Your Verdict: Robinson giveaway

June 26, 2003
By Dominic Raynor
(Archive)

Even during the current lull in the transfer market, when Aston Villa discovered on Thursday that Leeds United had accepted their £3.25million bid for goalkeeper Paul Robinson they must have been laughing all the way to the bank.

The 23-year-old England international has courted interest from both Manchester United and Arsenal and as one of the hottest goalkeeping talents in the Premiership he was expected to command a fee of around £6million.

And the break down of the minimal fee gets even worse for Leeds, who will receive only £2.75m as a basic fee - with the rest made up with performance and appearance related bonuses - and suggests Leeds are still in seriously deep financial trouble.

Chairman Prof. John McKenzie, who replaced ousted Peter Ridsdale after running up debts of around £78.9m, had restructured the club to streamline the club's finances but it would appear that further measures are needed - despite Leeds selling Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Keane, Robbie Fowler and Jonathan Woodgate for a combined fee of £52m last season.

The completion of the Robinson deal is subject to the player agreeing personal terms with Villa - who finished directly below a struggling Leeds side last season - and Leeds fans will be hoping that their club have accepted the offer to spark a bidding war between the Premiership's top two clubs.

If that is the case then the move may well backfire if neither Arsenal or United table a bid, or if Robinson fancies joining up with his old boss David O'Leary, who brought him through at Elland Road before being fired, at Aston Villa.

And O'Leary believes that is the case. 'Paul wants to join me - he knows how I work and we get on well together,' he said.

But what's your view? Is £3.25m a decent price in today's market? Should Leeds sell Robinson?

Your Verdict:

It is difficult to believe that if Leeds are willing to let Robinson go for such a small fee that he would decide to go to Villa if Arsenal and United are genuinely showing an interest. At Highbury and Old Trafford he could be the first choice keeper for years to come, with a guarantee of Champion's League football and an excellent opportunity to stake a claim to the England No.1 jersey.

At Villa Park he would be lucky to get UEFA Cup football one season in three, if he's not fighting relegation, and would probably remain down the pecking order for his country. It would be very foolish for the big two to let him escape so cheaply and even more foolish for him to go to a third-rate club.

Graham Wade


Paul Robinson is still young and relatively inexperienced so I think a fee of £3.25m is very realistic and we should start accepting lower fees as the norm, for the good of the game in general.

These are the fees that all players should be transacting at with a limit of say £10m per player depending on age, experience etc.

Clubs should also be limited in player purchases as a percentage of revenue. Football needs to be regulated to protect the game from being run by four clubs, who end up winning everything with the rest competing for second place.

Peter Papas


It is an absolute a disgrace that he is being sold. Yes, the club is heavily in debt but even so, the board must have some foresight on the direction they want the club to go in the future.

Nigel Martyn is a great keeper but he can't play top-grade football for the next five to six years. I give him a year or so more in the top flight before he bows out.

Robinson should be here to stay. He should be part of a nucleus of the team that Leeds are building for the future. At £3.25m, it's just daylight robbery, we deserve more for Paul, and I hope it doesn't end up like the sale of Cantona to Manchester United.

Peter, Singapore


I think that Paul Robinson should go to Aston Villa because with new manager David O'Leary the club has new ambitions to get into Europe, and O'Leary is the perfect manager for this job - look what he did to Leeds a couple of years ago.

So Robinson should not hesitate to move to Aston Villa. O'Leary brings the best out of his players and Robinson is a great goalkeeper who will get better and better under the guidance of O'Leary.

Don't forget that Villa has some very good players such as Mellberg, Vassell and Barry so I'm sure Villa are going to cause a few surprises next season with O'Leary in charge.

Raymond Bejjani


Being a Leeds fan, seeing Robinson leave is bad enough, but seeing him leave for such a low fee is a double smack in the face. He's been brilliant at times when Leeds have been poor and I don't think Villa are the right club for him.

If he decides that working with O'Leary is a good reason to head for Villa then so be it, but in terms of quality Leeds are just as good as Villa at the moment.

If Leeds start accepting bids around the £3.25m region for Robinson then all the big teams will enter the bidding race. Leeds may be in a difficult financial situation currently but other teams would surely bid higher than £6m for a player of Robinson's quality.

Charles


Letting Paul Robinson leave Leeds for £3.25m is yet another example of a Leeds' board desperate to pay their debt. One would have thought that with the Professor's latest cuts within the club, and the promise that 'no more players need to be sold' that if they were going to let Robinson leave, it would be more than for a mere £3.25m.

Robinson will want to keep his place in the England team, and a move to Arsenal or Man Utd will allow him to play with a far better team than Villa, helping him to improve as well. And to add to this, both will have Champions League football next year, which should prove to be a big factor to Robinson.

If losing Robinson increases the chances of keeping the truly brilliant Kewell, than he should go. He is far less valuable as a player than Kewell is, and is far more easily replaceable (after all, Nigel Martyn is waiting in the wings).

If all the Leeds board want to do is make up their losses, they should wait to receive a bid that the reflects the true value of the young England keeper, with many more years left to play.

Jonathan Michel, Sydney, Australia


An excellent move for Villa. We are in a similar position to Leeds about 3-4 years ago. Many good quality youngsters coming through.

Some call Villa third rate, that's their opinion but watch this space. Someone said Villa are little better than Leeds....who has the £50m debt and is selling players? And who is buying?.

Robinson is possibly a bargain, but Villa are having to sell Angel for less than a quarter of what they paid. It is all about economics!

Denis Box


As a lifelong fan of Leeds United I can't believe anything I see or hear from them anymore. According to reports, an offer of £3million was turned down earlier in the week - now he is sold for £2.75m.

When he held the reins, Ridsdale informed during the 'glory days' of the innovative business he had concluded to make sure the future was not mortgaged. Well the future isn't mortgaged, the future is almost lost. This fee won't even pay the interest on the debt these clowns have run up. At the end of last season the debt was quoted at £70m. Now it is £80m. It will be £90m soon no matter who we sell.

I'll support the team right to the end - when the liquidator finally closes the doors. I don't suppose at this rate I will have too long to wait.

Brian Foster Sydney, Australia (but born and bred in Leeds....)


It's ludicrous. If Leeds need to sell off the crown jewels, they should at least get the right price!

In news just in, Harry Kewell goes to Arsenal for 10 pence.

Guy Rothe (yes, I'm a disaffected Leeds fan).


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