Column: The three options on the table for Spireites as Barnsley chase Ariyibi
Gboly Ariyibi might be in Danny Wilson's plans, but if Barnsley keep upping their bids, the Spireites boss will have to unveil Plan B.
With the context of recent history and the club’s well publicised financial limitations, no one will be surprised if they choose to cash in on their flying winger.
A club statement this week contained Wilson’s insistence that he and the board wanted to keep Ariyibi at the Proact.
But you can’t always get what you want.
The 21-year-old has been invited for contract extension talks, but he isn’t interested in a long term deal and will let his current contract run out at the end of the season.
Unless the player and his agent are playing some kind of elaborate bluffing game, Ariyibi will not be a Spireite this time next year.
And if his future lies elsewhere, Chesterfield are faced with three options.
Option one will appeal most to the manager currently benefitting from the youngster’s pace and trickery.
Ariyibi’s service to Ched Evans could be a vital in helping Wilson keep Chesterfield away from the drop zone in League One this season.
Inconsistency was cited by fans as one of the frustrations they had with Ariyibi last season but when he’s in full flow, there’s a buzz around the Proact.
He has undoubted potential and were he to turn on the style game in and game out he would be too good for this division.
There are League One full-backs who already know they can’t live with him based on 2015/16 encounters, before he apparently spent the summer getting bigger and stronger.
If he departs, there will be a lot of disappointed Spireites, they will have been robbed of one of their main sources of entertainment.
With the average attendance in danger of a decline, might Dave Allen and Chris Turner be tempted to speculate in order to accumulate?
Some success would certainly help the club out, financially speaking.
Of course all of the above comes with a risk – should Ariyibi’s contract expire he will leave and a tribunal will decide how much compensation the Spireites earn.
He isn’t a product of their youth system, was signed for free, hasn’t been at the Proact for long and is unlikely to be on an enormous wage – all factors that could weigh against Chesterfield and in favour of any new employer.
Option two for the powers that be at 1866 Sheffield Road is to hold their nerve for the next week and simply bat away any bids, in the hope of sparking a January transfer window bidding war.
That would give Wilson at least four more months to employ Ariyibi to good effect down the flanks in the knowledge that the player is out to impress potential suitors.
The risk here is, of course, that a January race to sign the player fails to materialise and someone like Barnsley can offer less than they did in August.
Another Sam Morsy scenario could develop, with Chesterfield forced to accept much less than they’d like to.
So to the third option – cash in now.
Ariyibi’s potential value may be at its 2016/17 season peak right at this minute.
Chesterfield’s position in the negotiations isn’t a particularly strong one, but it will only weaken from here on in.
A player who wants to play at a higher level, in the last year of his contract, with Championship clubs among his admirers holds more cards than a club with known fiscal limitations would like.
Chesterfield gave Ariyibi a chance after he failed to stick at Southampton and Leeds United, and he wouldn’t be in his current position had Wilson not backed him last season.
The player owes the Spireites, but ambition trumps loyalty and can’t be denied.
This magical £3million asking price that has become part of the tale, without ever being put on the record, is pure fantasy because Chesterfield can’t hope to get anywhere near that much money.
But they might get the best part of a million.
That would be a reasonable and respectable return for a player who cost nothing to sign and hasn’t proved himself outside of League One yet.
A sell on clause and appearance-linked incentives may see further financial benefit.
It’s encouraging for supporters that Chesterfield have knocked back bids from Barnsley thus far, showing a determination not to be shortchanged.
Many are hopeful that the club continue to hold their ground and wait for an acceptable offer.
Of the three options on the table for the Spireites, cashing in seems by far the most likely scenario. The club needs the money.
So my money is on a deadline day move for Ariyibi, for an undisclosed fee, and Wilson to show us Plan B.