Southampton Pursuit Of Manchester United Defender Reveals Financial Gulf Between The Clubs
Wednesday, 13th Jan 2021 11:34
Saints are again being linked with a move for Manchester United full back Brandon Williams, but the chase to sign him has revealed just how difficult it is for Saints to compete against the Big Six clubs when it comes to wages.
The pursuit of Brandon Williams back in the summer and again now in the January transfer window according to the media on the face of it appears strange. Especially as it is said to only be a loan move.
Williams wants to leave Old Trafford for game time having fallen down to 3rd place in the left back pecking order, but would he get that game time at St Mary's ? I can't understand why Saints would want to bring him in just for a few months unless they were trying to secure a permanent deal at the end of it.
Current Saints left back Ryan Bertrand is at 31 approaching the tail end of his career, but this season his form has been outstanding, when he has been missing Jack Stephens was an adequate replacement and there is of course the promising Jake Vokins.
Bertrand though is in the last year of his contract and so far hasn't agreed a new deal, from that perspective I can see why Saints are interested in Williams as a replacement, but I cannot see the point on a loan deal, would we just drop Bertrand for the final half of the season ?
Williams will not come cheap, we would presumably have to at least cover his wages and as he is on £65k a week, paying out somewhere around £1.5 million for a back up full back, does not make financial sense especially as Saints have just released the accounts for last year, that like all football clubs do not make good reading due to the current Covid 19 situation.
But the fact that Brandon Williams a player whose Premier League career so far stands at 11 starts and 7 appearances as sub is on £65k a week, a four year deal signed at the start of this season, shows what Saints have to compete against when signing players, especially players of the quality to take on the likes of United and challenge for Top 6 places.
At St Mary's at the start of this season there were only four players earning £65k a week or more, Romeu (£65k) Fraser Forster (£70k) ironically the man Ings is being tipped to replace Ryan Bertrand on £70k and topping the list on £75k Danny Ings.
Saints combined wage bill for their current squad is around £800k per week according to Spotrac.
Contrast that with Manchester United whose top three earners earn £915k between them, if Danny Ings was a United player on his current salary he would be the 19th highest paid player in their squad.
This is what we are up against and it tells you why the likes of Luke Shaw and Morgan Schneiderlin were quick to hot foot it to Old Trafford.
So if Brandon Wlliams does arrive at St Mary's on loan he will go from 24th highest paid player at United to joint 4th highest paid player at St Mary's despite his lack of experience, indeed he will find that he earns more than Michael Obafemi, Yan Valery, Jake Vokins, Will Smallbone & Nathan Tella put together.
So the real truth of the matter is that I would be surprised if we got Williams on loan, due to the fact that not only would he struggle to get game time with the form Bertrand is in, but also because I cannot see that we would be able to offer him a permanent transfer going forward due to his wages.
He has only recently signed the deal, so there is another 3 years to run after this season, would he be willing to give up that security ?
Would we really want to match his wages at Old Trafford when he has so little experience and if we did it would set a dangerous precedent, our success is built on buying players of Williams age and experience and paying them around a third of the money that he is on, but with the incentive of success earning them improved deals, as has been the case with several of our squad of late.
If a 20 year old who has barely played a Premier League game breezes in and gets £65k a week, many of the squad will soon be knocking on the managers door and asking what is going on.
Signing Brandon Williams even on loan would be a costly mistake, not just in terms of how much we would pay per game, but because of the unrest it would cause in the squad, I'm sure that Brandon Williams is a nice fella and I don't begrudge him earning what he can get United to pay him, but truth is we can't pay him that and it could disrupt the dressing room spirit when senior pros find themselves sitting next to a kid earning more.
Photo: Action Images
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