One of the happy upshots of the Bosman Ruling which we have been living with for almost ten years, is the effect it has on players prices near the end of their contract. Take Clinton Morrison (Birmingham wish someone would) the Republic of Ireland striker. Bought for a club record of £4.25 million three years ago, he is certainly not at the end of his playing career. But his contract is up next year, and Birmingham have just realised that if they don’t sell him now, he will go on a free transfer.
Therefore the pack of clubs hovering are in an interesting position. Southampton, Norwich and better the devil you know Crystal Palace have all brandished chequebooks. But are also taking their time? What does this remind us of? Why, its record collectors returning week after week to the Music & Video Exchange in Notting Hill, waiting for a record the really want to go down in price for them to buy it. It is a cagey game, as that pound gets crossed off every week. How much do you think that Flying Burritos Brothers album is really worth. Gram Parsons isn’t on it after all.
So Clinton is sitting there, playing away as his price slowly goes down. The chasing teams aren’t made of money after all, so it is a game not so much of out-bidding, rather playing chicken. Let us hope though he does not end up in the bargain basement, with fifty copies of Paul Young’s No Parlez, and Edgar Davids.