I’m also inspired by having lost access to my soccer channels. Mostly because I am f–king tired of paying Comcast/Xfiniti (stupid name, by the way – it sounds like the title of some late seventies, sci fi themed, soft core porn) extortionate level monthly payments.
So, we’re going to muse fruitlessly on the summer transfer window and what kind of player I think some of the top Premier League teams should target. Yeah. This is almost as much fun as watching soccer on tv. Except I am not going to pay that company any more than I already am (for mind numbingly bad service and speeds) and won’t, even if I win the lottery. Bastards.
It’s easy to say ‘striker’ and it’s true, but I actually think there are some bigger needs. That’s because Yaya Sanogo will be a little more experienced next year. Giroud is still solid and why doesn’t Lukas Podolski get more time at striker? I think they need a striker, but it doesn’t have to be a world beater. Mario Mandzukic is a classic, bustling number nine who is likely to available comparatively cheap. And there’s nothing wrong with Wenger doing his thing where he poaches some young striker from France. They just need someone worth 10-15 goals a year to play in rotation.
Where they really need some top class help is at the back and midfield. At the back, they need another center back. And not just any center back. Someone with some pace. They don’t have to be an automatic starter, but someone with recovery speed, which is something they lack with the current first choice pairing of Kolcsielny and Mertsacker. If Sagna leaves, they need a veteran right back to help fill in while the youthful prospect Carl Jenkinson matures into a regular starter. Finally, they need a central midfielder to play deep. Whether it’s a bruiser type or a more cultured player, it’s got to be someone with body mass who can’t be bullied and has the positional sense to hold things together at the base of midfield.
Everyone talks about them needing an attacking central midfielder to link with the strikers, but I don’t think that’s their biggest problem. Last year, they were dependent on Michael Carrick to hold things together at the back. He’s a regista with great defensive nous, who helped protect the defense while also circulating the ball and who can hit some nice long diagonals help open things up. But this year, age appears to be catching up and you’ve got bet that the injury struggles he used to have will come back as the mid-thirties beckon (I say this as forty beckons me). Who will replace him? They need a midfield general with defensive positional sense and the ability to start the attack at the base of midfield (Ilkay Gundogan is an example of the type, but they just need to find someone with those qualities). With a confident player like that, I think that someone like Clevereley could improve his ability to carry to ball forward to the one of the attacker and help provide that link – if there’s someone behind him able to keep play moving from deep and protect the backline.
Speaking of the backline, they have the opposite problem of Arsenal. They have two young defenders in Smalling and Jones who are both mobile and skillful, but they need a big man to replace the departing Vidic and provide the muscle. And since it also seems like Evra is gone, a new left back is in order. But with all the needs they have, I hope they don’t blow twenty million euros on Luke Shaw (see Southampton), because they’ll need that money for the rest of the team.
They’re going to buy a fancy new striker and that will pretty much take care of it. Maybe a second, younger striker as a future prospect and squad rotation. But they’re going to buy what’s necessary and don’t need to told so.
Some squad depth. Henderson has been crucial, so maybe a box-to-box midfielder with a great engine. Probably a centerback or two and time to start thinking about what happens when Glen Johnson slows down. When Gerrard finally can’t do it anymore, they’ll need someone to take his place, but I think that Joe Allen is well suited to step in. He doesn’t hit the ‘hollywood pass’ halfway across the field, but if we’re honest, Gerrard actually misses a lot of those, so someone safer (more mobile) might not be a bad thing.
My beloved Spurs… how you have wasted your chances. They need a reliable striker. Someone who can step in and produce double digit goals in his first season. They need another outside midfielder/winger so that Eriksen can move inside and the team can be built around him. Also, that outside midfielder needs to be fast. Right now, Lennon is the only reliable midfielder who brings speed down the flanks, so unless Townsend figures out how to stop wasting possession, they need someone else who can stretch the field a little. Beyond that, if they hold on to their centerbacks, they’re well stocked for now. And either start blooding Fryers more or bring in a solid left back, with the emphasis on solid. They already have Rose attacking like crazy, they need a safer alternative for some matches.
If they keep Lukaku, they’re set at attack (maybe a young prospect), but, like Spurs, some pace down the outside wouldn’t hurt. They’re fullbacks are amazing, but in outside mid, only Mirallas has real pace. And a central midfielder utility player in recognition of the fact that neither Barry (if they sign him permanently) nor Osman are getting younger.
Some depth. Especially in central midfield and defense. Their first choice center mid pairing of Toure and Fernandinho is the best in the league, but if one of them can’t play or has a bad day, the options are thin on the ground. It’s even worse in central defense. But no need to buy world beaters – these are squad rotation players. Either younger players to bring up slowly as replacements or experienced players who can fill in.
Easy, sell only one of Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana and if you do sell one, buy a strong replacement. Go ahead and sell Shaw, but charge over the odds and buy a left back ready to step in right away. In both cases, save a chunk of the change to buy a striker that you can be confident will bang in the goals. Do not sell Morgan Schneiderlin, because you’re unlikely to get enough of a transfer fee to actually be able replace with someone able to fulfill the same, critical role on the team as he does right now.
Switch to a 4-3-3 to get the best out of Hatem Ben Arfa, but that also means buying a winger or two. Someone to play opposite Ben Arfa (Gutierrez is a maybe not the caliber you need) and someone to step in for Ben Arfa, who needs rest to avoid injury and burnout. And a leader at the back, because Coloccini is leaving.