Abraham and the Sacrifice of Wolves
As the rumour mill whirled backward, forwards and around Tammy Abraham’s future, there was one thing we knew – the deadline for Chelsea to recall the player was January 14th.
Abraham had looked destined to be a Wolves player this week, after it was reported he was missing from first team training on Monday with every news outlet declaring his Wolves loan was a formality.
A subsequent Instagram post from Yannick Bolasie begging his teammate to stay, could be read two ways – that Bolasie was being ironic (as was Abraham’s reply) and playing up to all the rumours, or that it confirmed that Abraham was really off.
Factoring the mentality of modern day footballers – it was anyone’s guess at the time.
The football media covering Villa seemed to think it was a done deal, but we’ve experienced that time and time again, most recently with Jack Grealish in the summer.
Until the proverbial fat lady to sings, as Public Enemy once said, don’t believe the hype.
In MOMS mind, the main issue to how it was going to end was whether or not Wolves were trying to loan Abraham off Chelsea or buy him outright.
If Wolves were wanting to make him their own player, then fair enough, but the advantages for Abraham of just going to Wolves on loan weren’t overly apparent beyond the banal stock phrase and lazy notion of ‘to play in the Premier League’.
Remember Cardiff City had tried to get Abraham on loan at the start of the season, but Chelsea and Abraham didn’t seem that desperate for him ‘to play in the Premier League’ then.
Chelsea had also indicated that they weren’t interested in selling their player. Certainly Wolves’ earlier reported offer of £18m was too low for a player who’ll certainly be worth a lot more if he continues to develop.
The 21-year-old is not the finished article yet – he should have already bagged at least 20 at Villa considering the chances he’s had – but there aren’t too many 6ft 5 strikers that have his mobility, speed, commitment and eye for goal.
Reports of a £120k-a-week wage offer seemed to suggest Wolves were pushing an outright bid, because for a loan you normally just cover a player’s current wages and add some incentive bonuses.
FIFA & Conspiracy Theory
Also, as MOMS wrote at the beginning, some press didn’t seem to take the FIFA rule of players not being allowed to play for three teams in a season, seriously.
Obviously, it was there to be challenged by Wolves, but currently it still seems to be unresolved whether it would have been a sticking point or not.
Naturally, the narrative will now be that Abraham decided to stay and it was nothing to do with the FIFA regulation putting things in limbo for the player.
Also, you could venture the potential conspiracy theory that Wolves were never interested in the player and all of this was an elaborate hoax to fuel online content.
Whatever the truth of the matter, the main talking point here is what actually is potentially the best loan for the player and his parent club?
The Better Loan
If Chelsea were adamant about not selling him, in terms of a loan, they didn’t seem too concerned whether Abraham played on loan at Villa or Wolves. Ultimately, any decision seemed to be down to the player himself.
Dean Smith had said that Chelsea were happy with Abraham’s progress at Villa. The player was settled at Villa, fitted in well with the squad, was liked by the fans and Chelsea had their prodigal son John Terry as assistant coach keeping an eye out for him.
So there would obviously be an element of risk moving to another club at this stage.
Also, as Smith had pointed out:
“Unless they’re a team in the top six, there’s not many Premier League sides creating loads of chances.”
So, from Chelsea’s point of view, there was no issue with their player staying at Villa.
What’s the Point of a Wolves Loan?
Wolves have done great in the last couple of seasons on and off the pitch, but their status currently is somewhat ‘flavour of the month’ at the moment.
Wolves will finish a decent mid-table this season. They have already proven themselves to be a cut above a lot of the mediocre sides that make up half of the Premier League. Good luck to them, but for Abraham, what he did or didn’t do there, wouldn’t have ultimately carried much consequence.
What would Chelsea have learned from Abraham going on loan at Wolves?
That he can score the odd goal here and there in the Premier League?
They know that. He’s been on loan at Swansea City and they learnt from that experience, that like any young player, he’s still young and needs games to hone his craft.
He wouldn’t be a guaranteed starter at Wolves, plus in a couple of months time, Wolves will be just playing out the rest of the season with little motivation, challenge or incentive.
In terms of tangible achievements just playing games in the Premier League is something he’s already done. He’s also already played at Wembley for Chelsea, albeit in a Community Shield game, and for England at various youth levels.
Staying at Villa though will answer a lot more questions about him as a player.
If Abraham scores 30 for Villa this season or 5 or 6 goals for Wolves, I don't think he'll be worth more due to his time at Wolves. If those goals get Villa promoted, then who do you think he'd prefer to play for in the PL?— My Old Man Said (@oldmansaid) January 7, 2019
Big Benefits of His Villa Loan
Abraham has already proven he knows where the goal is, during his time at both Bristol City and so far this season at Villa.
Abraham now though is going into uncharted territory as a player and will quickly learn that the second half of this season, with 20 games to go, will be very different from what he’s experienced so far in the Championship.
We’re in the business end of the season now, and it’ll be a chance to prove his character and mentality as a player, as Villa unlike the Robins, have designs on promotion.
Being a Chelsea player, Abraham needs to be able to play under pressure to win and in the face of expectation in a big stadium. He needs to be seen to deliver regularly in such conditions.
Villa despite their recent misfortune remain a legitimate big club in English football, that should be mixing it in the Premier League, never mind just making up the numbers. Like Abraham’s parent club, Villa are also a former European Champion.
Abraham is currently getting regular experience of playing in front of big home crowds, in a stadium where the capacity is 10,000 more than Molineux.
At Villa, there is a serious necessity for promotion and plenty of pressure to come with it.
We’ve seen many a player buckle under the expectation of playing for Villa (sometimes not helped by poor managers); it’s not an easy place to flourish.
Chelsea will learn about the temperament of their player and whether he has the minerals to be a winner.
If Villa get promoted from the league from their current position, Abraham will certainly have to play a key part in that. For a 21-year-old, it’ll personally be a big, memorable and impressive achievement.
He’ll probably end up scoring 25-30 goals in achieving it too. Who knows, he may even score the winner at Wembley in the high stakes play-off final.
As a 21-year-old player, he wouldn’t get such a potential range of experience and development at Wolves. By staying at Villa, he’s fast-tracking his progress.
So, I would venture this would be a better loan fit for the player than a few run outs against the likes of Huddersfield, Bournemouth, Burnley, Watford, Fulham and Cardiff.
As that role call of names alludes to, the Premier League is over-hyped, where the bottom half of the teams are not that much better than the top teams in the Championship, if the truth be told.
That’s why it’s actually embarassing that Villa are where they are at this moment in time.
The good news is by staying at Villa, Tammy Abraham can be a prime mover in helping us do something about that.
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