As some supporters have been quick to mention, Financial Fair Play isn’t all about balancing the books by selling players for sizeable transfer fees. The other major factor is wages.
The wage bill skyrocketed last summer under Harry Redknapp, with Southampton’s Sam Gallagher (reportedly on £43k a week), Carl Jenkinson and Jeremie Boga coming in on loan all adding to the costs, with permanent deals like David Stockdale and Craig Gardner also commanding sizeable salaries.
Following the last game of the season, it seems Garry Monk’s main aim has been to radically reduce the wage total. The departures of the loanees back to their parent clubs has certainly helped a lot, but it seems to have not been enough.
Both our first choice and second choice goalkeepers are also being ushered to the exit door. Stockdale’s £40k a week was always problematic, and it seems Kuszczak is also on transfer list going by his comments to the Polish media earlier this week.
There has also been talk of Jonathan Grounds leaving the club on social media. No official source has confirmed that the 30-year-old could be on the way out, but with Union Berlin’s Kristian Pedersen being heavily linked with a switch to St Andrews, it looks like the writing is on the wall for our no.3.
It can’t be a coincidence that the fullback signed a new two and half year deal in January which likely saw his wages increase. Every indication suggests that Monk is looking to make sweeping changes to his squad, but before he does that, he needs the flexibility of having a wage bill that is firmly under control.
Whether this is a wise move, we will have to wait and see. Asking players to leave is one thing, but actually getting them through the exit door is another. Kuszczak has already mentioned he may stay for another year to see out his contract if a decent offer doesn’t come in.
He may be talking about the club setting his asking price too high but time will tell. Still, if the challenge is to get people sold to balance the books, it could hold up the manager’s plans.
Monk may have targets lined up, and as it seems with Pedersen, we are moving quickly to secure them. What we don’t want to happen though is to have a sizeable number of players still at the club in August who we don’t want to be here. Hopefully, the clearout will be swift and allow the manager to get on working with the squad he is handpicked ahead of next season.