Football’s economy as a whole has been utterly shattered by the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with clubs both big and small counting the costs of what has been a 12-month struggle.
Usually many a football fan will rightly assume that owners across the country can willingly pump cash into the club coffers in order to make moves in the transfer market, however that may now be a thing of the past for at least a season or two until the financial landscape returns to it’s previous form.
The Premier League is perhaps the only league worldwide that has still been able to reign supreme despite the strain put on it by the pandemic, with the 20 top flight clubs combined spending a total of £1.26 billion.
However this is not the case for some of English football’s smaller institutions.
Clubs such as Plymouth Argyle in League One have been forced to savour every penny during this difficult time and as a result their own approach to this summer’s window could also be the subject of change.
Their star man, Luke Jephcott, has been touted as a potential recruit for several higher division clubs in recent weeks and months, however the stance of Argyle was made emphatically clear during the January window just gone when their manager, Ryan Lowe stated the following:
“Luke is in no rush to go anywhere, we are in no rush to let him leave. He has still got a lot of learning to do.
“Anyone who rings up (about Jephcott), the phone will be getting put down because we don’t need to sell.
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“If they want to ring at the end of the season after he scored 25 goals it will probably cost them £3.5 million.
“It’s whether anyone has got £3.5m at the moment. Honestly, we are not even looking into that, we haven’t even thought of it.”
Indeed Jephcott did previously sign what was described as a long term contract by his manager in the summer of last year, thus committing his future to the third tier outfit at least for the next few years.
However if a bid is forthcoming for the marksman this summer, would Argyle be wise to accept?
The planned return of fans should help to bring the budgets back into alignment over time, however it may be a while before clubs at Championship level are able to fork out the quoted fee that Lowe banded about for his star man.
Therefore it would be wise for Plymouth to hold onto the striker until at least next January as by this time the market may have begun to regain the healthy outlook it once had, whilst the club can also take comfort from the fact that the player has committed to the aforementioned contract thus leaving time for his value to increase before moving on.
Based on his current trajectory, Jephcott can certainly go far in the game but it would be unwise to let him leave the familiar surroundings of Home Park until the market levels out as selling him for less than his value would be a disservice to the work that has been put into the 21-year-old’s development this season.