So, up until now, our articles have generally been one sided.
One of us has tackled a topic, and it has been left at that. No counter argument, no differing opinion. It could have happened after my Cabaye article, because while I would like to see him come back, there are others, possibly even within the Back Of The Nest crew, who would rather he didn’t. However, a counter article never came. That, courtesy of the words I am going to write, is about to change!
Yesterday it was announced that Yannick Bolasie had terminated his own loan at Aston Villa. Now, there will be questions around this as to why he would do so. Having made 21 appearances for the Villains, a lack of game time surely wasn’t the issue. So, why did he do it? Well, I know where my first thought went. As soon as I saw the news, I began to think that he had been given a call by Parish or Dougie, suggesting we would bring him back if he made himself available. Naturally, I have no idea if this is true. A quick browse of Twitter though showed that I wasn’t the only one who had made a connection, as discussions were already well underway on whether we should bring Yannick back or not.
Looking to get involved in the topic, I asked if one of our writers would cover it in an article, and as you may have seen, Paul took on that task. I had planned to just leave it with him, but when I woke up this morning and saw the title ‘Bo-Lassie Come Home’, I immediately began to feel, without having read it, that I would need to reply. Once I had finished reading, my mind was made up and word was open, ready for me to type!
So Paul would like to see Yannick come ‘home’, and as you can see by my title, designed to play on his, I would rather he didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I can see why some would like him back, I can understand the romance of such a move. Yannick was, at times, an extremely exciting player for us. He was a threat, a method of release when the pressure was on our back line. He could be spectacular to watch, with some amazing tricks and bits of skill that were just a joy to behold. He also got the crowd up off their seats every time he had the ball and was running. I can see why people would like that back, at least as a sub option. We were already very short of options on the wings, and with Kaikai departing (even though he was never used as an option), our numbers have depleted in that area even more. However, in my opinion, it is a romantic notion, nothing more.
There were a few points that Paul made, which I very much disagree with. One of those points, is that a majority of Palace fans would love him back. I genuinely believe that isn’t true. Sure, there is a decent number who do, but I think the majority would be against it, and my browsing of Social Media so far supports that. Now, I can’t say why others are against it, but I can use this article to lay out my reasons for why Yannick should stay away.
There was a time, when the thought of selling Yannick was very much a definite no for me. The summer that we actually did however, I was more than happy with it. In fact, getting around £25m for him made the sale even better, and probably more than he was actually worth. So why did my mind-set change? Well, for a start, we wanted to move forward, to change how effective we were in games, and Yannick didn’t necessarily fit with that. If you take off the rose tinted glasses for a moment and look past some of those exciting moments, you will remember that Yannick was actually very frustrating. Sure, he could pick up the ball on the edge of our box and at times go on some mazy run deep into the opposition half. The problem was, more often than not, nothing ever came of it. He would get to the opposition box and his cross would be terrible, or he would take a shot that would wildly miss or tamely trickle into the keeper’s hands. In both our promotion season, and our first couple of seasons in the Premier League, it didn’t matter that much. We were trying to survive, and he gave us that little extra element that others around us didn’t have, and so his flaws didn’t make such an impact. As we have tried to develop the quality of the team though, that changed. As the quality of players around him improved, it highlighted the limits of his. You looked at Wilf and could see him improving and adapting his game, and then you looked at Yannick, and he still did the same thing he had always done. I used to say that he clearly had no idea what his legs were going to do, so how could a defender? I have recently seen an Everton fan use the same analogy for Oumar Niasse. It can have its occasional benefits, but it is an extremely limited style.
Things have moved on since then, it has been two and a half years since Yannick left us for the Everton. He is now a few months away from turning 30, and as is well documented, spent a year recovering from a horrific injury. An injury like that will be bound to take its toll, it is hard to deny that. He made 29 appearances for Everton, and by the end a lot of their fans couldn’t wait to see the back of him as he failed to win them over like he did us at Selhurst. The impression I get from Villa, is that he didn’t quite live up to the hype there either (although I could be wrong). So here we have a player who was hit and miss in his best days with us, that is now several years older, off the back of a major injury, having failed to set the world alight at two different clubs. Is that really what we need? Sure, there is that possibility that at the right club, say one he was comfortable with like us, things could click and go well again. There is no guarantee with that though, and while it worked for those mentioned by Paul, it equally didn’t work with the likes of David Hopkin. Not only that, but the Palace he left, would not be the same Palace he would be returning to. There is a sourness now to our fan base, an underlying current of frustration, anger and judgement. We are struggling to score goals, especially at home, because we don’t take our chances. Would adding someone like Yannick, who was a master at failing to take chances, really be the right decision? Give it a few games, and if the same old wasteful Yannick surfaced, fans would quickly turn on him. Especially, if it was for the figures Paul had mentioned. £10-£15m would not be a good price, no matter how much anyone tries to tell me otherwise. That would be a huge gamble with money we don’t currently have, and would have no investment value at all. If he was to come back, it would have to be on a free (which obviously wouldn’t happen) or a loan, and even then, I think the loan could be better used elsewhere. Yannick in his prime could not deliver every game, for every bit of brilliance would come several moments of frustration. So would an older, slightly more broken, out of form Yannick be any better than what we sold? I don’t think so.
I am possibly sounding a bit harsh, but I just think that many people would be disappointed if he came back. I must admit though, there is also another reason why I would not want him back. I fully believe that while he was out injured in his final season with us, Yannick was tapped up by Everton. In fact, he said in an interview that friends he knew at Goodison had been trying to get him to move the previous summer, and then again later on. When he returned from injury, he looked totally disinterested. At first, I put it down to the effects of his injury, but the lull in his play never really seemed to go. In fact, the FA Cup Semi Final is the only game he seemed to be really up for. If that wasn’t bad enough, he totally failed to turn up in the FA Cup Final. In such an important game for us as fans, and a club, he looked like he was not bothered. I truly believe his head was already at Goodison Park, because the Yannick that got injured at Stoke was gone, and merely a passenger came back. In my opinion, he made his choice, he made the decision it would be better elsewhere, and that ended our ties with him.
As an added extra, I do know that in the eyes of some, they are fed up of us bringing back ex-players. No matter who it is, they just don’t want it. I can understand why they feel that way, although I don’t agree with it as a blanket belief. Sure, sometimes it fails, but other times it is brilliant, both on the pitch and as a lift in the stands. This is why I do feel we need to bring one of our own back, just not Yannick. Instead, if we were going to spend some money on a permanent signing (which I really don’t think we will), then for me it should be Victor Moses. He is younger than Yannick, has achieved more, has retired from International duty, and in my eyes, has unfinished business here. We were robbed of our time with him because of our financial status, and I would love to see him come back and finish what he started. He also brings with him versatility, which these days is massively important in squad balance.
So in regards to Yannick, while I can understand Paul’s desire to see the return of a player he loved so dearly, for me, it would not be smart business. Roy has said several times that there is no point bringing people in that won’t improve on what we have. Yes, there is the argument that after Wilf and Andros we don’t have another proper wingers, but I still think that Yannick would not be the right solution, and would simply need replacing again by the summer. So, sentimental as it may be for some, Yannick, it’s a no from me.