Scott Parker. Scottie Parker. Scottie 'Captain of the Galaxy' Parker. Football Writers' Player of the Year on a relegated team. Midfield general. 60s superhero hair. Ex-Blue. And now... a Chelsea player once more? The answer, if you trust the rumours floating around, is a resounding 'maybe'.
Tomorrow, the Times will report that Chelsea have approached West Ham United for a loan deal in which they'd take the midfielder back to Stamford Bridge for the season, presumably as a direct replacement for the injured Michael Essien, who's out of commission for 'up to' (read: 'at least') six months with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament'.
Although Parker isn't particularly well loved at Stamford Bridge, he's still a pretty good player. He can break up attacks, pass effectively, and isn't half bad with his long-range shooting. He never had a chance to show that at Chelsea, of course, but not being anywhere near as good as Claude Makalele isn't nearly the same as being bad. And he has intergalactic superhero, all-universe hair. He'd never let you come to harm, not with that hair. I may have mentioned his mop with some frequency over the past season. Yes, I'm obsessed.
A loan deal would make sense from Chelsea's perspective, of course - don't spend too much on a player when all you need is a single-season injury replacement, focus on your 'real' transfer targets - so things stack up there. What about for West Ham?
There, things fall apart a little bit. One would expect a relegated club to sell off key assets as they become either too pricy for an nPower Championship club or they get angry at the massive wage reduction upon relegation clause that's written into some of their contracts. West Ham aren't really bucking that trend - Matthew Upson's already been let go, Demba Ba is out, Robert Green will presumably go away soon as well and Carlton Cole is heading to the Britannia Stadium to join Stoke City for the cool sum of £6M. Yeah, Kevin Nolan has come in, but the former Newcastle man isn't going to come close to replacing that lot's combined production.
Do they have any reason to accept a Parker loan deal? They do have other options. They could sell him , or they could keep him. Each has tangible benefits - the first in terms of the money, and the second in terms of the increased likelihood of promotion. A loan deal gives them a fraction of the money of a sale, but it does return Parker to the team for 2012/13. In which situation does a loan deal make sense?
Sam Allardyce should accept a Parker loan if he expects West Ham to get back into the Premier League in one season without Scott Parker. If he doesn't think they're good enough to go straight back up, he should sell. If he thinks they're on the borderline, he should keep him. Only if the Hammers are good enough to dominate the Championship without their best player would a move make much sense for the east Londoners*.
*Or Chelsea could pay a silly loan fee, but then that wouldn't make much sense for us.
Am I missing something here? It doesn't even matter whether or not we want Parker to come to the Bridge (many Chelsea fans are vehemently opposed, I gather) - West Ham have to have an incentive to give him to us. And it doesn't look like they do.