Transfer Season – Part I.

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.


About the12thman

A twenty-something football fan with two business management degrees. I run @_the12thman because my friends told me I talk about football too much on my personal twitter/facebook. Turned out quite well, 2 years on. View all posts by the12thman

23 responses to “Transfer Season – Part I.

  • Fitzie

    Man City champions? The board and Mancini are at loggerheads as the Italian wants money but Cook and Mansour wont splurge as they know they are in danger of breaking the new financial fairplay rules. They need a major rehash of the midfield, too many holding players, the manager is also far too conservative.
    And what is it with the Charlie Adam loving? He really isnt good enough for any champions league team, Sneijder or Adam? No contest

    • markbritton7

      Ah, firstly; the point on Man City….
      I think they’ll finish 1st due to their defensive style in the big games, they’ve not lost too many… Wonder goal at OT and Ramires dancing through their CB’s.. The point comes from their ability to spend, I think they can only strengthen, and they’re developing a team unity much quicker than the Chelsea team which bought the league 5/6 years ago…
      AND… Adam, see I’m a massive fan, I think the ‘loving’ comes from the fact he’s greating chances for the likes of D-J. Campbell and Gary Taylor-Fletcher, as well as almost keeping them in the PL by himself!! For bigger players, Sneijder, Ozil, Kaka, Lampard etc, it’s easier to look better based on your teams results, when really, creating an unmissable opportunity presents itself better when supplying a better quality of frontman!

      Thoughts? And please do follow me on twitter! @markbritton7

  • Ben Sofoluwe

    My man MB7,
    Some good chat on here brother..keep it coming.

    I wanted to pick you up on a couple of points. Firstly,I think you are hugely underplaying the fact that Liverpool are not in Europe next year. For me that’s a massive plus in their favour especially as their (albeit stronger) rivals battle 2 games a week deep into the winter months. In addition to this, unlike their rivals they are already making moves in the transfer market (Henderson, Jones, Wickham already being strongly muted) and I am also hearing on good authority (Phil Thompson) that Enrique and Adam are “done deals”. (I think the Dalglish/Scottish connection will prove to hard to resist for Chuck, not sure that Anfield is your preferred destination for him?!). Defensively they were weak at points but towards the end of the season there were signs that Steve Clarke was working his magic. (I am a West Ham fan and in my opinion we missed him more than Zola last season) There’s no doubt Dalglish sees creative midfielders such as Henderson & Adam (plus Gerrard to return) and defensive reinforcements as his top priorities even above a winger or another quality CF. Kuyt can play up front if needed and I think that 4-2-3-1 is the preffered formation.

    I am going to stick my neck on the line and say they’ll go closer than a lot of people think. At 12-1 an each way bet is the play for me. Value.

    My second rant relates to your beloved Arsenal.
    When are Arsenal fans going to realise that unless Wenger changes his stubborn attitude to this “Barcelona lite” style of football (pretty but often, unlike Barcelona, ineffective) and drops the 4-3-3 formation (Arshavin and Walcott wide?? Do me a favour) you are going to continue to flatter to decieve. You need to get back to a solid 4-4-1-1 with RVP just behind a main striker (Chamakh could work but wouldnt you rather he bought Benzema? Failing that give Walcott a shot at playing on the shoulder of the last defender so he can utilise his pace and instinct for goal?). Nasri assuming he stays and possibly a new winger could play wide. (I would sell Bendtner and Denilson in 60 seconds or less to fund Downing or Young). Young Jacky, Song, Aaron Ramsey could fill the CM void.

    Mentally Fabregas looks like he’s checked out (a la Torres at Liverpool before his big move) so why not just sell him and move on. Reinvest the £40m quid. Buy Scott Parker or Edin Hazard for midfield. You could also buy Benzema or Gervinho as your 15 goal tap in guy. Selling a few other fringe players would also generate cash to buy another defender with presence, Chris Samba fits the bill. Solid.

  • Fitzie

    I see your point in Adam, but also is it not easier to look good in a team of average players?

    I think its City’s defence minded tactics which will ultimately be their problem under Mancini. They have so much attacking threat but never go for it in the big games. United won the league as they were solid at the back but had the threat when it was needed.

    Plus DJ Campbell is a quality striker!!

  • Dont Thinkso

    Really? You really think Chelsea need a defensive midfielder more than we need a creative attacking one like Modric? What about Mikel??

  • Geoff Geofferson

    Or for a bigger name, Charlie Adam could feature in this sides CM, too. (Prediction 1st)

    You’re an idiot

    • JC

      “You’re an idiot”

      What in inciteful, intelligent comment! I agree he may like Adams just a little too much… but a comment like you’re an idiot is just pathetic…

      • markbritton7

        Haha… Thanks! I appreciate your views.. I am a massive fan, yes. I like Chris Brunt too. I have a thing in my ‘fictional dream teams’ I always like that ‘deep-lying-long-ball-accurate-passing’ type. I think it’s what Arsenal miss.

    • markbritton7

      Charlie Adam is utterly brilliant. Sorry, he’s a British Xabi Alonso. I’m afraid if you don’t agree, you go against the majority of people reading this, Sir Alex himself and Walter Smith – Two of the greatest managers to ever coach the game, and of course, myself. You just may be the idiot.

      HOWEVER – If you fancy adding some actual opinions, insight… Then be my guest. But IMO, Charlie Adam is hot property this summer.

  • Olusina Bello

    Its all very interesting .. i am definitely coming back for more

  • TooTs4774

    This is the most interesting blog on Transfers i’ve read so far!!!!!!!!!!

  • olliefm

    ur a retard……u genuinely no absolutely nothing about football. to highlight but a few errors, man city ‘should sign miroslav klose and stuart holden’…..when you have an unlimited budget, and an already brilliant squad is a waning 33 year old striker and stuart holden gonna win u a champions league/premier league title. think about it.

    • markbritton7

      1) I wouldn’t call someone a retard when you have the spelling of a dyslexic 10 year old.
      2) I think that’s exactly what Man City’s problem is though!!! Klose (though he’s at Lazio now) has the ability to game-change, come off the bench and nick a late winner. – Like Michael Owen did for United in the 4-3 game at OT. Stuart Holden too, why not? He’s been outstanding all season until he was crocked by Evans tackle. I think he’s well capable of sitting in that CM role, plus… He’s already better that Gareth Barry – Who is terrible, btw.

      If you plan on engaging yourself in football debate, don’t be a dick 🙂 s’il vous plait.

  • Varun

    Thanks for this Blog Markbritton7, its easily the best blog regarding transfers and all round opinion on next season – I am also sadly an Arsenal fan, and coming to the end of my patience with these players who think they are bigger than the club – Cesc, what a terrible season from him, I would love to see him go to his home club who value him less than the club who made him captain – Nasri, half a good season, u can leave asap too if you think your that great (Nzogbia would be way better and more effective than Nasri)…Clichy, hilarious to see anyone would be willing to pay more than 70p for him let alone 7mil, I love it, Man city must be out of contention for top spot now theyve signed, Mr play the whole world onside!!

    I love the ‘your an idiot’ comment too, clearly didnt think that one through lol I am in agreement that Charlie Adam is quality, but he is a luxury player, definitely worth 9mil if the alternative is inconsistent Modric for 45mil, infact thats laughable.

    i want Arsenal to sell Cesc and Nasri, use that 60mil + the rest were supposed to have and start acting abit like the Chelseas of this world – eg sign Chris Samba, Gary Cahill, Leighton Bains, Eden Hazard, Charles N’zogbia, Scott Parker, Benzema AND Gervinho – id even go as far to say as SACK squilaci, denilson and bender – also tell Vela he has one more season left to prove himself because he is regretably regressing quicker than theo.

    The most crucial summer in the last 20yrs for Arsenal hasnt started to well….

    thanks again for this blog, look forward to hearing more!

  • Melo

    I won’t be too upset if Nasri goes. Of course, he’s got skills but where were they in 2011? He was nowhere to be seen and with his extortionate wage demands, I’d expect a more consistent player. But that might just be me…

  • zagman

    Good blog Mark, but one glaring error of judgment I couldn’t let pass…Alan Hutton for Liverpool at RB????? He’s truly atrocious. God give me strength!

  • Brian

    I have seen Alan Hutton go from great prospect to an afterthought and then worked on things to be one of the best right backs in the world. I always and still do think you put Hutton in a man U team he will look great. At Tottenham he is up and down because he is not a Harry player. He is a star who has to be used as a star. He is not fantastic as a controlled defender. In ways ways Hutton and Glen Johnson are similar players, Johnson can probably defend a tad better and is a better passer/crosser, but Hutton can run with the ball from deep as well as anyone in the world.

    A comment on Gareth Barry. One of these players that was underrated for years and now disliked because people are compensating and making him great. A player I like alot but first choice at a club with Man City’s resources?

    Charlie Adam. Always a player I rated, did not get why Walter Smith first played him wide, then never played him, then sold him cheap. Someone used Smith as a fan. A fan who sent him on loan because he was not getting a game and then sold him for 750k. Always had a few weight/fitness issues which are less of a problem when his strengths are utilized more. Hats off to Ian Holloway, seen his ability, adapted him into the team to his best potential and made him a star. Now based on his recent Scotland performances it is still clear he needs an ego check once in awhile. Excited to see how he does at Liverpool. In fact Liverpool looking like might just be title contenders, tough summer got 6 teams could compete or follow away based on decisions and luck.

    Clichy is not a loss for Arsenal, decent player but every time heard talk of Barca wanting him thought was a great idea. Positionally can be a nightmare, fails to deliver enough assists or goals to justify attacking style and is small and weak in the air. Fast and good one on one defender, was a time I thought he would be better than Ashley Cole, that time is long past. Gibbs is not a left back and upset that Wenger has ruined a great midfield prospect. Cesc is easy, set the price, you can go if they pay it, get it sorted quick. If Cesc goes Nasri will stay if Wenger gives him the right money and promises him Cesc role. Then sign Central defenders that are big and strong. Parker is the new Gareth Barry, always good, never great.

  • Trueblue

    How wrong you are about everything you have stated about Chelsea (apart from the Sturridge bit).

    “it’s looking likely Drogba will depart”
    Drogba will not leave. He wants to see out the rest of his contract at Chelsea so that he can return to his beloved Marseille and finish his career there.

    “50M man Fernando Torres is close to being back to form”
    Even though I have defended his cause slightly, this assumption is not correct. He has not improved since the day we got him. I will still argue my case that he has not been that bad, however. The line-up is suited for Drogba, and Torres and Drogba are completely different players. How can you expect Torres to go straight into a team that has played in a way that does not suit him for seven years?

    “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.”
    Essien is not, contrary to popular belief, a holding midfielder and has never played that position week in week out for Chelsea. Where do you think Makelele and later Mikel played if not at defensive midfield? Essien has always played as right central midfielder alongside Lampard with Makelele/Mikel behind. Last season he was shunted into CDM in a four four two for a few games and this was where the “poor transition” was. You have it the wrong way round.

    “CB, I think Terry is slowly getting ‘past it’”
    Don’t know which league you were watching last season, but I was watching the Chelsea from the English Premier League, a team that conceded the fewest goals all year, a lot of which was spent with a natural right back at centre and even a reserve team player. Surely Terry must have had something to do with that record?

    “the RB position looks weak too.”
    Erm, Ivanovic? The man who was in the team of the year in the 2009/10 season? The man who is one of the best defensive right backs in the world? Strange comment.

    Finally, you haven’t even mentioned the right wing position or the playmaker position, the two widely recognised positions that Chelsea need. The Blues do not even have a natural right winger. Someone like Hazard or Sanchez. As for the playmaker, Modric or Moutinho would be fantastic, and I believe more of an effort should be made to sign Ganso or Sneijder.

    • markbritton7

      – Must be noted you are commenting on a blog around 3/4 weeks old. At that time the Drogba speculation was rife.
      – You do need a holding mid, Essien is a brilliant holding mid (now injured) but a terrible CM. You need someone to break up the play, Mikel is not that man.
      – Terry is past, he’s fast developing the same role that Ferdinand/Vidic have with Luiz. Rio makes mistakes and Vidic’s quick/reads the game well enough to save him. Which is undoubtably why England got battered at the World Cup by a German side featuring 5/6 u’21s.
      – Torres is getting there, he is looking a lot sharper, making the runs. I think once the Chelsea boys stop trying so hard to pass to him it’ll come more naturally.
      – Modric looks set to come, brilliant player. It’s looking bleak for Frank though. Benayoun was creative enough, but injuries have blighted him and he looks like AVB wants a bigger name.
      – Ivanovic doesn’t want to be at RB, he’s always said in interviews. He just filled the void well as a solid defender. I expect only Terry’s nationality will save him from being replaced. Ivanovic/Luiz would be rock solid. And you must remember, Ivanovic got it that accolade in 2010 as best of a bad bunch, we all know only the big 4 get a shout in that TOTY and he had the best season. He’s not natural there IMO.

      Thanks though, good debate. Views are of course welcome always!

      • Trueblue

        Fair arguments there, I’ll take on those comments about Ivanovic. I agree with you on Benayoun, I couldn’t understand why Ancelotti, the man who bought him, wouldn’t play him when he had the best pass in that team. Not convinced about about your Essien points, I’m a fan of Mikel which a lot of my friends give me stick about, and Essien was weak this season at the base of a 4-4-2. It all got me wondering whether Carlo was as good as we thought he was…?

  • the renegade master

    So Mr MB7, we are one month away from kick off and to borrow a line from an old favourite film, the top gun title is still up for grabs. It has to be said that with more transfer activity than most Man Utd look very strong and justifiably favourites in my opinion. De Gea looks solid from what i saw in the U-21 comp and Jones and Young are no brainers. They were both top performers for their clubs and to get them for the right side of £20m seems like sound long term business to me. Make no mistake Man U will be there or thereabouts again. I think Fergie would love add a creative midfielder but knows he will likely be outbid by both Chelsea or Man City. He seems to be playing a stealth strategy here and wouldnt be surprised if he springs a trick before the window shuts, possibly involving one of his forwards as a makeweight. Probably Berbatov. Prediction 1st or 2nd

    My hunch with Chelsea is that AVB will struggle in his first season. He is living in Mourinho’s shadow and that is a hard act to follow. The comparisons are inevitable and to emulate the special one would be no mean feat. Winning the title looks like mission impossible. Also to do this will a squad that has a higher average age than the rivals and that is packed with prima donnas is tough to say the least. He will need this season to mould his own squad. There are so many issues to fix there are too many to list. Task number one is get the best out of Torres. Simples. Task two phase out Frank Lampard gracefully. Task three find a solid DCM. I could go on……..Prediction 3rd or 4th

    Liverpool. As you know are my Black beauty for the title (Dark Horse). Kenny will give this a good run for the money. I have to stress again that not being in Europe at all is a MASSIVE bonus. Just the dozen top level games less than their rivals is huge benefit and will come into play around Feb/March time when the CL reaches the latter stages. Adam is a great buy. I agree with you the boy has talent in abundance and you can see he already has a special relationship with Kenny. I think he can take his game to another level. Put your money on him to be up there for player of the year. I still see Kenny with a preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, although he will change depending on opposition. Left back still an issue, I think Enrique is still on the radar but they have other targets that are more pressing as Johnson can play there. Lucas and Adam will pull the strings in midfield with Gerrard or Kuyt wide right. Suarez in behind Carroll and Downing on the left. Works for me. Henderson will start as a sub. I cant see Kenny putting too much pressure on the lad in the first few weeks. A towering centre back is needed too as Carragher is ageing. Samba, Dann or Cahill are all still available. Prediction – higher than most people think.

    Arsenal could also be an interesting contender. Everyone has been writing them off but thats probably when they are most dangerous. They too could surprise a few. Cant write too much until the Cesc/Nasri will they wont they saga has been resolved and the money from either sale has been deployed (or not as the case may be). Defensively still lacking another leader but I think they will buy so again. Reserve judgement till end of the window. Prediction – Nasri to stay but Cesc to go.

    Finally, Man City. Tevez leaving a huge blow, much bigger than Arsenal losing Cesc. Just look at the stats. Tevez is the dynamo of the team without him you the lose the leadership, goals, aggression, quality. You name it, he brings it. He will be hard to replace. I genuinely feel for RM.
    Aguero doesnt cut it for me. Higuain or Benzema would be good but would they fit in straight away? They money is irrelevant to City. I dont see how they can keep up the progress of the last 2 seasons without Tevez so for that reason they are my surprise omission from next years top 4. I think the CL will prove a distraction but I think they will do well in this comp but ultimately pay the price and finish outside the top 4. More to come on City from me as they havent made any notable signings yet. Clichy is a squad player at best, doesnt really improve the team for me and the young CB they signed is one for the future. Prediction – 5th

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