Jimmy Bullard’s move to Hull hasn’t quite gone to plan in the long term has it? He was instrumental in helping secure and inspire his Hull side last term to stay in the Premiership, but with knackered knees, patchy form and ridiculously high wages, he’ll take some shifting from the KC stadium.
Promoted sides Newcastle and West Brom have been mooted as potential suitors but to my knowledge anyway they could spend their money better elsewhere than on Bullard.
Newcastle on paper seem to be a side that lacks a certain spark from the middle of midfield with the likes of Alan Smith and Joey Barton in their ranks but it would be more than ignorant not to notice the fact that they’ve scored 90 goals in the Championship this season, so they must be doing something right.
They do lack a bit of invention from the middle, but Kevin Nolan is a more than able operator in the Premiership and with 17 goals to his name this term, he seems to have found the verve and spring in his step that he lacked last season for Newcastle.
It’ll be strange if he were to replicate anywhere near his goalscoring exploits of this campaign next year, but I’m sure he can be relied upon to add a few and Danny Guthrie is a decent option to have on the bench too. They also have the likes of the inconsistent yet pacy Wayne Routledge and the classy Jonas Gutierrez out wide to help ease the burden on the middle of midfield.
It’s clear to see that Newcastle do need to add a bit of quality to their midfield and should Nolan get injured they could find themselves hard pressed for goals, but whether the touted £2m on Bullard remains value for money though I’m not so sure. He’s only made 15 appearances in just under a season and a half, so he’s not really a bankable prospect to have in the squad and if you can’t guarantee his fitness on a regular enough basis to make any deal worthwhile, there’s little value in pursuing it.
West Brom’s style of football would suit Bullard down to the ground, but as a perennial yo-yo club they may baulk at his reported £45k a week wages and it could seriously interrupt the secure financial model they preach down at the Hawthorns.
I also question whether he’d merit a place in the West Brom starting eleven either, Graham Dorrans and Robert Koren have displayed that they are capable of driving a team forward this season and Youssuf Mulumbu helps add a degree of steel to proceedings and with the goals of Chris Brunt and Jerome Thomas out wide, Bullard would be a nice player to have in reserve, but with their current side, his face simply doesn’t fit.
Another potential spanner in the works of any proposed deal is the fact that Hull still reportedly owe Fulham £1.9m of the £5m they supposedly paid to Fulham for Bullard’s services. Hull would effectively be paying off Fulham by selling him to any would-be suitors and this may drive his price up a fraction.
The main problem though is not the fee as current Hull boss Ian Dowie states “I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some movement there for Jimmy to play in the Premier League. Not because of anything other than the fact the wages aren’t sustainable” and at £45k a week it’s hard to argue against that.
Bullard is going to take some serious shifting from Hull, his wages are astronomical and shows the desperate lengths that Hull were prepared to go to to maintain their Premiership status last term despite being far from certain whether the gamble would pay-off. It did last term, but they have been found out this season and are in a financial quagmire as a result.
Bullard has suffered two serious knee injuries and represents a massive gamble should someone take the plunge and sign him. It may be easy to link some of the best relegated players with the promoted teams, but realistically it’s just not that simple and there’s a question mark against whether he’d fit in at either club aswel, let alone his injury record and wages.
Promoted clubs, if they can, like to deal in proven players, Bullard is, but his fitness isn’t and he represents too big a gamble. The likes of Jamie O’Hara and Hasan Yebda are who they two teams mentioned above should be looking at; they should look to exploit the loan market for the dividends can be great if utilised properly. You get a player eager to impress his paymasters or simply earn a permanent move to his new club; if it backfires, you simply send them packing and try again. It’s a win-win situation.
Birmingham last summer snapped up Lee Bowyer on a free and he’s turned out to be a great acquisition aiding his team with 5 league goals, as has deposed Rangers skipper and international outcast Barry Ferguson who signed on for roughly £1.2m. Wolves by and large kept the same midfield but added Nenad Milijas for around £2m and signed Segundo Castillo and Adlene Guedioura on loan. Contrast this with the £2m touted for the likeable yet risky Bullard and suddenly the deal starts to look worse by the minute.
What does everyone else think – will Bullard be in the Premiership next season? Who should Newcastle and West Brom move for instead?
Written By James McManus