After the Goldrush


‘Insulting’, ‘derisory’, ‘a bit last’ and ‘cunty’. All words used in certain quarters to describe Manchester United’s £28 million bid for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines.

Various reports keep suggesting that this double bid has provoked ‘outrage’ and ‘anger’ on Merseyside, but surely any Evertonian who would like those two players to stay must really be made up with that sort of offer.  After all, despite David Moyes using his intimate knowledge of the inside workings of his former club, United’s attempted ‘swoop’ was always doomed to failure.

Everton actually took This Is Not Football’s advice and responded by releasing a statement that more or less mocked the champions’ proposal, however that was always suggested as a tactic designed really to prick at Moyes’ ego and try to get him to come back with a much improved bid befitting one of the richest clubs in the world.

That’s different from declaring that the players are not for sale.

In fact, in these situations the old joke falsely ascribed to Winston Churchill, Groucho Marx and George Bernard Shaw always springs to mind. You know, the one that ends ‘We’ve already established what sort of woman you are, now we’re just haggling about the price’.

The focus with this sort of story is on the actual numbers involved – on Radio 5 last night, for instance, pencil-top troll Robbie Savage was blathering on about how Arsenal should have just offered £45 million for Luis Suarez as opposed to sticking a nicker on what they thought was his release clause. Your license fee is funding that Bros jeans wearing tit to come out with these raw nuggets of wisdom.

In truth though, the real key to this present scenario at Everton isn’t so much the actual numbers; it’s how Roberto Martinez wants his squad to look on the 2nd September. If the Spaniard envisions Fellaini and Baines being Everton players for the remainder of the season then things are pretty straightforward.

However, if he does see James McCarthy, for instance, as someone he would like to add to his ‘roster’, then sadly something’s got to give. That scenario, which seems quite likely, requires Everton to leverage as much as possible for one or both of Fellaini and Baines. On the other side of that, United will almost certainly know if Everton have been talking to other players and that’s why they have opened the bidding with their initial lowball offer. They suspect a deal can be done and they want to feel as if they are setting the parameters.

How it all plays out from here depends on who is the most willing to walk away without any sale. If Martinez sees missing out on McCarthy or Luca Marrone or whoever but keeping the same squad as he has now as an acceptable outcome then Everton hold all the cards. If he desperately wants to move either Baines or Fellaini on though, the balance of power shifts somewhat back towards United as they can always ‘pursue other options’ and potentially leave Everton with a disgruntled player, or maybe even two. Everyone assumes that Martinez would be willing to sacrifice the big Belgian but not the England fullback, but don’t be so sure. It might also be a bit hasty to simply take as read that just because Baines seems quiet and likes The Byrds that he isn’t ambitious to play in the Champions League and earn yards more money.

You know what they say, never trust a hippy.

Expect loads more posturing and manoeuvering over the next couple of weeks, but remember that ultimately you are just worrying about who exactly is going to be paying the increasing wages of the world’s thickest millionaires. If this pair go then rest assured they will be replaced post haste by some other tattooed morons.

It’s really not worth burning a £50 replica shirt over.

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