Friday, November 17, 2006

Luquing for a way out

Albert Luque's response to being omitted from the 16 at the City of Manchester Stadium was disappointing but also inevitable, the Spaniard issuing what could only be described as an ultimatum to Glenn Roeder: "My situation is now desperate. I'm unhappy. I want to play in every game. The final decision is with the coach and if he is not interested the best solution is for me to go in the winter market."

While there's no way that he should expect to be guaranteed a place in the first team, he does perhaps deserve a little better, having scored the vital winner against Palermo and livened things up significantly when he came on in the dreadful home defeat by Sheffield Utd less than 48 hours later.

Even for those of us who were prepared to be patient with him, though, there's no denying that he's been an expensive flop. You don't become a bad player overnight, and Luque certainly isn't a bad player - but for whatever reason (poor form, lethargy, complacency, managerial tactics, an inability to settle in England...) it just hasn't happened for him at St James' Park.

Like Luque, I'm now coming round to thinking it'd be better for both parties if we cut our losses and let him leave. The latest team to be linked with him are Bordeaux, though the lure of a mooted move back to Spain with Barcelona, who are desperately short upfront, would no doubt prove far more attractive.

Nothing can really happen until the transfer window reopens in January, so in the meantime it'll be interesting to see if Roeder is prepared to give him more of a chance and if he can take it and begin to turn things around. And of course that depends upon whether or not he really wants to.


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