What's my point? Some players (and managers) are meant to be big fish in little ponds while others are prepared to move on to bigger stages. The mere fact of being very good in the Premier League for a modest club is not enough to imply that you are likely to be ready for a step up.
This brings us to the case of Charlie Adam. First things first, I really like watching Adam play and I like it even more because he's been a rock for my fantasy team for most of the season at a very reasonable price. This isn't a diatribe against Charlie Adam. My worry for him is that he's not really big club material.
Why do I say that? His game will change if he moves up a few steps in the same sort of way that Uncle Woy's job changed when he moved from Fulham to Liverpool. Technically the job description is the same but that's only until you get to the fine print.
Say Adam moves to Liverpool, Spurs, or United (the three most frequently mentioned options), here's how his value will diminish:
- Free Kicks - much of Adam's value to Blackpool is on set pieces - he takes really good ones that lead to much needed goals. At the clubs mentioned above you can't really see him taking kicks over Bale, Modric, Nani, Giggs, Gerrard, Meireles, or Suarez can you?
- Possession/Creativity - Another major part of Adam's value is that he has a lot of the ball in the middle of the park for Blackpool and makes the incisive passes that often lead to the goals that have kept Blackpool at least alive and kicking for staying up. At the clubs above - specifically Liverpool and Spurs - there are midfielders in Modric and Meireles who already do an excellent job in that role. Again, Adam would be a nice back-up plan but would hardly be worth the money.
- Penalties - Adam gets a bunch of his goals for Blackpool from the spot so while the total of 9 goals from a midfielder looks nice the fact that six of them are from the spot means that his value is based in great part on the fact that he'd be the main taker. As above, it seems unlikely that Adam would be the choice at United/Spurs/Liverpool over the current cast of characters. 3 goals and 6 assists don't look quite as good as 9 goals and 6 assists, huh?
- Position - My sense is that Adam's best position is as a poor man's Alonso from the best days of Rafa's Liverpool. He isn't a "Scholes-type" tucked in behind the forwards and he isn't a Makelele/Keane-like holding destroyer. The best comparison might be Michael Carrick who was good for adequate Spurs teams but has similarly struggled with the move up in competition.