He’s obviously very touchy about it, but however he tries to dress it up, I think we’re all finally clear about one thing; Westwood doesn’t want to be at the club much longer.
Fine, it’s his prerogative to run his contract down. What I’m not particularly keen on is why he keeps saying “I’ve never asked to leave”. It’s the football equivalent of holding your hand an inch away from someone’s face, and expecting them not to get annoyed. “Not touching, can’t get mad”.
Just because you’ve not said the actual words doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened, Keiren.
It’s a tricky situation for the club, and it’s not much easier for the fans. First of all, whose version of events do you believe? Westwood reckons he’s not been offered an improved contact until a few weeks back, by which point he’d decided he wasn’t going to sign. If Ranson’s to be believed, we sat him, Gunny, Fox and Dann down back when they were at the club and offered them all improved deals.
Either way, he’s not signed, he doesn’t want to sign, and he’s going to cost the club a whole load of money by buggering off at the end of the season.
So what can we do? He’s a great keeper and in an ideal world, we’d keep him and he’d choose to sign a contract. That’d be cushty. Problem is, that’s scenario Z.
Instead, do we forgive and forget and let him play out to the end of the season, then leave us high and dry? That’d keep him happy, and it might actually help us have a successful season. On the other hand, we’ll be without a great keeper at the end of it, and lose £5 million in assets, or however much he’s worth.
Boothroyd’s already tried the alternative of showing him who’s boss, and leaving him on the bench. If we do that it can go a couple of ways; Westwood stays but gets angry (which we’ve already seen) and leaves in January for a little bit of money. Or he stays and suddenly realises that he’s got a year on the bench to contend with and inexplicably signs. Yeah, I can’t see that happening either.
Argh, it really is a contractual minefield, and as you can tell by my ramblings here, I’m a little stumped as to the best way forward.
All I know is I’m struggling to be happy with a player who has given us such a blatant kick in the teeth.