Monday, 11 June 2018

In Defence of the Board

OK, this doesn't come easy as I am no fan of Princess Brady and the Dildo Brothers, but with so many knives drawn because of our failure so far to land a marquee signing, I think it is time to say a few words in their defence. This isn't going to make me popular but I am used to that, so here goes...

The big complaint at the moment is that we are bidding low and so risking losing the services of Anderson and co. It is a familiar gripe, of course, as season after season we are linked with players who ultimately we fail to sign, but before we all get carried away, let's just stop and reflect on the business done and not done in recent years..

To begin, the club has shown that you don't have to break the bank to bring in quality. Antonio was a snip. Lanzini was a bargain. Cresswell was a steal. Obgonna was damn good business. Obiang was cheap. Kouyate was excellent value. Hernandez may yet prove to be an astute signing. Zabaleta proves that not all freebies are to be sniffed at. Adrian may not be top drawer but was a better buy than Hart would have been! Fernandes has shown glimpses of being a quality player. And, of course, at £11.5million, a certain Dmitry Payet proved that there are gems out there in the bargain buckets.

Who were the best buys over the last few years? That would surely have to be Leicester's capture of Kante and Mahrez, and neither of those brought the bankers out in a cold sweat.

Now let's flip the coin and look at who we could have signed. If the rumours were true, we bid somewhere in the region of £30million for Lacazette. Now, given he can't score regularly for Arsenal, would that have been money well spent? At the £40m asking price, I would call that a bullet dodged personally. Then there were rumours of a £25m bid for Benteke. Anybody fancy that deal now? How about the £20m wanted for Zaza? Or the £24m paid by Leicester for Iheanacho? Do they look great deals now?

Of course we have splashed the dosh too. £20m plus for Ayew! How many of us complained at the time, but was that sensible? How about £8m for Fonte or £10m for Snodgrass? If you pay whatever you are asked to pay, then you generally pay too much. Then there's the £8m for Hugill of course. Stupid bloody money!

So now we come to this summer. Even before the injury to Lanzini, we needed at least five quality players to make us a decent team. Now with our most creative player out for the entire season, I make that six. And how big is the transfer budget? Well we are told £75m and whilst that seems like typical bullshit, let's take it at face value for the moment and do the sums. Divide 75 by 6 and you get £12.5m per player - or six Dmitry Payet deals!

True we have already landed a free transfer, meaning the available funds equate to £15m per player or, God help us, five Andy Carrolls!

Now if this is the case, would it really be sensible to splash £30m plus on one midfield player, especially a midfield player untested in the blood and thunder of the Premiership? Personally, I suspect not.

So I put it to you all that Sullivan is right to only buy on our terms. The Board proved with Arnie that they are prepared to pay big when the price is right - and once Bilic was gone, that proved a fantastic deal.

Sod what Pellegrini wants, he NEEDS a quality squad, not a second rate squad with two high earning big names. And, to be honest, if he is a decent manager, then he should be able to work with the team he has inherited and get decent results. Are Burnley any better than us, player for player? We would take Pope, of course, but how many of the others? What about Watford? Or Everton for that matter? Bilic lost control of the players and Moyes was too cautious by far. Surely a half decent manager should be able to incorporate Hernandez, Antonio and Arnie into a potent attacking team with Kouyate and Lanzini, when fit, also breaking into the box? Sort out the defence and replace Lanzini and top 8 should be a realistic target surely?

So let's get real. We are not Man City or Liverpool. We haven't just sold Gareth Bale either. Let's focus on realistic targets. Defenders who can defend would be good. The ugly midget from Stoke would be useful. A decent keeper at a realistic price would be great. I don't want a marquee signing personally, I want round pegs for round holes and, most importantly, players with a good fitness record.

Bugger the Bentekes and Lacazettes. I would rather have the next Pope, Payet, Kante, Morgan  Mahrez and Maguire personally. They are out there somewhere. It is the Pelican Panini's job to find them!

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