryl Duffy, out of position, so it will be good to have a natural player in that position.
A right-sided version of Kaid Mohamed is what most fans think we have been short of, and so it seems that is what we have got.

Will he fit into the system?
I don't see why not.
He will give us balance on the right hand side, which will be key, and give us a real threat down that side of the pitch.
He is quick, can beat a man, and can get crosses in, so the key to his success will be whether there is anyone on the end of those crosses.
It also gives Mark Yates some interesting dilemmas.
His arrival probably sounds the death knell for Josh Low as a regular starter, and pushes Junior Smikle further down the list, and if we keep the system we have used so successfully, one of Jimmy Spencer and Darryl Duffy will miss out.
My slight worry is that neither of them will be able to convert the crosses which will come in, and if McGlashan gets down the flank, that the support in the box might be a bit sporadic.
To be honest, I would say Jeff Goulding is the best player in the squad for getting on the end of crosses, especially in the air - hence hy I would like us to go for a big striker.
It would be a shame if the arrival of McGlashan meant a change of system to 4-4-2 as I don't feel that would work - I would hope we stay with the system we have as it has been so successful.
As for the player himself, his success will also be judged on how he buys into the work ethic that exists in the squad.
The spirit in the dressing room is the best it has been for years I hope McGlashan fits into that.

Is that it for the window?
I suspect not. As I said above, I would like us to try and bring in a big, powerful forward to give us a different option in games, and the goalkeeping situation is still a small concern for me.
Scott Brown has done well recently but what if he gets injured or makes a major rick...? I am sure we are still monitoring the Jack Butland situation but I would hope there are other irons in the fire in case that door remains closed.

In summary, this is an exciting signing as sends out a big statement not only to our fans but also to our rivals at the top of the table that we mean to do everything we can to stay up there and really go for it.
I am confident that we have not over-stretched ourselves financially due to the FA Cup money, and I know the board have learned their lessons after the Allen shenanigans.
My final hope is that the fans give him time to settle in.
He might not hit the straps straight away as he settles into the club, gets to know his team-mates and the system and so on.
As a winger and a real flair player, he might have on days and off days - I can see him being a player who might have one good game in three or four so I hope the fans have patience with him and don't write him off if he has a bad game or two.

Finally, as Jermaine McGlashan came in, we heard of the departure to Bath of Andy Gallinagh.
It is always sad to see a player go, especially one who we have nurtured through the youth system, and Andy always gave everything for the club and really played for the shirt every time he went out there.
He played in several different positions and always gave it his all, and I wish him good luck in the future.
Thanks for your efforts Andy.