Well what a summer. A great World Cup where the only negatives were, Pepe,Suarez,Cameroon falling out with each other, and KP-B and Muntari being sent home early. All probably to be expected!! The freedom with which the 'teams' played was joy to behold. By 'teams' I means those who the sum of the parts was greater than the whole. USA,Mexico,Columbia,Chile and Costa Coffee!
Tellingly not a European team in there, Holland over-performed under Van Gaal but other than Robben and RVP they are a pretty average side. His reward, another job with another bunch of over hyped never-wases, RVP,Mata and Shrek aside. After they got humped by Swansea yesterday he clearly has his work cut out. He only changed formation and tactics 5 times all with the same result. If he want to stick to 3 at the back and a midfield that doesn't press, good luck with that in the Premier League!
Germany fully deserved the trophy their team ethos under Jochi Loew was amazing. Playing without a striker mostly and using Manny Neuer as a bludgeoning tool for any ball over the top in behind! Their dismantling of Brazil is probably the 2nd greatest football moment of the last decade. Obviously nothing will ever beat our win in Istanbul. Even Rafa would agree that's a FACT!
So firstly lets deal with Suarez. In hindsight I think it has worked out well for all concerned. We no longer have to have our Club's name tarnished further by this degenerate and £75mill is pretty decent return on £20mill layout. We are moving up the food chain but we are not at the top table financially and doubt we ever will be. We can't match City,PSG,Monaco or Chelski or the dodgy debt driven finances of ManUre,Barca and Real. Arsenal could become the 1st proper superpower financially if the 'Financial Fairplay' is enforced correctly going forward. They have bought players for £40mill plus in 2 consecutive seasons now...
So with the funds we have received for Suarez we have sought to strengthen the squad, adding some sadly lacking depth. Although if you believe Brendan Rodgers, most of what we have spent was already allocated and the Suarez money is as yet untouched. That is just as well as we have not really replaced him with our signings so far.
Lallana and Markovic will give us extra craft and guile in midfield, either wide or centrally. At the moment that role is solely being filled by Coutinho. We have addressed our defensive issues to a degree. Lovren is an astute signing. A two footed Centre-half with a years PL experience under his belt. In the 2 matches he has played so far he looks like leader who reads the game well. Our defensive line is generally higher in our final 3rd which needed to be addressed.
Manquillo and Moreno add options at right back and at last we have a proper left-back. I would expect Enrique to be moved on now and possibly Glen Johnson and Flanagan covering at LB. Personally I would get rid of Johnson. He adds almost nothing defensively and is equally useless going forward these days. I have to admit was sorry to see Martin Kelly go, but with the new signings and 6 centre-backs was he really going to get a look in?
On the CB front I would keep Skrtel,Agger and Sakho and get rid of Coates and Toure not good enough.
Emre Can looks like a proper player. He was used in a few different positions on our US tour and looks accomplished in every one of them, He played out wide on the left, holding, as well as in the hole. With his size and deceptive pace, I cant believe he didn't start today against Southampton.
Lucas and Gerrard were about as useful as chocolate fireguard in front of our back 4 today. Gerrard is too old now. He is fine when we have the ball and are setting up attacks with his raking passes but I don't think he won a single tackle today. Much like the World Cup and some of his displays towards the end of last season he is struggling, his pace has gone. As for Lucas he could have sat in the stands for all the use he was.
Brendan Rodgers confirmed that there are a 'few more' to come in. Hopefully another quality striker to add competition and adequate cover for Sturridge. I was excited about Remy but perhaps its for the best. As things stand we keep Borini and can use Sterling or Ibe centrally if needs must. The names we are being linked with at the moment are a bit far fetched I think, Lavezzi,Cavani and Falcao! The 1st two I would gladly take either of them. The latter who knows if he is 29 or 45! LOL.
I am going to commit a heinous crime here. What about Javier Hernandez? He has explosive pace is a proper poacher and the Manc Scum don't want him, so he has a point to prove..... I know we haven't sold a player to each other since the 1960's but that would be an awesome signing.
So whats missing from our jigsaw, if Lucas isn't the answer as holding cover then we need one more there. Check Tiote at Newcastle perhaps? Up front we have discussed a little I would like Lavezzi as that give us a similar player to Sturridge but also someone who can play wide in front 3. Divock Origi has been bought and loaned back out for another season, so that's one for the future. him, Sterling and Ibe togther could be the most destructive things to hit the pitch in years to come.
There are rumours that Marco Reus might be on his way and the Shaqiri thing doesn't seem to be going away either. I would welcome Reus but if Shaquiri cant get in the AC Milan team that finished 11th in an Old man's League like Serie A what chance does he have in the PL??
An interesting 2 weeks ahead with games against Man City and Spurs away. Not an ideal start but probably not a bad idea to get some of these games against the top 6 done early. If we get the points then that's a big bonus. City weren't very convincing today although they appeared more awake than we were, so will need to up our game next Monday.
I would start with almost the same team as today against City. Just replace Lucas with Can, simples. City showed today against Newcastle they are vulnerable against the counter attack and if the game get stretched at high tempo they do give the ball away a lot. Right up our street...
So my bin list before the transfer window closes:
Glen Johnson, Enrique,Coates,Toure,Assaidi, Lucas.
Coming in Check Tiote,Marco Reus and Ezikiel Lavezzi or Hernandez. Sorted, show us the trophies!
- I have been a Red since I was about 6 or 7. My boyhood hero was Kenny Dalglish and I have an autograph from him while he was still at Celtic. Thanks Gran! As such I gravitated towards the team he played for. So I have been Scottish-South African- Scoucer for about 30 years now! I am extremely passionate about our club, and have felt the need to start this blog in the face of the abject nature of our performaces under Benitez and the Hicks/Gillett ownership.