Doncaster Rovers: Everyone has a price but there are times when players are priceless

The saying goes that everyone has their price.

Tuesday, 6th August 2019, 15:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th August 2019, 21:37 pm
Ben Whiteman

It is the case even in financial basket case that is football, where a reported £603m will activate the release clause of Lionel Messi at Barcelona.

As you wander down the colossal pyramid of the world game, the demands become much more achievable for potential buyers and much more difficult for unwilling sellers to turn down.

But before reaching the point of crazy money, there simply must be occasions when even realistic prices are simply not right when it comes to certain players.

Doncaster Rovers showed their willingness to stand firm with the case of John Marquis in January. With a push for promotion in full swing, losing one of the division’s very best strikers would have been catastrophic.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

There was however an acceptance from all parties at the time that it was only delaying the inevitable. Without promotion, Marquis would leave – even if family reasons turned out to be the biggest driving force in his eventual departure.

Rovers now face a similar test of resolve over Ben Whiteman – thought, I would argue, this is one situation where they should stand even more firm.

The 23-year-old has most recently been the target of Hull City, though other Championship sides are understood to have shown interest over the summer.

Given his incredible development since his arrival at Rovers, it is no surprise. In Saturday's season opener against Gillingham, he looked a level above the overall standard on the pitch.

Whiteman’s importance has already been emphasised by the fact he has been handed the captaincy for the season.

The next step, in my opinion, is to hand him a new contract that demonstrates how much he is valued – and more importantly gives Rovers the power when it comes to the seemingly inevitable day when interest in Whiteman is too strong to brush off.

Rovers have their place in the football pyramid but they are also stable enough not to have to chase every pound on offer.

Whiteman is a player they should be looking to build the team around for the next few years – a talisman whose presence is a statement of intent for the club.

If you pick up a copy of this after 5pm on Thursday, when the Premier League and Championship transfer windows close, maybe the price for Whiteman will have indeed be found.

But hopefully the incredibly promising midfielder will prove priceless for Rovers this season.