Date: 20th March 2018 at 5:59pm
Written by:

‘Is it time to start a rebuilding of the squad releasing those who are fringe players and start afresh even to let players go so they get match time?’ An interesting conundrum poised by Progboss on the AFCB Vital forum.

He continued…

‘The likes of Brad Smith, Hyndman , Grabban, Afobe Boruc and the other keepers all need to play but not good enough so is a big clear out due. Then you have players like Arter, Pugh, Francis, Surman all capable of playing on but in the premier league.

‘Hate to see players we have supported go but is it time for the next generation to take us forward?’

During an international window its whipped up quite a bit of thought and comment.

SteveJonesLegend wrote…

For players to leave, they need to be wanted by someone else or out of contract… I’ve no idea who is in the latter camp, but take Grabban, for example… I am sure we’ve been trying to offload him for a while… wages probably are the biggest sticking point with him…

I agree that we need to move some players on if we can, but we cant just offload half the squad and bring in new faces… Eddie will probably look at 2 or 3 new players for the starting XI and then a couple of development lads… I reckon money is not so free flowing these days… A lot of off-field stuff that needs to be paid for…

For me, its a CB, LB and CM… That would do me… and keeping hold of Ake and L.Cook.

northstandmark said…

It’s a process that has started now that we’ve finally cemented Cook and Ibe into the side as regulars, Ake and Begovic too. But there’s definitely a lot more to do, and the concern is how many more Akes and Cooks can we afford given all the other stuff we’re trying to do? Do we have to squeeze further year(s) out of the old guard as regulars or semi regulars?

I’m sure Grabban, Afobe and Arter will all go and raise some 15m to reinvest, in maybe 1-2 starting 11 standard players, ideally central midfield or defence.

Boruc will leave freeing up some wages. Surman and Pugh I think will stick around unless either specifically wants first choice football, in which case they’ll have to drop to the Championship, but on the face of it both seem content as senior pros around the club? I’d like to see them both stay another year I think.

Hyndman we’ve no idea what Howe plans for him and whether he’s still seen as a future starter or not. I can’t say I’ve been inspired seeing him play cup and the odd reserve game. Maybe our US based friends can tell us whether he’s impressing any in the US setup?

Brad Smith was a very crap buy, but he’s got another 2 years on his deal, nobody is going to take him permanently and he’s not even shown any ability against Championship level opposition to get a loan.

Then there’s Gradel out on loan currently. He probably has the quality to be part of our squad, but does he have the temperament to graft and work his way into Howe’s thoughts for starts? If he wants a permanent move to Frrance, few French clubs have much money so we won’t recoup any substantial sum.

Francis – he’s form has perked up lately, but there’s only so long he can be captain and starting every week. Especially at full back but even as a centre back. Definitely someone to keep on the bench for experience in seeing out games though. That’d be a perfect role for him in future.

IF we can strengthen full back, central defence, and central midfield then we’ll have a pretty tidy squad. Keeping hold of L.Cook and Ake will be a challenge and will become more challenging as time goes on, but that’s the trouble with having such quality players. I’m hopeful we’ll keep both for now.

kirsikka said…

I don’t think Hyndman will be going anywhere, unless it’s on loan. I think he’s been earmarked as an important player in years to come. No inside knowledge, just a feeling.

Grabban has been on his way out almost since he arrived back so no news there. Afobe has made his bed and so that was very much his choice. I’ve a feeling Wolves will pass on him and he’ll be at another Championship club next season.

Boruc is an interesting one. He’s 38 and would still be very handy to have in the squad if he wanted to accept being number 2, as that’s what it would mean. I think I read on here that he has school age children in which case he may prefer the stability rather than uprooting them. Who knows but I would be happy if he wanted to stay!

It feels like Arter is the most likely to move on but that’s mainly from rumblings on here and making leaps based on the change in academy name. Again, I hope he stays but I’m starting to feel he might not.

I think Surman and Francis are here until retirement. Again, no inside knowledge just my feeling. The Pugh situation is hard to read. No rumours of discontent but that doesn’t mean he’s happy. Don’t forget Max is still out there somewhere and needs a permanent new home.

As for Brad Smith, well I’ve no idea at all what to make of him. We’ve barely seen him and, even though in those flashes he hasn’t looked overly inspiring, it’s a bit harsh to make the judgement when he hasn’t had a run of games. Has he been injured this season or just nowhere near the team?

Garbo wrote…

…not sure we will get a clear out, so we can only speculate and discuss what we all think should be ‘let go’

…problem isn’t necessarily letting players go but attracting new players in, who will improve on what we have and not cost a king’s ransom?

Ideally as we get more established and known as a PL club our stock will rise, but then so will the wages, agents charges, and transfer fees etc…

all a bit of a conundrum until we can increase our income with a bigger stadium I fear?

my players to replace/let, and those who probably will move of their own accord would be;

Artur Boruc
Harry Arter
Lewis Grabban
Benik Afobe
Andrew Surman
Marc Pugh
Brad Smith
Adam Federici
Ryan Alsopp
Sam Surridge

…I would also wonder about Simon Francis and Charlie Daniels longevity, if chance of a final payday came from another club?

I think Hyndman/Mahoney/Mings and Simpson will form part of our future development…

That leaves a core squad that would need significant expenditure (that we may not have?)

..whatever it will be an interesting summer for the club!

Jamie_Wills wrote…

Out of contract players (this summer): Boruc, Allsop, Wiggins, Cargill & Pugh. I’d be surprised if any of them get a contract come the end of the season. Boruc only one I’d consider extending and that’s only based on how bad I feel Federici is compared to him.

Then we have too many players who are very much unknown quantities, loaned out/unsettled with amount of game time they’re receiving here and probably would prefer to move on who are taking up a lot of our wage budget.

Unknowns: Ramsdale, B. Smith, Hyndman, Mahoney, any youth players (Simpson & Kyle Taylor from what I’ve seen look to be the best prospects) we haven’t seen any of these play PL football consistently. You could probably throw Mings (Who I don’t particularly rate that highly when he has played and have liked the look of Simpson more on the left side he seems more assured on the ball for me) and Mousset into unknown quantities from a consistency perspective as neither have started too many games although moose looks a raw talent who I’d like to see play more.

Grabban, Gradel, Afobe & Arter probably will all seek to leave the club if offers come in and that would free up a lot of wages as all of them will be fairly high up the pay structure and could recoup transfer fees. Grabban would only have a year left so need him gone as a transfer asap rather than lose him on a free the following summer.

Then you have the old guard and the question of how much further can we take players. Francis & Daniels are ageing and regressing as players from what they once were. S.Cook has struggled for most of this season but is probably someone that should stay but should not be starting first choice next to Ake imo. Surman will stay as a squad player and he should be nothing more. Then more than likely he and franno will likely leave in summer of 2019 when their contracts end.

Squad if all those players out of contract are released:
Goalkeepers: Begovic, Federici, Ramsdale
Defenders: A.Smith, Francis, Daniels, B.Smith, Mings, Ake, S.Cook, Simpson
Centre Mids: Surman, L.Cook, Arter, Gosling, Hyndman
Wide Players: Ibe, Stanislas, Fraser, Gradel
Forwards: Wilson, King, Defoe, Mousset, Afobe, Grabban

I think we desperately need a CB to partner Ake, and definitely a CM to partner Lewis Cook preferably a defensive minded player with a physical presence because as well as Gosling has done in his run in the team he is limited in ability so needs upgrading moving him to a replacement role. A wide player as hopefully Gradel will be sold and Pugh out of contract. Both full back positions probably need looking at with Franno and Daniels ageing. Would love a creative player as I do think we lack creativity outside of L.Cook & Junior, whether that be from a central area or provided by a creative wide player.

It’s a process and maybe not all of it can be done in one window or even one season but the holes are there for all to see and no doubt Eddie has his targets and a plan for the next few seasons. For what it’s worth I’ve compiled a list of players I’ve watched this season and thought looked pretty good (doesnt include any relegation players although there are some that have previously been mentioned who would improve us and I do like)

Simone Verdi (Bologna) Abdoulaye Toure (Nantes), Santiago Arias (PSV), James Maddison (Norwich City), Mattia Caldara (Atalanta – Loan Juventus), Tom Cairney (Fulham), Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham), Joe Bryan (Bristol City), Nordi Mukiele (Montpellier), Ollie Watkins (Brentford)

AFCB Lost in Brum wrote…

Inconsistency sums up this season.

The cold reality is that some of our players have gone as far as they can go; they can’t deliver what’s needed, week in, week out, to move this club forward.

Being a ‘good servant’ means nothing. You don’t avoid relegation or advance as a team/club on sentimentality. However, equally, recognising that some players time should be up doesn’t mean that what they’ve achieved for this club isn’t respected, appreciated, or recognised.

If we are to advance we need to retain Begovic, Ake and Lewis Cook this summer.

Defence remains our weak point, it’s undeniable.

To step up we clearly (and sadly) need two new full backs (although Adam Smith probably fills one of those slots). We also need a new CB to partner Ake.

Midfield is a conundrum.

Lewis is obviously the first choice and it’s clear that Gosling brings out the very best in him. I’m guessing Arter is off in the summer (he’s already bailed on his own soccer school) and Surman is 32 in the summer. Hyndman was impressive for Rangers but EH doesn’t seem to fancy him.

Out wide Ibe (two goals, three assists in his last eight PL appearances, I think) and Stanislas (probably our most technically gifted player) should stay on.

I always thought the ‘tiny margins in the PL’ line was pundit hype but in reality it’s true – Ibe and Stanislas were both dismal against WBA but each delivered those one-off bits of magic that win games.

Wee Man I just don’t know about, same could be said for Mahoney.

I could rattle on but we all know our biggest problems are at the back. It really is time for EH to fix that.

AFCBade wrote…

“Defence is our weak point” strikes a chord but we have the 7th best defensive record away from home this season, less goals conceded than arsenal or Liverpool for example. Thus is defence our problem?

At home we have let in the highest amount of goals in the prem (joint with Watford) but this bold open approach brings a lot of points.

Our style of play exposes defenders. I reckon Steve Cook would play for England if he was in the Burnley team as the team is geared up to defend. He gets shown up more playing for us due to the requirement to play it put from the back and less defensive cover.

Steve Cook is a must in our defence. Really believe he adds more than just his own defending and is a key part of the team spirit that drives us on.

CherryBare wrote…

I have a few objections to this thread and some of the comments.
Firstly end of season clear out sounds a bit like getting rid of your old clothes! These are players that have been with us for 3 divisions & 2 promotions.
I think the likes of francis, Daniels, arter, surman and Pugh have a lot to offer the club still. There’s no way Eddie will make the wholesale changes being advocated, where are the replacements? Buying the experience those 5 have is not there with the money we have
Francis is one of the first names on eddies team sheet, ahead of Adam Smith even, I think defensively he’s better and adds height. The style we play will always mean some mistakes, and yes it’s frustrating, but mid table, what is everyone’s expectations when you see the teams we are above.
Let’s get some Lewis cook type back fills in, bring them in slowly then we can talk about letting the old guard go

The debate continues…Join the conversation here.

AFCB Vital – Sponsors of AFCB Supporters Coaches & Cherry Bear