So press reports yesterday suggest that the powers that be at Sunderland have offered to terminate Jack Rodwell’s contract.
With the benefit of hindsight, reading the terms of the contract he signed back in August 2014 are eye watering: a 5 year deal, with the weekly salary of what is reported to be £70k per week. That’s not to mention the undisclosed transfer fee of what was said to be around £10 million, or staggeringly, how according to reports, he was the only player not to have a relegation clause in his contract, which if it is to be believed meant that he has been paid significantly more than any other player this season. To think what we could do with that kind of money now.
Given all of this, I applaud this bold decision taken by the club. It puts the ball firmly in the court of Rodwell and his representatives as to whether his priority is to rebuild his career and look to play regular football again (given that he is only 26 years old), or whether he is content to remain on the SAFC sidelines for the remaining 18 or so months of his contract and pocket his hefty wage.
However, my concern is why wait until now to take this decision. Surely it could have been made long ago. Since being brought to Sunderland by Gus Poyet, the fact that he, Advocaat, Allardyce, Moyes, Grayson and now Coleman have never really appeared to fancy him surely must have given the club grounds to doubt that for whatever reason, Rodwell was never going to be that player we thought we’d signed back in the heady days of 2014.
Especially with the absence of a relegation clause in mind and the financial abyss we were looking into at the close of last season, that surely would have been an ideal time for both parties to draw a line under the whole sorry saga, and set poor Jack free. If he had gone at that time and there is a grain of truth in that he picks up around £70k a week for his troubles, the club could potentially have saved over £2 million in wages - quite significant when you consider that we didn’t spend that much in our whole close-season recruitment drive.
If we are to begin to dig ourselves out of this hole we are in by avoiding relegation this season, then there needs to be further bold and innovative action taken, and quickly. Presumably this was also the philosophy behind the sale of James Vaughan last week.
For me the only way for us to stay up, if there isn’t going to be a big injection into the transfer funds, is to get rid of some of the dead wood in order to bolster the coffers and provide as much opportunity as possible to Chris Coleman to significantly shuffle his pack and bring in a number of fresh faces that aren’t burdened by the club’s recent demise. Oh and by the way, this all needs to be done by 11pm on 31st January, when the hammer comes down on the transfer window.
I acknowledge that all of this is a gamble, but as the weeks tick by, we seem to have less and less to lose.