I never thought I’d say this but I am beginning to think that Rory Delap has become a priceless Premier League commodity.
Delap’s throw-ins are not just incredible, they are incredibly effective. Seven of Stoke’s 13 goals this season have been created by his rocket launchers. How many other players have made seven goals already from set pieces? None, I suspect. And imagine if he was playing in a better team, where the ball was more likely to spend its time in the opposition half. Frightening!
Goalkeepers, managers and pundits are falling over themselves to make excuses about how ‘undefendable’ they are and they seem to have a point. Tim Howard even suggested yesterday that he’d rather his defenders concede a corner than a throw against Stoke. Who could argue with me when I say that his deliveries are better than David Beckham’s when he was at the height of his powers?!
I must stress that this hasn’t always been the case. He’s been given two free transfers in the past for good reason I’m sure but it’s clear to see that he’s worked on his technique and turned his throws into a much more consistently dangerous weapon. And it’s a more dangerous tool at the highest level because clubs are not used to facing this kind of direct tactic and they select defenders on ability rather than physical presence.
To put this into context, the popularity and finance behind Twenty20 Cricket has made old fashioned ‘sloggers’ the most important players overnight. And the big hitters are about to coin it in, to the tune of millions.
Is the ultimate long throw football specialist not comparable to the ‘slogger’ now that we’ve seen how it works? If I were Mr Delap’s agent I’d be knocking on the boardroom door sharpish…
Which begs the more serious question for Stoke City fans to ponder….can the club hold onto him in January? After all, which team wouldn’t want his asset for themselves?
The likeable Potters chairman Peter Coates was quoted on TV as saying he’d accept £25million for Delap but nothing less. He wasn’t serious though, he was laughing as he said it.
But why shouldn’t they demand that? The value of Stoke staying in the Premier League is around £25million a year anyway — and if they were to allow the Irishman to leave their relegation odds would shorten significantly.
In reality Stoke would probably accept a bid of around £8million for Delap. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that they would accept less. They did land him on a free transfer from Sunderland remember…
Maybe I am being a little carried away here but if I were a Britannia Stadium regular I’d have steam coming out of my ears if the club sold Delap in January or next summer. He’s the most important player at the club.
He’s worth £25million at least…isn’t he?
This article was initially published on 4sportsake.com.