Written by Rob McCabe @bobbymac5
So with this rather challenging and turbulent land mark season coming to an end on Sunday, we have a solid 3 months to entertain ourselves with everyone’s favourite topic (or least favourite in some cases) transfers, and how we’re going to re build our squad after what can only be described as a really disappointing season.
I think it’s extremely important for the board to learn from 2 frequent mistakes we have made in recent years on various occasions.
1) Keep it quiet and get it done – Let’s not tell the whole world how much we have to spend and who we want buy from the word go. Let this be up to us, the fans to speculate and discuss amongst ourselves and leave the business behind closed doors and up to the professionals as let’s be honest, last summer promised so much and delivered as much disappointment as a wet fart, instantly getting our season off on a downer.
2) Buy sensible – Yes we have very occasionally taken overseas gambles that have paid off with the likes of Lanzini, Kouyate & Obiang but historically these have massively been outweighed by the absolute dross which comes in every window. This summer we need realistic targets with proven quality, goals, flair and positive premiership experience.
This brings me on to some of the players we have already been linked to and who I would really like to see us try to bring to the club.
Strikers – In (2 of..)
Michy Batshuayi – Apparently top of our transfer list and one I see that is probably the most realistic. Chelsea apparently will let him go at the right price and he is also wanting game time. Personally I would love to see him come to us. He has power, pace, energy and has finished well when he’s been given the chance. Chelsea are good at business and typically he’s scored in both of his last 2 games which will keep his price tag up. I can’t see him going for any less that £25m but I think he is worth the punt.
Joshua King – I like the Norwegian, like Michy he’s strong, powerful and can finish. 16 goals this season in 36 matches. A very reasonable number and importantly Premiership experience and he’s stayed fit for 36 games. I can’t see him coming cheap though as Bournemouth won’t want to see their main man leave. However at the right price which I’d imagine being in the region of £18m – £22m, could he be worth it? Though there’s likely to be stiff competition from the likes of Everton, Spurs and other teams of that ilk.
Kelechi Iheanacho – Rumours popping up around this player. I rate him highly, always looks sharp and like he’s going to score when he comes on, and his goals to shot ratio is frightening, let alone goals to games. I think he’s worth £20m of anyone’s money, however I’m sure all the big clubs will be looking at him across Europe’s top leagues
Ciro Immobile – A bit random and a bit of an outsider. The 27 year old Italian international has scored 22 goals in 34 games for Lazio this season and I believe he would be a great fit for us. An exciting player with great positioning, intelligence and finishing ability. I can’t see him being picked up by one of Europe’s Elite and a move to the premier league could be tempting for him. There’s not a lot of money in the Italian league so maybe £20m again could be enough.
Jermain Defoe – The more I think about it, the more I think why? Instantly I find myself comparing him to a young, extremely hot Spanish prospect… our very own Toni Martinez. Both are sharp, small, nippy and excellent finishers in and around the box, so why pay Jermain 100k a week at the age of 34 when we already have a young exciting prospect from our own academy who is banging them in for fun and both play very similar styles.
If we’re not going to give them a chance then what is the point of our academy?
Andy Carroll – I think this season has proved we cannot play him as our main man for 90 minutes week in week out. However I think it is essential that we keep him.
In my opinion he needs to be played off the bench and given between 20 to 35 mins a game. This is where he is most effective as he changes the whole dynamic of the game defensively as much as offensively. He puts the fear of god into defenders who are fatiguing from 70 minutes of play and realise they now have to deal with him.
I’m sure now Andy would accept this position and prefer to be in the squad and around the first team for 30+ games a season rather than playing 4 games then being out of it for 2/3 months at a time. If come January it’s the same old story with injuries then yes we should entertain offers.
Strikers – Out
I’m not going to waste our time with why these guys need to go as we all know exactly why.
Diafra Sahko – Always injured, shocking attitude, hefty salary.
Enner Valencia – Who? For some weird reason Everton are actually big fans of him and are apparently wanting to sign him on a perm. I don’t care if it’s for a fiver, I’ll drive him up there myself.
Jonathan Calleri – A shame things didn’t work out as he has all the attributes a top striker could want, apart from finishing, he cannot finish. He couldn’t finish his dinner if it was fed through a straw.
Midfield – In
A difficult one. If fully fit, actually one of the best in the league. I would love to Obiang and Kouyate protecting the back 3 or 4 giving the rest of the lads freedom to play. I all honesty I have no names I could pick out who I would realistically like to come in and strengthen the team, I would however love to see a leader, someone physical who loves a tackle and will get the boys up for it. A player in mind would be Radja Nainggolan of Roma and Belgium, although probably out of our league if you have seen him play before you would know exactly why West Ham fans would love him.
I’d like to see Josh Cullen also given a run in the team. He’s been Bradford City’s star man this year and he could potentially be everything we’ve always wanted Mark Noble to be.
Midfield – out
Robert Snodgrass – I will never understand this signing, way over priced and too old. Hasn’t offered anything to our team since arriving. I’d like to cut our losses and see him gone.
Havard Nordveit – Unfortunately he doesn’t cut it for me. We have much better players in his position. Another example of an average squad filler rather than anyone actually bettering our squad.
Defence – In
Pablo Zabaleta – Looking most likely to be our new RB but I’m sure there’s a long way to go before it can be finalised. Extremely experienced at the highest level, a very intelligent and respected man in football, we could do a lot worse and would be silly to turn our nose up at him. However he is not young and I would like to see a younger more athletic RB to join him and fight for his place.
Adam Smith – Bournemouth’s RB, 26 years old, technically very good, athletic and a good age. He’s also had a lot of experience playing in the premier league already he could be the perfect answer to shoring up our defence whilst giving a good option going forward. I’d hazard a guess at a value of between £8m – £12m
Reece Oxford, Reece Burke & Declan Rice – I would like to see these boys given more of a chance next season. They obviously all have real quality and with Reid’s injury proneness and Collins & Fonte’s age I feel they could be perfect cover.
However all the above are just my opinions, I’m sure there are many more players out there who would fit nicely into our team and let’s just hope we find a couple.