Not blogged in a while, to which I can only apologise as my end of university exam preparation has been taking up my free time. Not to worry, all’s good now and I have a brilliant patch in my life between education and full-time employment. That in mind however, was nice to see my blog surpass the 10,000 mark this week, not bad for a blog operating for less than 3 weeks.
Back to business.
The domestic transfer window officially opened today, with the international (the really fun one) transfer window opening on July 1st. So, with my not-so-expert overview, I would like to cast an opinion over the perspective budgets, targets and areas that need strengthened from team to team. And if I’m feeling particularly bold I may even predict an end of season finish for May 2012.
So, 20 teams all with very different definitions of success. Lets start with the reigning champions and make our way down to the newly promoted sides;
Manchester United; (last season – 1st)
Estimated transfer budget available - £50-60M
Highlighted positions; GK, LM, CAM, CM
Manchester United have recently had the retirements of Van der Sar, Scholes and Neville to deal with, the rest of the squad are balanced but older than some, so a general re-building may occur in the next few seasons. Firstly, they need a new GK, Van der Sar needs to be replaced with similar quality, De Gea at Athletico is said to be a target but has rubbished speculation until after the U’21 Championships.
Their attacking forces can be bolstered too with quality Left and Centre attacking Midfielders; Bale, Modric, Nasri seem the names thrown around but I can’t see it happening, except maybe Modric. A distributor in midfield could also be key, with Hernandez and Rooney thriving on the shoulder ball.
If I was Sir Alex, I’d sign; Marc Steklenburg, Charlie Adam, Luka Modric. (Prediction 2nd)
Chelsea; (last season – 2nd)
Estimated transfer budget available – £70M+
Highlighted positions; RB, CF, CB, CDM. – Manager
Firstly, this constant management turnover needs to stop, owners of football clubs can not keep on changing things, it’s not good for the club. They need a chairman strong enough to challenge Abramovich.
For transfers, it’s looking likely Drogba will depart, but if the management is smart enough to see how Daniel Sturridge is progressing then a replacement may be under their noses. 50M man Fernando Torres is close to being back to form, but the bulking up he was made to do under Hodgson has ruined him. He needs to get back to being skinny so his pace can allow him to beat people and play a natural game. CDM, Essien is one of the finest at doing that job, but last season… He seemed to think he could play a more advanced role. He can’t. Never have a seen such a poor transformation.
CB, I think Terry is slowly getting ‘past it’, I don’t think he should have went to the 2010 World Cup, and I think he’s dying for pace more and more consistently now, however the English blood is needed in the spine of this side, and the RB position looks weak too.
If I was whoever the unfortunate man is next, I would sign; Gary Cahill, Darijo Srna, and keep Sturridge, as well as getting Essien back to his best role, CDM. (Prediction 5th)
Manchester City; (last season 3rd)
Estimated transfer budget – Budget? What budget?
Highlighted positions; CF, CM, RB.
My biggest problem with Manchester City, is that they have essentially based a team around a very bad player. Gareth Barry. And when you base a team around a bad player you can often miss out on the biggest prizes, hence why Manchester City were never really able to outclass the bigger sides in the division and had to park the bus and play for draws. Barry would need to be replaced with a more dynamic CM, and with money being no object, the realms of my selection went from Barcelona to Brighton. Furthermore, regardless of the Tevez affair, they still need just one more CF, maybe not needing to spend so much but Dzeko, Balotteli, Tevez needs one more. So keeping Adebayor or spending again, a player with something a little bit different, a supersub who can score vital goals. Finally, despite Richards nailing the RB spot last season, I feel he gets beat far too often and gets caught napping at set pieces. Would get rid of him, and put in a more experienced, better quality player.
If I was Roberto Mancini, I would sign; Miroslav Klose (he’s available, poised to sign for Lazio, steal him!), Maicon, Stuart Holden – Such potential, at 25 he would be a massive success in any side. Or for a bigger name, Charlie Adam could feature in this sides CM, too. (Prediction 1st)
Arsenal, my beloved. The most frustrating team to support in the history of football. (last season, 4th. – The only team capable of finishing 4th in a 2 horse race).
Estimated transfer budget available – £50M, but will Wenger spend it?
Highlighted positions; STR, CB, LAM/Winger. Keep Nasri.
Arsenal seem to think the season lasts between Aug-Feb in recent years, since the departure of David Dein, Wenger has too much say in proceedings and not enough people to answer to for poor performance, slightly Blatter-esque in his ability to be essentially un-regulated. He needs a backbone, some players who will happily pick up 10 yellows a season and not think anything of it, he also needs quality wide men, when Walcott’s been injured we haven’t had the cover needed to back him up. And he need an out-and-out striker, Chamakh was the answer to our problems last year, between Aug-Dec he was banging in goals until Wenger bizarrely dropped him for RVP instead of incorporating both into the side which he promised. We need someone who will stay in the box and take 15 tap-ins a year. Samir Nasri simply has to stay too, not only because I foolishly purchased an Arsenal shirt for next season with his name & number on the back, but how pivotal he is to the side, it stops or reliability on the inconsistent Fabregas. Finally, we need a CB. The return of Vermaelen should act as a new signing, but I would personally love to see an English, at least British signing to show some fight.
If I was Wenger, I would sign; Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Scott Parker. – And I’d get Vieira/Campbell back in some kind of coaching role. (Prediction 3rd)
Liverpool (last season 6th)
Estimated transfer budget available – £45M (partially gathered in sales)
Highlighted positions: CB, RB, LB, CM
Despite a horrific first half of a the campaign, Dalglish taking over seen Liverpool finish the year top of the form table, still however, they carry something of a frailty when being pressed back, their centre backs often are slow to make the tackle and easy to beat. They once again have found themselves reliant on a striker. It is open knowledge to seemingly everyone outside the club that they have never replaced Alonso, so for that reason I think they more than anyone NEED to sign Charlie Adam, though I do believe Chris Brunt at WBA is just as effective and would come at a significantly cheaper price. At CB, they are weak and Carragher’s legs are starting to leave him, Agger is quality but doesn’t seem to wear the badge anymore. Full backs, whilst I like Kelly at LB, I feel a stronger RB is needed as Johnson tends to play in midfield at times.
If I was Dalglish, I would sign; Charlie Adam – Break the bank to do so, Scott Dann, Kyle Naughton/Alan Hutton, as well as a winger, probably Ashley Young to give Carroll service. Maybe a swoop for Gabby Agbonlahor could be an effective signing for Liverpool too? (Prediction 6th)
Yes, yes, yes… Spurs finished above Liverpool, but as a Gooner it was way too fun to leave them out of part 1.
Let me know your suggestions and I’ll keep going with Spurs-Everton-Fulham-Aston Villa-Sunderland in part 2.
Over and out.