I think it’s safe to say the transfer conditions last summer were not ideal.
While targets were being rumoured in public, behind the scenes the club was struggling to deal with the transfer restrictions placed upon them by the EFL in the wake of their “Profit and Sustainability” Rules forecast.
In September 2018 at the quarterly supporters forum, the club publicly denied that it had been under an embargo in May 2018, despite what was being reported on this website among other outlets.
However, it emerged in the document released by the Disciplinary Commission that Blues had been notified by the EFL on May 2, 2018 that:
“…the Club will be placed under a registration embargo until the Club’s year end so that the final P&S result following any transfer profits can be confirmed.”
The fans were not the only ones kept in the dark either, judging by Garry Monk’s comments in the post-Reading match press conference.
“My concentration is getting to the bottom of that financial understanding, that side of it runs a lot deeper than what I was first made aware of when I first came in here but my intention from the start – and still is at this point, is to be here and help this club move forward.
In the wake of the P&S hearing it’s now obvious that Blues have to be careful, and that this summer has to be much different.
Monk himself has been keen to manage expectations.
“There are a lot of restrictions still in place and it’s important that we adhere to them and have a really clear strategy and plan. That’s what I’m working with the Club on now.
“It’s going to be a similar approach to the summer we just had and about finding value.
While this might disappoint the more excitable Blues fans who were hoping for a transfer splurge, the idea that Blues are working to more long-term goals is music to my ears.
Short-termism is not just an affliction of Blues; it doesn’t take much research to see how many other clubs in the Championship are operating only thanks to infusions of cash from their owners.
And yes, while not splurging on signings might see us lag behind in the short-term I think it will pay off down the line.
Che Adams is a great example of this.
Signed in 2016, Adams wasn’t initially a massive success with just 12 league goals from his first two seasons.
Last summer, I remember speaking to friends about whether Adams would make it at all.
Like many other things, I was massively wrong about Adams and he showed just how good he can be with a return of 22 goals last season in the Championship and earning himself a price tag in the £15m – £20m market by conservative estimates.
It’s true that not every young player bought from the lower leagues will make the step up in the same way that Adams.
However, I think bringing in young players from the lower leagues represents a low risk with a potentially large pay-off and that the laws of probability would mean that at least one would make it worthwhile.
Likewise, after seeing the under 23s finish in the end of season playoffs in their division I’d like to see continued and increased investment in our younger teams.
While it’s true that EPPP means our academy prospects can be picked off by Category One academies relatively easily and cheaply, I think there is definitely an opportunity for looking at first and second year scholars with the aim to have a strong cadre of young players to supplement the first team.
This kind of thing needs joined up thinking throughout the club, with everyone working together towards a bigger picture.
Rather than throwing ridiculous amounts of money at a player who may or may not do it on the pitch, I’d like to see us investing inwardly so the pipeline of prospects from within grows ever greater.
That to me represents the club’s best stab at profitability and sustainability in the longer run.
During the summer window I’ll be running my transfer window email.
It’s free to sign up and I promise I will never ever give your email to anyone else for any marketing purpose. I generally send them out once a week (except if something juicy comes into my possession).