There were definitely some issues with the balance across the whole squad last season. However, I’m starting to feel like some excellent moves are being made to change that.
Afobe, a striker that likes to lead the line, being replaced by Brooks, a natural link man between midfield and attack, is an excellent change as that’s exactly what we were often missing last season.
Daniels hasn’t been challenged for his position since we got promoted and last season look out of sorts at times. The Rico signing is both good succession planning and the right move.
Since we seem to be back in for Lerma, I’m going to take the leap that he’ll get here eventually. An out-and-out destructive Defensive Midfielder is something we haven’t had since Bartley left and that feels like it was several lifetimes ago. It would open up so many different tactical options in games to have him available.
If I was being greedy I’d still want three more over that.
Mepham or a similar player to grow into that Right Centre Back role over the coming seasons.
A Right Back as a natural alternative option to A Smith. Oh please… a Right Back. It feels like I’ve been asking for one of those since forever. Or maybe the last five windows.
A winger / wide attacker. Gradel is gone. Pugh is… well we know what he is. Great to have around the squad. May take a few defenders by surprise but we shouldn’t be relying on him to start games this season. Stanislas will likely miss half the season due to injury, just not sure what it will be yet. That leaves Ibe and Fraser. No idea who this would be and haven’t seen any links so I guess we aren’t in the market but I’d be delighted if we pulled one out of the bag. Or if Mahoney suddenly turned out to have matured into Premier League ready quality.
If all those arrived there would need to be some outgoings but there have been enough articles about clubs interested in Gosling or Arter that I expect one or the other to go should Lerma arrive. Whilst respecting Gosling’s performances towards the end of last season I still hope it would be Arter that stays. Then, I’m a sentimental football fan and not a ruthless football manager so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Harry Arter. Just a little sad.
I think Brad Smith’s race may be run here as well. In some ways, he’s been unlucky. First, the form of Daniels in his first season and then badly timed injuries when the spot became available in his second meant he never got that run of 5 or 6 games some players need to really start showing what they can do. His career is starting to drift and coming up to his mid-20s being a third choice Left Back can’t be something he would be happy about. I expect him to be at a Championship club by the time the seasons starts.
Another player I think that may be asking questions if all of the above arrived would be Mings. We’ve all seen there’s some player in there but will he get the chance to show it? I would hope he stays with us and he doesn’t seem the kind to start agitating but Central Defence competition would be pretty fierce and he is trying to dislodge Ake which is a mountainous task.
Hyndman is a bit of a mystery. He must regret his move here as it hasn’t worked out and his former club where he was a fixture is now in the Premier League. Hard to say what will happen but he may also wish to start again somewhere else. If he is the Surman type that he was touted to be then one more season of patience could see him slip into the squad as Drew’s replacement. Maybe a loan somewhere?
A lot of ifs, buts and maybes and Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall undoubtedly see things differently than I do. However, I feel like the squad is already starting to balance a lot better even though only two players have arrived. I have lots of confidence for the season ahead!
Tinpot Club wrote…
I don’t see the need for a winger, especially if we’re going to be playing 3-4-3 like at the end of last season and against Sevilla.
King, Mousset, Ibe, Fraser, Stanislas, Brooks and Pugh all give a variety of different options.
A Right Back is only worthwhile if he’s under 21. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of a squad place for someone who will be way behind Adam Smith and probably Francis.
Believe we have 2 spare spaces in the squad. A Defensive Midfielder and a Right Centre Back would be amazing. Not sure we’d have enough in the kitty left for both, especially if we end up paying £25m for Lerma. – Join the conversation, click here.