'I was at Stoke, the transfer record was Imbula for £18m. He’s come in from Porto and he’s literally not tried'
A head of the kickoff of Off The Ball's 2017/18 Premier League coverage, Kevin Kilbane sat down with fellow former-Ireland internationals Niall Quinn, Jason McAteer, and Shay Given.
Talk quickly turned to the rapid inflation of transfer fees and what happens when a player fails to commit to their new club.
Shay Given reflected on one of his experiences last season:
"I think it’s tricky like, last year I was at Stoke and we signed, the transfer record was Imbula for £18m. He’s come in from Porto and he’s literally not tried since he’s been there.
"How do you scout that? He might look well at Porto. He might have a great past - he might have been great on the ball. He might have done this - done that - but he comes to a different country and doesn’t even learn how to say good morning to the rest of the team. Doesn’t want to learn the language, I mean, and doesn’t really want to play at Stoke," he told OTB.
Jason McAteer added that off the pitch issues can complicate moves:
"The thing as well is families, when they come from abroad it’s whether your wife settles, your kids are settling. You have to take all of that onboard. People forget you have another side to your life, which you have to put in place as footballers."
Having served as Sunderland chairman, the issue of players settling is something which Niall Quinn has given a lot of thought to:
"That’s a brilliant point Jason, because if you are coming into training happy with a smile on your face, and you love the area and you love the people that are around you, you’ll play well. You’ll have a good time. People appreciate it. But if you’re coming in and you’re half cocked and you think ‘I’m not sure I should be here’ you won’t do well and you will not perform.'"
He also recalled the 'pitch' he used to give to prospective signings:
"So, in Sunderland, we used to bring them to the training ground because at the time, it was state of the art and we were ahead in those stakes. We could show a stadium that could have up to 50,000 people at it. We could tell the story that this is a sleeping giant, ready to go and you’re the person that can really get these people going."
Quinn added that even when players believed in the club they could still struggle to settle:
"Some people bought into that but when the Sunderland crowd howled at a few for making a few mistakes early on they went under."
Off The Ball's Live and Exclusive Premier League coverage returns this Sunday
1st up at St James Park for the meeting of newly promoted Newcastle United and last season’s runners up Spurs with Pat Nevin alongside Ian Beach
After that we're off to Old Trafford for Manchester United against West Ham United with Nathan and Kevin