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Kaiyne Woolery to Wigan – short sighted, or a good deal?

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The new Jamie Vardy? Or the new Johann Smith?

Yesterday’s transfer deadline day saw pacy forward Kaiyne Woolery leave for a rumoured £300k to join local Bolton Rejects XI, Wigan Athletic. His transfer seems to have provoked a mixed reaction, from the typical Manning “not arsed”, to the more dramatic declaring themselves to be “gutted” at allowing such an exciting young prospect to leave.

You’ve got to feel sorry for the lad himself too – surely he doesn’t realise he’ll be playing in front of crowds as low as Tuesday’s unmentionable match every week now (assuming he gets a game). Or maybe they’re throwing enough money at him that he doesn’t really care.

“But isn’t he the new Jamie Vardy?” I hear you cry. The more romantic among you will have seen the parallel immediately – a pacy forward who started his career in non-league football, snapped up by a former premiership club down on it’s luck… It’s tempting to get carried away isn’t it?

Besides the Vardy story, genuine pace up front is a really exciting thing to have. There’s always a tendency to think that if you have a young lad with real pace who is decent at dribbling, the rest can just be coached into him over time and he’s guaranteed to turn out good in the end. It’s why Theo Walcott still inexplicably gets given chances in the Arsenal first team, and remains in the contention for England.

Even if you don’t manage to coach any real ability into the player, pace as frightening as Woolery’s still gives you an edge on your opposition, even with an unreliable end-product. Darius Vassell, Julian Joachim and Gabby Agbonlahor, as well as the aforementioned Walcott, have all built careers on that. Viewed through this prism, the transfer looks short-sighted.

But is that all there is to it? Should we have kept him for his pace? Does the Vardy comparison stand up to scrutiny? If youth and pace guaranteed success, surely Johann Smith would be up front for us now, banging goals in left right and centre?

Instead, he now plays for FC Edmonton in the North American Soccer League. In terms of the Vardy comparison – the man himself scored 27 goals in 37 games for FC Halifax Town, before rattling in 31 in 36 Conference games for Fleetwood Town. Woolery scored 1 goal in 18 games for Tamworth prior to his £10k transfer to the Whites. He managed 3 goals in 24 appearances for us.

Kaiyne Woolery may well turn out to be a decent player, and I wish the lad the best of luck in the rest of his career. I hope he does turn out to be more of a Jamie Vardy than a Johann Smith (especially if we managed to negotiate a sell-on clause).

Having said that, I have faith in Parky and I don’t really think the instinctive Vardy comparison stands up to scrutiny. From what I’ve seen of him, Woolery is still raw and far from the finished article, and certainly not a natural finisher. His goalscoring record backs this up.

Selling him for 30 times the amount we paid after he’s scored 3 goals, and with only a year left on his contract, seems a good decision to me – even if Tamworth are due some of it as part of a sell-on clause.

In fact it seems like we’ve made mugs of our local wannabe Wanderers yet again!