With the summer transfer window well behind us and the impending doom of full contact Internationals on the horizon – will all our talented players survive the trauma – it is time to reflect on the ins and outs of the past three months and begin the true assessment of what has happened.
Seven new players in and ten senior players out – and that excludes numerous younger players who have been released or loaned out – a total outlay of approximately 105M offset by income of 110M, so an almost total revamp of the entire first team at no real cost, in financial terms at least.
If we are to believe that we intended to spend, spend, spend and yet somehow keep hold of GB, then the funds that were earmarked for new players must still be there and available for further investment next year.
The departures started with Gallas and Bentley who were released from expiring contracts at the end of the season – no real sorrow in seeing them leave. The big surprise to many was Caulker – was he angling for a move to further his International career or was there something which made AVB think he would not make the grade? – while Huddlestone, Parker and Dempsey were all considered surplus to requirements.
Bale eventually left, with us getting somewhere in the region of 85M, plus potential add-ons to follow, but no-one – outside the THFC hierarchy – really knows the precise details and terms, and there are now claims suggesting that it was the player himself who made things difficult for us to keep him having insisted on wanting to go yet never actually putting in a formal transfer request.
And finally, first team players BAE, Livermore and Carroll have all been given loan moves. Will they come back or has their time already passed? In the case of the first two it probably has, while Carroll could be considered as having sufficient potential but will he ever get the chance when he is already behind many of our new signings who are almost exactly the same age.
Of those new signings, only one is over 25 and that is our new highly rated striker. Cool under pressure, Soldado reminds me of Lineker, does very little in link up play but comes alive in the box and can be deadly given the chance – even half a chance. What we need is for him to be supplied with the ball in the right areas.
That supply has to come from three of the newbies. Chadli, Eriksen and Lamela could all easily play together as all can play on either wing or in the central role behind the striker. These players are all quite different, but they will bring different qualities to the game and with their movement, ability and pace they will be difficult to pick up and once they gel anything is possible.
Behind them, will we see the new powerhouse duo of Capoue and Paulinho start games or will we revert to the two that commenced most games during the early part of last season – Sandro and Dembele? I do like the look of both of our new boys here, as they combine strength and tenacity with a willingness to get up and down the pitch without losing anything in skill and delivery.
At the back our only signing is someone who many of us know little or nothing about – Chiriches from Romania. But if he is considered good enough to replace Caulker and compete alongside Dawson, Kaboul and Vertonghen for the centre half spot then he is good enough for me.
So, who was the best signing of the summer?
That honour has to go to Franco Baldini – without whom much of the above would not have been possible. Having been brought in by Levy, and with the blessing of AVB, he is the main reason most of those signings happened. But his job has only just started, now he has to work on who next.
What else did we learn from the transfer window?
Of the many things that happened off the pitch I suspect that “Do not trust your neighbours” has to rate very highly. Chelski snatched Willian from under our noses after he had passed a medical with us while Real Madrid withheld information about their selling Ozil to Le Arse – who also kept their activities silent – until it was too late.
But do we really care?
Willian was overpriced, his performances of late have not been of good enough standard and in a poor league, and in Lamela and Eriksen we have better players who are younger and cost less. Ozil is, however, a much better player, but will he alone be enough to transform the fortunes of our quiet neighbours, and again is he really worth that much?
Admittedly what he went for is only half of what we got for GB, but put it another way – Le Arse have effectively bought us half a new team. Their 42M – all of which came direct to us – easily covers what we spent on Chadli, Capoue, Eriksen and Chiriches combined.
Just one thing that really annoys me about the entire window. How come we could not find one team – any team – to take Adebayor?
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