No Maw of that Talk Please!

Intense rumour and speculation about our crown jewels Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente was to be expected over this close season but today the whispers have started about the player I feel we must keep at all costs – Alfie Mawson.

Outlets such as the Sun are carrying a story that suggests Tottenham Hotspur have set their sights on our burgeoning centre half and have been in touch with the club to discuss a £15m deal. In typical fashion though there’s nothing in these articles to back up the headlines. Not a single quote, not even from the mythical “sources”.

Chances are this has as much credibility as the tales of us chasing Adebayor…

…let’s hope so!

We simply cannot make the same mistake we made at the start of last season, leaving our best, most commanding centre half go without adequately replacing him. Now you might well read that and find it a little contradictory, given that Mawson WAS that replacement, but the point is that Alfie grew into a Premier League player last season and those growing pains, coupled with the lack of quality around him, almost relegated us.

Mawson has been forged in the fires of experience at the top level now, and continues to accrue even more top level know how with his starting role in the England U-21s at the European Championships. And alongside Fede Fernandez Mawson established an ever improving partnership that proved key to us staying up. Yes, there were mistakes and hard learned lessons along the way but the defensive improvement in the second half of a porous campaign was crucial.

I had no issue with us buying Mawson for his potential, but he needed to be a secondary capture to an experienced centre half that could immediately replace Ashley Williams. Been there, survived that now though and Mawson is growing into an excellent Premier League defender and an influential leader…

…one that we can’t afford to lose at this critical point in time.

Furthermore there’s the question of the valuation; whilst £15m represents a tripling of the player’s value within a season, the fee we could demand by keeping hold him for at least another season would dwarf that. The £50m John Stones went for is rather optimistic but if Burnley can demand thirty mill for Michael Keane then I see no reason why we couldn’t demand the same for Mawson in twelve months time.

We can ill afford to lose the quality we have in our squad because we simply don’t have enough of it. Let’s be honest, Jordi Amat and Mike van der Hoorn are not the answer at the back and neither is the returning Kyle Bartley. How much would it cost to adequately replace Mawson and avoid the struggles we endured defensively last season? That £15m fee in its entirety I would imagine.

This is the first rumour to emanate about Alfie, but it certainly won’t be the last. He turned heads towards the end of the season and now he’s part of the English international set up he’s caught the attention of journalists, some of whom like to think of themselves as agents and try brokering deals for themselves on behalf of the “big clubs”.

However, we have this lad tied down to a long term contract and it doesn’t seem in his make up to be anything but loyal and professional, so Huw Jenkins should firmly plant the Not For Sale sign  and make it very clear that Alfie Mawson is going nowhere.

Anything less would be indefensible.