So, three players have gone and the first new recruit is on his way. I'm not overly excited about the prospect of Zarate, but he has to be better than Maiga, Cole, Downing and Jarvis, doesn't he? The fact that he can play wide but can also score goals points to the direction in which we are heading: no change in the 4-3-3 tactics, just a change in personnel. I hope somebody has told the Argentinian that his first job is to track the opposition full back!
Meanwhile, suggestions that we are prepared to loan out Downing tells you everything you need to know about the failure of that particular deal. At the time he was signed, I expressed deep reservations about the deal, not least because, with Carroll side-lined, our priority had to be a striker and not another winger, but, as ever, the Claret & Blue Klan tried to shout me down. One season and one goal on, the folly of the deal is surely obvious to everybody. Let's hope Zarate does a bit better than that!
The latest talk is linking us with Gareth Barry and that would be as bloody stupid as the Downing signing. I have huge regard for the former England man, but he is no spring chicken and given the need for pace and goals, Barry must be the wrong man at the wrong time surely. Yes he is available on a free but so what? The same applies to Ince, and despite his genes, he would surely be a more exciting recruit. Tell me, what threat would a central midfield of Noble, Barry and Diame pose exactly?
So, Zarate is a start, but if we are serious about a top 10 finish, we have to unearth better gems than him and ignore players like Barry.