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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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sandywelsh added 12:25 - Jan 13
Well said Nick. I also think signing Brandon Williams would be a big mistake. Why would we want to pay a 20 year old with little experience £65k a week. We are more likely to get young defender from a lower league as cover for Ryan Bertrand.
5

SaintNick added 12:27 - Jan 13
I think that Vokins is adequate cover or using Jack Stephens there, we could also revert to a back three and use the likes o Redmond, Armstrong or Walcott as wing backs
2

felly1 added 12:40 - Jan 13
If we are genuinely interested in signing him, would it be the case that he would agree to come here on greatly reduced wages on the promise of first team football?
0

halftimeorange added 13:33 - Jan 13
Why did Brandon recently sign for another three years with little prospect of first team football and now he allegedly wants to leave? That doesn't make sense unless his pay packet ruled his head at the time and now he's had a rethink. There will be better and cheaper options elsewhere for Saints.
5

WestSussexSaint added 13:43 - Jan 13
The key to this is what Bertrand does in respect of signing a new contract. If he does sign and does so soon then I agree that signing Williams doesn’t make a lot of sense as realistically Bertrand will remain no 1 left back for the next couple of years. By then Vokins should have either proven he is ready to step up or we decide he isn’t and go for a direct replacement in Williams or another at that time.

If Bertrand isn’t going to sign or delays to the point that forces Saints hand then bringing in Williams on loan and phasing him into the squad and the first team for the rest of this season makes sense. It replicates the approach taken with KWP. If at the end of the season Williams has proved himself Saints can negotiate a permanent deal with Man U. And say goodby to Bertrand.

1

derbydog added 13:44 - Jan 13
I see it a shot across the bows to Ryan Bertrand to sign his effin’ contract as there is a plan B in place, or pretending to be in place. Williams and his money make complete sense of Bertie isn’t staying.
0

underweststand added 14:18 - Jan 13
If we are interested in Williams, then I wonder where we have watched him play..in PL2 ?
Apparently... he has had very little game time at MU, and in all honesty I was highly unimpressed watching him play in an FA cup game last week.
He looked totally pi**ed off and didn't play like a "Ralph-type" talent. Of course it was only one game, and maybe he looked better when he was scouted by.... whoever?
Much of the article revolves around his ridiculous salary, I think it would be an insult to the rest of our squad if we employ him as a "second-string " full back at that pay grade.
4

SaintNick added 14:56 - Jan 13
I cant see the point of phasing him in if there is no realistic chance of signing him, given his experience etc his valuation is only about the same as KWP, I can see him dropping something like 35-40k a week.

Forget football if he stays at Old Trafford he earns something like £13.5 million whether he makes it or not, if he suffers a career ending injury he still gets the money, if he leaves and takes half the wages at Saints or elsewhere then he will only get half that, complete financial security is what the question is here, he will stay at Old Trafford unless he gets £65 k a week

1

bornonthemiltonroad added 17:16 - Jan 13
I think this is more Man U pushing for a loan deal as they’ve realised they’ve got a third option player on 65K, I ask myself is he actual that good? He’s definitely not 65K good! He may well be in 5 years time but not at the moment. So Saints could be using the fact that poor Man U need to get him out on loan in order to get RB to sign. Saints won’t take him on those wages, maybe pay half of them for a season and if he did come he would have to drop way down the money list for all the reason Nick suggests. Then again there is the fact that he’s actually right footed but plays mainly on the left, if he’s just as capable on the right then he could be doubly valuable especially as YV hasn’t quite cut the mustard. 🤔
0

Blue added 21:43 - Jan 13
You do realise that a lot of the time, the club the player goes to, doesn't pay all the wages, right?

I'd expect Saints to pay around half those wages, should he go to St. Mary's.
1


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