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Lambert: £10m-Rated Woolfenden Still Just as Laid-Back
Friday, 17th Jan 2020 11:10

Blues boss Paul Lambert says central defender Luke Woolfenden, who he rates in the £10 million bracket, is remaining as laid-back as ever despite links with the likes of Premier League Sheffield United.

“Honestly, if Woolfy was any more laid-back he’d be horizontal!” Lambert laughed when asked how the 21-year-old was coping with the attention.

“I’m not kidding on that, I’ve never seen a guy as laid-back as that. Nothing seems to faze him.

“Sometimes you have to see if Woolfy’s got a heartbeat. Dear oh dear, he’s just taking everything in his stride really.

“I had a chat with him the other day on things. As I said before, he’s bland Woolfy but the way he’s performing football-wise, he’s been absolutely brilliant, he really has.”

Asked if there is a cut-off point at which Town wouldn’t consider offers because they wouldn’t have time to replace the academy product, who is also interesting QPR, Lambert said: “That can’t happen.

“Listen, if somebody came in, I don’t know the figure £20 million, whatever it is, that’s one thing you could never stop because of the way finances run the game and the way clubs are.

“We’re not in a position where we could turn down that level of money, it’s impossible. If that happens, it happens, but hopefully it doesn’t happen because he’s playing really, really well for us.”

He says he and owner Marcus Evans haven’t discussed a figure which would tempt them to part with the former East Bergholt High School pupil.

“No, I just know the level in the Premier League, I’ve been in it, I know the level of the Championship because I’ve been in it,” he said.

“I said the other day, there’s no way you could let what happened to the lad [Adam] Webster or the boy [Matt] Clarke [happen again], it doesn’t make sense. That can never happen again.”

Having laughed off claims the Blades could land Woolfenden for £3 million earlier in the week, Lambert was asked if the youngster is a £10 million player.

“The way the modern-day game is, aye, absolutely,” he insisted. “[For] potentially what he could be, 100 per cent is [worth that] because of the level of money [in the game].

“I’m not saying that on his ability but the level of money, the way the game is and the way it’s going. I see guys move for an incredible amount of money who I think are worth nowhere near it.

“And I think Woolfy is in that category of what you can buy now and what he’s going to be like later when he gets older.”

Turning to Woolfenden’s performances this season which have attracted the interest, Lambert said: “He’s comfortable with the ball, that’s the big thing with him. He’s playing with no fear factor, which is great for any player.

“I think the level he’s playing at and what he’s actually doing for us, is great.

“But he is comfortable with the ball, character-wise he’s really laid-back, which is totally fine.

“But he’s got so much in front of him, as long as he keeps his feet on the ground and keeps being humble, he’ll be alright.”

The Blues manager believes the centre-half or right-back benefited significantly from spending last season on loan with Swindon in League Two.

“Without a doubt,” he said. “And he wasn’t playing every game with Swindon, he was in and out of the team.

“And that would have given him a different aspect of the game - I’m not playing one week, am I going to be in next week? And he’s come here and just taken to it.

“If you saw him in Germany [in pre-season], I thought he was a country mile off it, the way he was performing in Germany.

“In training I thought he was way off it and I had to give him a talking-to over there to say ‘You’re going to have to really step it up'. And to be fair to the guy, he’s been exceptional.”

Lambert doesn’t believe that the Blues being in the midst of a promotion push and the lure of potentially winning a medal at the end of the season would be enough to persuade players to stay if a big offer were to be received.

“Money dictates. Money dictates the game now,” he said. “As I said before, if somebody comes in with millions and it puts the club in a better place, you can’t stop it.

“The money’s dictating the game. The way the game is going, the level of money that’s getting bandied out there, it keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

He says it’s harder for the likes of Town to keep hold of young players for the length of time they did in previous eras.

“Just because the level of money,” he reflected. “If you’re at a club and you aspire to get to a massive club or a bigger club that’s going to challenge for titles and all of that, things like that are going to happen.

“When you’re at those clubs you don’t want to move out of those clubs. But when you’re at a different club and it’s a smaller club compared to the biggest ones in Britain, it becomes different. And you can’t stop it because the money in the game is vast.”

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MrTown added 11:17 - Jan 17
£10m in a minimum but fair figure.

Haven't said that, hopefully no one bids for him.

IpswichToon added 11:27 - Jan 17
I believe the phrase is "Having said that"

TractorRoyNo1 added 11:57 - Jan 17
This is code for "yes, we are open for bids"

ArnieM added 12:03 - Jan 17
Not sure where this £10m price tag has suddenly arrived from . Don’t put price tags on players . You’ll get less than you value at .

runningout added 12:04 - Jan 17
He’s a tadge better than Adam Webster and his recent fee was £20 +

Hciwspi added 12:05 - Jan 17
Of course we are TractorRoyNo1. We're open to bids for any of our players. Always have been, and always will be.

SouperJim added 12:35 - Jan 17
No way is anyone going to pay £10m for the Woolf at this stage of his career and Evans would snap their arm off if they did.

Anything north of around £5m I think the club would consider but I doubt anyone is going to pay that for a player who hasn't played higher than league one, regardless of their potential. He's not going anywhere until the summer at the earliest and if we get promoted I expect us to hang on for at least another window as the price will only go up.

haynes_toe1 added 13:18 - Jan 17
£5m would be a great fee for a CB who's only just recently proved himself at League One level.

aloanagain added 13:26 - Jan 17
Change his name to Woolf van defenden then we'll get 30 million for him. Support the team.

Saxonblue74 added 13:54 - Jan 17
Why put a figure on his head at all? If an offer comes in, keep saying no until it gets ridiculous! Banding figures around suggests he's being put in the shop window. Problem is, £10m is peanuts to many clubs for a very promising CB so wouldn't be surprised to see that kind of offer on the table.

BurleysGloryDays added 15:25 - Jan 17
His level of potential is immense. And the money in the top league is immense. Inflation, put simply. And thank goodness, as the clubs down the leagues need that income if they're not getting it directly.

Woolf's character is an integral part of his value. The same way a keeper needs to be impervious to mistakes, the same way a striker needs to be a bit of an animal.

He's a £20m asset RIGHT NOW because of that potential. That's how investments work. And a £20m investment for a prem team is small fry.

And that's with hefty sell on.

Hopefully our boy stays with us for a couple of seasons of high success, at which point he'll be a £30m asset with a hefty sell on.

£10m not enough without enormous sell on in my view, and that is what I trust Lambo will be ensuring.

Michael101 added 16:00 - Jan 17
I know what Lambert means about him being laid back, saw him driving the other week and he was looking through his sun roof.😆😬😄

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 16:01 - Jan 17
Unfortunately, PL is probably saying it as it is here. At some point we're going to lose the Wolf. It just remains to be seen when and for how much.

ringwoodblue added 16:44 - Jan 17
I know one or two players don’t make a team but you have to trade off the negative impact of selling players like Downes and Woolfenden will have on our chances of achieving promotion vs the short-term income we’d get from selling them. In my opinion, we should hold onto them for the rest of this season and maximise our promotion chances and if we succeed they’ll be worth more as Championship players if/when we choose to sell them in the future.

ldnj added 19:48 - Jan 17
Easily worth £10m if Man U are thinking of allegedly paying £25m for a British 16yr old...

dukey44 added 20:06 - Jan 17
Sorry but everyone knows our owner... If he thinks it's enough he will sell..

KiwiBlue2 added 00:05 - Jan 18
I had initially thought 10m with a decent sell on 30% but now I am not so sure. The money in the Prem is now ludicrous. If Webster was worth 25m (?) then a good season in the Championship must see Woolfy above 10m but of course if we get promoted we would presumably want to hold him to have a go at a move up to the Prem. A very difficult one this but lets see where we are at the end of the season..... coyb

budgieplucker added 01:09 - Jan 18
If Everton paid £6 million for a 17 year old who hadn’t played a single first team match at the time and two years on the lad still hasn’t played in a premiership match then a few of £10 million for Woolfy by comparison is not a big ask for a premiership club who believes the lad has real potential. It won’t belong before he is every bit as good as Tyrone Mings was when we sold him for £8 million. The lad has plenty of time on his side and he will be much better for it if he plays regular first team football rather than bench warming or struggling to get on the bench at a premier league club. As a result in a couple of years time he will be far more mature with extra experience and regular games where he will then be able to command or push for a first team place in the premier league. Whilst he might miss out on some big money for a year or two, he is more than likely able to command a much better deal with a club having had the extra experience.

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