Thursday, 3 June 2010

Never Mind Grant, How About A Team?

The little matter of a work permit being issued to a national of a rogue state apart, Avram has been appointed...Gold is talking about the speed of the appointment but every day since Zola went has been a wasted day, unless Grant has been working behind the scenes.

The worry is that so many of our players are being linked with other clubs. The rumour has resurfaced about Green to Arsenal. Upson's departure seems nailed on. Cole is wanted by Stoke, Bayern and Villa supposedly. Noble may be off too. Mido has gone and so have Franco and Ilan. At this rate, if Boa signs a new contract we could have a three man team!

Now that the dust has settled on last season, I would like most of the squad retained personally. If somebody is mad enough to pay £15m for Cole, I'd take it. But £6m for Green? No, I wouldn't sell him for that unless he makes clear that he is going to trigger a Bosman. And Upson? Well Capello took him in the end, suggesting that he is at least the equal of Dawson and Tottenham fans aren't calling for a replacement for their captain are they?

I put the blame for last season squarely on the shoulders of Zola and I think a half decent manager, working with the squad available from January onwards, would have secured a mid table position comfortably. As I kept saying, Green, Ilunga, Upson, Parker, Cole, Behrami, Parker and Diamanti make up the core of a decent team. Da Costa came on great guns once Zola got around to picking him and Tomkins will be better next season with another year's experience under his belt. Faubert, meanwhile, was the one player who showed sustained improvement under Zola. Daprela looks good to me, Collison is out until January but hopefully will then "come again", Boa impressed in that end of season kick about against Man City, Hines will be back, Kovac and Noble offer depth to the midfield squad, Spence is highly rated, Stanislas may yet find consistency...and if McCarthy has his stomach stapled...

So what problems does the new manager face? Well we are still short in the same areas that we were short in at the end of 2008-09. The sale of Etherington was a mistake because it left us short of somebody who naturally plays wide left, and Ashton and Neill have not been replaced. The sale of Collins, of course, gave us a new problem. To be fair, the emergence of Daprela means we have an option for left back...the great mystery of why Zola kept picking Spector will probably never be explained.

Is Petrov coming? That would sort out the left of midfield if we can keep him fit. We need at least two strikers, even if we don't sell Cole. We need an experienced centre back even if Upson stays and we need another right back. £20m should cover that lot but will S&G make those sorts of funds available to Avram?

This is a make or break summer. Gold is talking about a new era and we have heard a lot about clearing out the dead wood - but are Green, Upson and Cole "dead wood"? I'm not sure they are! Instead of selling the crown jewels, perhaps we should be focused on filling in the gaps around our England men. How about this team to start the new season:

Green: Faubert, Upson, Da Costa, Ilunga; Behrami, Boatoeng, Parker, Petrov; Diamanti; Cole.

That doesn't look like a bad team to me if Grant can get Diamanti operating in the hole and breaking beyond Cole. With a fit Boa, McCarthy, Tomkins, Daprela, Noble, Hines, Stanislas and Kovac as options for the bench, we would look in reasonably good shape wouldn't we? Chuck in another striker and centre back and we would certainly not be facing a season of struggle. And with Collison back, I would play him ahead of Behrami!

So should evolution, rather than revolution, be the order of the day?


Sav said...

I always thought we had a better bunch of players than most of the teams around us. As you say, our bad performance was down to persistently bad selections and tactics. But true, we need to fill the gaps you have identified. But not at the expense of creating new holes in the team by selling off our good players. And yes, I would accept 15 million and quite a lot less for Carlton Cole because I think he is replaceable. Possibly, with someone who is also good at scoring a few more goals.

fred149 said...

great post here HF id like to see da costa and tomkins play a few pre season friendlys together see if there compatible to play with each other

Anonymous said...

on paper we do have a good team apart from spector and mido (thank god we let him go. dyer and gabbidon probably aren't worth keeping due to injury and high wages. we really need a rb, cb, lm, cam and 2 strikers.

i would be in for these 10 players

gk. joe lewis 2m
rb. luke young 3m-4m
cb. liam ridgewell 3m (out of contract in a year)
lm. martin petrov free
lm. peter whittingham 2m
cm. joe ledley free
cm. boateng 3m-4m
st. piquonne 2m-3m
st. tardelli 5m
st. vela (loan)

total 20 million

green and upson might not want to stay and if we get bids of 10 million or they walk on a bosman maybe we should consider them in order to bring in some bigger names than what we would be buying without them funds.

maybe yobo (5m) at cb, moyes is keen to sell in order to strengthen his team

if we do need to sell to buy, aswel as dyer, spector and gabbidon i would sell stanislas and faubert at the right price, i have never been impressed by stanislas, maybe zola made him look worse than he is but he is frustrating to watch and then faubert, although he impressed me this year but he is on mega wages. maybe 60k+ curbs and egg head did sign him afterall, i would personally keep him and play him rm but finances might not allow that. but there is nothing wrong with the core of the team

Anonymous said...

lol the first positive post you've ever made !!!!

Deane said...

It's great to speculate cos then you can be positive but when we sell the good players we have get in over the hill loanees and sell Upton Park who will be whinging that you aren't positive mr HF good post keep it up The truth though often hurts

Stani Army said...

No, let's keep the same players and see what Grant does with them....I mean, if we're good enough for a comfortable midtable, then why not?

Anonymous said...

Surely a week or two is long enough for a new manager with the new squad? oh hang about we don't have a new squad do we? they're all for sale though, but anyway I'm sure the Davids know what they are doing... we're bound to hit the ground running.