James Tarkowski transfer saga: Brentford’s sought-after defender was wrong not to play.. but he doesn’t deserve to be frozen out by Bees

James Tarkowski’s refusal to play for Brentford against Burnley last Friday, after the Bees turned down a £1.7 million bid for the centre-back from the Clarets, was considered beyond the pale by fans and pundits alike. Tom Simmonds agrees that the player handled it badly, but cautions against over-emotional responses.

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First up, I should state that I think James Tarkowski’s actions were wrong. However, it is only fair to say that the Mancunian has honourable reasons for wanting to move back north, as he wants to be closer to his sick mother. Nobody should condemn him for that. The first realisation that your parents aren’t invincible is a heavy thing to deal with. Tarkowski is only 23 years old and is living a significant distance away from home. That is emotional pressure that would have an adverse effect on anybody.

However, this is not to say Tarkowski should escape censure for refusing to play. The way he and his agent handled the situation on Friday was clumsy and disrespectful to both Brentford and their fans, but it should not have escalated to the extent that it did.

Players being dropped because their heads have been turned by transfer talk is nothing new. Brentford manager Dean Smith will have encountered situations with unsettled players many times during his five years in charge at Walsall. It is possible that had Tarkowski been slightly less direct in his approach to the situation, Smith would have made the decision that the defender ultimately made for him and spared him the opprobrium of Brentford fans and outsiders.

In fact, when compared to other instances of players ‘going on strike’, Tarkowski’s example doesn’t compare to some of the worst. All it took for Dutch centre forward Pierre van Hooijdonk to withdraw his services from Nottingham Forest for the first three months of the 1998-99 season was for him to mutter darkly of “broken promises” when Forest sold Kevin Campbell to Trabzonspor in pre-season. Van Hooijdonk, a man who had previously said that a £7,000-a-week contract offered to him by Celtic was “good enough for the homeless, but not for an international striker”, was ostracised by his team-mates, who refused to celebrate his goals with him upon his return to the side.

A more contemporary example of such petulance is Carlos Tevez refusing to come off the bench for Manchester City during a Champions League tie at Bayern Munich in 2011. Then Blues gaffer Roberto Mancini claimed that Tevez’s actions had “finished” their working relationship, which he conveniently backtracked on when he realised the striker was a bit too good to be made an example of.

Returning to Tarkowski’s situation, there are several parties here who do not come out of this well – most of all Burnley. They will almost certainly have knowledge of his personal situation and have attempted to exploit it by putting in a bid for him that is significantly lower than the £4million offer that the Bees turned down in the summer.

Tarkowski and his agent could have handled the situation a lot more sensitively too, but some empathy with a young man facing a challenging time in his life is also called for. Should the transfer not go through before the end of the window, then we will see the extent to which he has burnt his bridges with Smith, his team-mates and the Brentford fans. If all he is guilty of is making a poor judgment – guided by emotion rather than the avarice people assume is a footballer’s default position when it comes to transfer time – then the Bees should consider whether this really is worth freezing him out over.

Do you think that Tarkowski’s actions were unprofessional or refreshingly honest? Is there any way back for him at Griffin Park now?

Read more from Tom here !

Follow Tom at @TallulahonEarth

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6 Comments on James Tarkowski transfer saga: Brentford’s sought-after defender was wrong not to play.. but he doesn’t deserve to be frozen out by Bees

  1. “Most of all Burnley” – ha.

    Let’s just take a moment to remind ourselves that several sources have cited Sean Dyche as saying that the only reason any of the Tarkowski AND Judge situations are public knowledge is because Brentford have spoken about them to the press, and there has been nothing to the contrary by Brentford to deny this.

    Burnley prefer all of their deals to be done in private – you’ll notice pretty much every transfer fee paid for any player over the last 5-6 years is “undisclosed” as an indicator of that.

    It almost – almost – looks like Brentford are trying to provoke a bidding war by making Burnleys interest in the two players known to the wider public.

    Now, you were saying something about a club unscrupulously wanting to exploit Tarkowski’s (hugely sad) situation?

  2. Jackieknight // January 20, 2016 at 8:55 am // Reply

    Why did didn’t he do the right way. Jota in similar situation but went about it like it should be done. We all have troubles in life but it’s how you approach them and in this case everyone handled it wrong

  3. There are a number of issues here but blame shouldnt be directed at any single party.
    Burnley bid a player……thats business! Take it or leave it Brentford.
    Tarkowski wants a move……..he shouldnt refuse to play but it seems he DOES have reason.
    Brentford didnt accept the Burnley bid……negotiate a suitable fee.
    The moral to this is that the media got to know about it, THAT COULD BE THE PROBLEM!

  4. a player is only ever worth what someone wants to pay for him, assuming because the selling club want 4m that clubs should offer 4m and if they dont they have done something wrong is idiotic

  5. The only people that have spoken about this transfer are people at Brentford!! It could have remained private. I think you need to aportion some blame to the agent. I can’t see that Sean Dyche has done anything wrong. He has put in a bid – less that the 3 million Austin went for!!! – and that’s it. Your conclusions look a little biased.

  6. Not sure why Burnley are the most to blame. They made a private bid, which Brentford chose to make public, obviously in the hope of starting an auction. No wonder the lad’s head is elsewhere!

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