There have been reports in recent days suggesting we are going to make the loan signing of Anthony Knockaert a permanent one for a fee believed to be around £10.5m. The reported fee has received a mixed reaction from fans, many believing we are paying too much considering his inconsistent season so far…
In footballing terms, is £10.5m that expensive in today’s market? I personally do not think so and based on his performances in recent seasons, I would say that the valuation is fair. In my opinion, he is still a quality player with a lot more to give, he just looks shot of confidence which could be argued for the rest of the squad. His selfish nature with the ball at his feet can be frustrating when things are not going to plan but a confident Knockaert is a handful for any full-back. Unfortunately for us, we have only seen that a handful of times since the start of the season.
Before we signed him on loan, if you were asked whether you would have taken the Knockaert who was a big hit with the fans at Brighton for a fee of £10.5m, I am pretty confident in saying the majority of us would have jumped at the chance. He has a fantastic record in the Championship overall, scoring goals and providing assists from his time at Leicester and Brighton. All players hit dips in their career and one average season certainly doesn’t make you a bad player.
He could yet prove to be the difference in our last seven games because he is not the type of player to shy away or pass responsibility to his teammates. More importantly, when it comes to the final few crucial games and most likely the playoffs for us, it could prove pivotal to have a squad that have experienced promotion before. Knockaert ticks that box and has also experienced the heartache of losing in the playoffs, that experience is priceless.
Defensively he puts in a shift and can not be labelled a luxury player as his work rate off the ball is far better than most in our current squad. He possesses the desire to be a match-winner and is not afraid to take risks. This means that he makes more mistakes or appears to be less productive as more often than not it leads to nothing but I would much rather see an attacking player try and make things happen instead of being a passenger and always waiting for openings to arrive.
Finally, I criticised Tony Khan for making wholesome changes to our previous squad that gained promotion via the playoffs, but it seems like he is learning from his mistakes. Whether we go up this season or not, this squad is more than capable of gaining promotion to the Premier League. We have already made the loan signings of Ivan Cavaleiro and Bobby Decordova-Reid permanent and I hope we can see Harrison Reed become a permanent signing in the upcoming weeks. I am confident that Knockaert will recapture the form that earned him the reputation of being one of the Championship’s best players in recent years.
It can also only be a good thing that the likes of Cav, Reid and now Knockaert want to stay at the club, I’d be more concerned if they couldn’t wait to leave! This will be £10.5m well spent in my eyes.