The Winston Reid story took a negative turn today as Sam Allardyce conceded that it was looking less and less likely that he could be persuaded to stay at West Ham. While we all recognise that modern soccer is primarily a business, at West Ham we remain steeped in a particular tradition and still maintain a homely veneer amidst the comings and goings of the moneybags mercenaries.
For this reason, it is tough to see a player nurtured at the Boleyn pu led away by the lure of something different. Rumours of a five year 600 a week offer suggest that its hardly more cash that is the issue and that an appetite for European football is the draw. With the current squad and the Olympic Stadium move looming, one wonders if Reid (and his advisers) is calling this correctly?
For Sam, this loss will disappoint. Reid was a rough prospect when he arrived from Danish outfit FC Midtjylland after the 2010 world cup. Strong, athletic but defensively naive, he has benefitted from being one of Sam's chosen ones. It took him some time to settle, but Sam believed in him and the experience of playing in the Championship helped him to bridge the gulf to the top level but he has continued to develop under Sam's guidance. At 26 he is rated by many to be as good as any other central defender in the League and his loss would seriously weaken the proposed spine of the team for the Olympic Stadium. A mention of loyalty would simply provoke guffaws of derision in our modern footie climes.
It would be sad to see him go, and sadder still to see his form dip at the likes of Liverpool or Tottenham - clubs that have provided career graveyards for so many quality players (ask Stewart Downing!). Worst of all, he might warm the bench at the other high profile vulture clubs who are said to be interested.
On the other hand, maybe we are in the final throes of a resolution. However, Winston and his agents should bear in mind that sometimes a journey can sour the destination, especially if too drawn out.