Seeing green: Why Stephen Kenny deserves credit for Ireland’s most lucrative transfer window – Pundit Arena

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Nathan Collins has become Ireland’s most expensive footballer of all time, weeks after Gavin Bazunu got a move to Southampton for £12.5 million before add-ons.
Two men, aged 21 and 20, worth millions, and both from Ireland.
In modern day football, this shouldn’t be rare or strange, but such is the way Irish football was ran for the past 10 years or so.
While other countries with similar populations produced wonderkids and future stars to beat the band, we were lucky to have anyone in the Premier League at all.
But things are changing. In fact, things have changed, and the numbers back it up.
With still a few weeks left to go in the transfer window, it is already the window that has seen the most money spent on Irish players. Collins and Bazunu of course make up the majority of it, but that doesn’t make the point any less valid.
ireland transfers
It is about time that Irish players start to make waves at the biggest level, and the best way for that to happen is for them to be signed for big money.
There will be an increased level of expectation on Collins and Bazunu now, but that’s a good thing. They will know themselves how good they are, while Irish players in the past have been far too modest.
Josh Cullen going for less than £3 million is a reminder of what it shouldn’t be like. He is too good, and if he was the same player but with 10 England caps, there would be another figure on his transfer fee.
There is so much reason to be positive though.
Just think what Caoimhin Kelleher would go for if he left Liverpool this summer, as one of the best back-up goalkeepers in the world. Or Troy Parrott, Michael Obafemi and Adam Idah.
Jason Knight looks set to leave Derby for big money, and it’s exactly what he deserves too.
Ireland has valuable, young assets for the first time in a very long time.
ireland transfers
And like everything positive that is happening with Irish football these days, a special mention needs to go to Stephen Kenny – the man who called up both Bazunu and Collins for the first time.
He didn’t call them up to be squad players though, they are now crucial members of his team.
Would Bazunu have got the move to Southampton without the Cristiano Ronaldo penalty save? Would Collins have gone for a record fee if it wasn’t for the Ukraine goal? We’ll never know.
But one thing we can say with confidence is that under another manager, we wouldn’t even be having these conversations.
Collins and Bazunu owe him a thank you, which he will hopefully get in the shape of a few dozen international clean sheets.

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