By Kevin Koczwara
Let’s just get it out of the way: Charlie Adam is the Premier League’s second best player this season. Nemanja Vidic is the best. Vidic has been the ever-present specter blocking the Manchester United net this season. He keeps that defense running, and the team clicking forward because his teammates knows the big Serbian’s got their backs. United would have been beaten by now if it weren’t for Vidic.
United should have lost to Tottenham just a week ago, but didn’t because Vidic defended with the fortitude of Fort Knox. If a ball came into the box, he cleared it away. If anyone tried to take him on, one-one-one, Vidic pushed them aside like he was playing against the Under-10 team. He’s been the backbone of the best team in the league – the only undefeated team – and the best player week in and week out for United. But Adam isn’t far behind.
The Blackpool ace carries the Tangerines midfield and spurs all of its attacks each and every game, making the impossible dream of avoiding relegation in the Premier League, closer to reality. He almost ended Vidic and Manchester United’s undefeated season with his inspirational play and darting corners yesterday. United stormed back from two down to win, 3-2, but Adam’s inspiration cannot be ignored because mighty United pulled off another Sir Alex Ferguson special.
Blackpool manager Ian Halloway has not been quiet about the transfer rumors and the speculation that Adam could be on his way to a bigger club, and nor should he. Aston Villa offered a measly £4 million for the Scottish international thinking that Halloway and Blackpool would jump at the chance to cash in on their top playmaker at the peak of his abilities. Not so. Halloway rebuked the offer because he knows just how valuable Adam is to his squad, and how that squad will be the one to carry Blackpool back to the Premier League next year instead of back down to the Championship.
Apparently, it would be a £46 million loss if Blackpool gets relegated. That’s a staggering figure, and the Tangerine dream would all but be over if Adam was sold for anything less than Halloway deems the “right price.” A drop out of the Premier League and a loss of £46 million can cripple any club.
Adam seemed happy to abide by Halloway and his evaluation when Villa bid. It made sense. Villa is fighting relegation right now while Blackpool sit safe, for now. Halloway bought Adam and got the best from him when the Scotsman was drifting out to sea at Rangers during what was suppose to be his prime. At 25-years old, Adam has a few more good years ahead of him, but he knows his time to prove he can play at a big club is fading. So, when one of England’s most storied clubs came calling, Adam knew he had to push along the process with a transfer request.
Liverpool may not be at its peak, or anywhere near it, but it is still a club with 18 league championships in England and five European Cups. It still has a worldwide fanbase and big contracts. It’s still one of the pinnacles of soccer. Adam knows that. And when Liverpool put in a similar bid to Aston Villa, he was ready to jump on it. Why shouldn’t he want to make a move to a bigger club with better wages? It makes sense. Soccer players have short careers where they need to make huge sums of money all at once. They don’t have 20 years to create a career, accumulate money and 401ks. Adam has been given a second chance at Blackpool after looking down and out at Rangers, and he knows he can’t blow this.
That doesn’t mean Halloway has to settle for a cut-price because he manages a small club. Halloway knows the value of a Charlie Adam in a side, especially his. If Halloway can secure Blackpool a place in the Premier League again next season, Blackpool becomes a team worth paying attention to and his stock rises after it looked like it were in the dustpan just a few seasons ago.
Adam and Halloway are linked forever. They are an odd couple who go about their business is different ways. Halloway is outspoken, in your face and in the same vein as Jose Mourinho when it comes to the media. Adam plays it quiet. He lets his play do the talking. But, both were looking for a home and a second chance. They got it at Blackpool, and now the marriage made in heaven may need some time apart. Halloway could use the money that the sale of Adam generates to finance some new signings, but he will make sure it isn’t for anything less than what the midfielder is worth in his eyes, and that may too pricey for some clubs.
Kevin Koczwara can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.