The FWA player of the year and England international, Scott Parker has this week been linked with a move to rejoin former club Chelsea. Nothing too strange about that you may think but the fact it could be on a 12-month loan deal where Parker would rejoin West Ham if they were promoted at the end of the season is quite unusual.
It was widely expected that the 30-year-old would be leaving the club following their relegation to the Championship and his former club Chelsea are just one of the club interested in acquiring his services.
West Ham owner, David Sullivan has conceded that Parker needs to play in Premier League in order to maintain his international ambitions. He discussing the proposed deal, he said: “This has been mooted that we’d loan him out for a year for a substantial fee and then when we get promotion he’d come back to us. That sort of deal would appeal to us because we love Scott.”
They paid £1m to Spurs for Robbie Keane last season for a six-month loan deal and are using this example to ask for a substantial loan fee of around £4m for Parker’s services this year. However Chelsea are only prepared to pay around £1.5m, which would cost them about £5m including wages.
With Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien ruled out for the first six-months of the season after requiring surgery on a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and torn meniscus in his right knee, Chelsea need a defensive midfielder to replace him and Parker fits the bill. New boss Andre Villas-Boas knows that he can only register 17 non-home-grown players in his 25-man squad and so a temporary move for Parker would be productive in achieving this. Chelsea would get an England international but without having to pay the full asking price, a bargain when you look at the price of other English players this summer.
The deal seems to make financial sense for the Hammers as they do not have to lose their best player if they make a swift return to the Premier League and also they will not have to pay his weekly wage, reported to be £70,000 a week, saving the club £3.5m for the season, not sustainable in the Championship. With the loan fee they get as part of the deal they can replace Parker and sign another player like Kevin Nolan who will help them achieve promotion.
For Parker, who was last at Stamford Bridge during the 2004/05 season, the deal looks ideal as he gets his wish to stay in Premier League while also playing Champions League football and still putting himself in the spotlight for an England team place, all without moving out of London.
However there could be some major issues with this transfer proposal. If West Ham do not get promoted back to the Premier League, Parker could return but with Premier League clubs aware that West Ham cannot afford his wages his value will have deteriorated. This would mean West Ham could just collect the rumoured £8m transfer fee now instead of waiting for a year where they may not get the same value. If Parker developed up a long term injury while out on loan he will be sent back to Upton Park and the Championship club will have to again pay his wages, something they cannot afford to do. By selling him they would end any risk of having to unexpectedly pay his wages for this season.
From Chelsea’s point of view would it not just be more convenient to sign Parker and keep him in at club in the long-term rather than borrowing him on someone else’s terms, especially when they are the owners of West Ham. If Parker was to establish a place in the Chelsea midfield but then West Ham did get promoted, he would be a scenario where he would be contracted to go return to Upton Park but with the prospect of another relegation battle, it would not be the most attractive proposal.
It sounds like Chelsea want to have the deal sorted before they depart for a pre-season tour of Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong on Sunday and expect some developments this week for Parker, who is currently at a training camp in Switzerland with the Hammers.
From the outside it does look like a sensible transfer scenario but there are a number of flaws with it as nothing is as good as it seems. I think these could make it non-starter and turn it into nothing more than a pipe dream by Sullivan who will probably sell Parker before the start of the new season.
However if this innovative loan transfer bears fruit then maybe we will still an influx of similar moves in the future especially as it helps the bigger clubs get around the new Financial Fair Practices Rules.
Let me know yours thoughts on this ideal transfer scenario and follow me on twitter www.twitter.com/aidanmccartney for more interesting football debate!