Written by kirsikka
— Goalkeepers —
This is the messiest scenario in the squad, albeit one which could have a good resolution. Asmir Begovic appears to be persona non grata so barring a remarkable turnaround we may as well forget about him. With nobody likely wanting to take on his wages he’s sadly only going to be a drain on resources.
That leaves Artur Boruc, seemingly on a rolling 12 months to retirement but still did well last season. Mark Travers impressed in the Premier League in one match last season (forget the other) and Aaron Ramsdale apparently performed wonders for AFC Wimbledon. If one of those two broke through it could resolve the situation for years to come and negate the financial loss on Begovic until he leaves.
There have been lots of keeper links and a deal is still possible before the window shuts but I think this one will run and run.
Current status: 6/10
— Full backs —
Finally, we seem to have some depth here. I hope the two new additions (Lloyd Kelly and Jack Stacey) can adapt to the step up but we at least have some options and shouldn’t be forced to put our best creative attacker in there this season. It’s also time for Diego Rico to show what he can do.
I suspect Charlie Daniels will make the Simon Francis transition to playing more in the centre this season when called up but remain an option for us. 3 players for each side is good.
Brad Smith out on loan again should mean we’ve seen the last of him, not that we saw much!
Current/pending status: 8/10 (as we stand)
9/10 if the new guys step up to the Premier League well
— Centre backs —
The Mings deal was outstanding business for us as it was a great price and meant we had to hang onto Nathan Ake, no matter what. We couldn’t have Tyrone Mings sitting around for another year so irrelevant how well he does at Villa, we maximised our return. Well played by the club.
With Ake, Chris Mepham, Steve Cook, Francis, Daniels and Jack Simpson all as options I can’t see anyone else arriving. It’s an important year for Mepham as I expect him to make at least 15 league starts so hopefully, he can make further progress from what we saw last year.
Current status: 7.5/10
— Wide Attackers —
I’m genuinely surprised Arsenal weren’t willing to stump £35m up for a proven Premier League winger in Ryan Fraser but were willing to throw about double that for one from Lille. Time will tell.
It’s a bold move from the club to let him run his contract down and it remains one area where, before today, I thought we could do with an extra body.
David Brooks is obviously excellent, although now missing for a while and we have to expect that Junior Stanislas will only be available for about half the season. Jordon Ibe is… well, Ibe. However, it’s a clean slate for him with me as the door is wide open for him to make an impression. I hope he takes it.
I would still have liked us to bring in another body here but it looks like the club may have addressed that if the reports on Arnaut Danjuma are true.
Meanwhile, I can only see the Harry Wilson link coming to fruition if someone comes in for Fraser. I would worry about that change if it happened.
Current/pending status: 9/10 if Danjuma does sign and Fraser stays
8/10 if Fraser leaves even if Danjuma and Wilson sign
7/10 if Fraser leaves and only Danjuma signs
— Central Midfield —
Philip Billing is the Arter replacement we should have recruited 12 months ago when it was made clear Harry Arter’s heart was no longer at AFCB. Hopefully, Billing shows the quality he was reputed to have before petulance destroyed his reputation at Hudders.
Arter should be sold before the window closes, even given the Dan Gosling injury. With a little luck, Fulham will sell one of the Sessegnon brothers as then they will have the cash available. There’s no point keeping a player who is all about commitment when you may have some doubts about his commitment. I wish him nothing but good things though.
Jefferson Lerma, Lewis Cook and Billing (hopefully) are then 3 Premier League class Centre Midfielders. Still one short and although Andrew Surman is good to have as an option I still think we’re light a player here. This won’t be addressed this window so fingers crossed it’s enough.
Current status: 7.5/10
— Strikers —
The Lys Mousset deal was right to take and if Sam Surridge seems like a genuine option to break into the side then it makes even more sense. He’ll be a lot more patient sitting on the sidelines waiting for a chance as Lys had served his time but wasn’t going to dislodge the first-choice pairing.
I have high hope for Dominic Solanke this season. Those may be turned into famous last words but I think he’ll surprise a few who think Liverpool rinsed us.
Not a lot needs to be said about the Callum Wilson- Joshua King combination beyond the fact many clubs would be delighted to have them as their starting pair.
Current status: 8.5/10 (only because of the question marks over the two backup players)
Overall I’m pretty pleased with the transfers so far. It feels like we’ve strengthened in lots of areas where it was needed and moved on players for good fees that weren’t going to make it here, even if they do make it somewhere else.
The biggest question mark remains over the keeper position but at least we have some options to cycle through before panic sets in.
There are now quite a few players in the squad that need to show they can perform at Premier League level as we’ll be relying on a number of them this season.
Optimistic final position prediction since it’s summer, the sun is shining and I have a good supply of chocolate: 8th.