Writer: Christian Saunders
Date:Tuesday December 8 2009
The ongoing will he go / will he stay Joe Ledley saga seems to have split fans right down the middle. While its certainly sad to see the criticism poor Joe has been copping lately, it has to be said that he has brought much of it on himself. By his own high standards, this season he has been a mere shadow of his former self. By all accounts his tenacity has dissipated, his trademark surging runs into the box have become a thing of memory, and his passing and shooting, the most basic elements of the game, have been woefully poor.
So what is the problem? The general consensus is that he simply does not want to play for Cardiff City any more, having had his head turned toward the bright lights of the Premiership. Last week, after being accused of "Looking like he's somewhere else already" by his own chairman, surely as damning a verdict as there could ever be, Ledley came out in the press and said he has been carrying a hip injury. He was careful not to say exactly how long he has been nursing said injury, but the implication was that it has been a problem for a while. He then went ahead and pointed the finger at Dave Jones by insisting that it was the manager making him play every week and delaying the necessary operation that would rule him out for up to twelve weeks. To reiterate the point he conveniently limped off during the Preston game holding his hip to a crescendo of boos. And this was when we were winning.
Smart move, Joe. This latest chapter of the saga will almost certainly have scuppered a move in the January transfer window. In the current financial climate, no club in the land will fork out money for a player knowing that the first thing they have to do is pay a huge medical bill and then wait around for three months or more while he gets himself fit. Furthermore, his recent displays and the fact that he is so close to the end of his current contract have seen his value plummet. That day when Stoke offered 6 million for his services seems a very long time ago.
Having lost the support of the fans and, apparently, Peter Risdale, it is looking increasingly likely that Ledley will simply allow his contract to run down and then become a free agent next summer. In that case any monies Cardiff City will have forthcoming will be set by tribunal, when it will have to be taken into account the huge sum of money Cardiff have invested in him having nurtured his talent since he was nine years old.
If the transfer ever did go to a tribunal, those on the panel, who are renowned for asking clubs to pay meagre sums for young, talented players, would surely have to rethink their strategy. Never before will they have had the task of putting a reasonable value on a player with well over 200 first team appearances (many at Championship level) and over 30 international caps, but still under the age of 23.
As unfortunate as it is, it seems that Joe Ledley's relationship with his hometown club is coming to an unsavoury end. Wherever his future lies, his departure will surely be felt more by the clubs accountants than the fans.
Date:Tuesday December 8 2009
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