So it’s all over and thank Hod for that. Overall I think we should be satisfied with the net result. By no means have all holes in the squad been filled or problems solved and there was no Van der Vaart moment but on the other hand there was no Berbatov one either.
In May it was clear that the major issues to address on the playing side were at both ends of the pitch. The signings of neither the ageing Friedel nor the still smelling of gooner Adebayor will satisfy everyone but already the American will have gone some way to placate the anti-Saga hecklers and here’s hoping that Adebayor can do similar.
Friedel has had a rough baptism thanks mostly to the porous state of what’s been in front of him so far which is where Scott Parker comes in. He is good enough to not only provide cover for those currently injured or whose head is not in a good place but also to earn a regular first team place. Last season at WHL Modric completely outclassed Parker I thought but there’ll be no questioning who has the better attitude of the two currently and with an away game at Wolves next up, a bit of attitude is what’s needed. He’ll add much needed bite and leadership.
Off the pitch it’s been clear for a while that a cull to the squad size and the wage bill was only sensible. The departure of Crouch might be as much due to the bean counters as anything but on the other hand Harry may have struggled to justify naming him and all of VdV, Pav, Defoe and Adebayor in his twenty-five.
There can be little doubt that we’ve already seen the best of the rest of those who’ve departed. To a greater or lesser extent Palacios, Hutton, Jenas and Bentley have all done their bit in helping turn the club around in the last three seasons but they’ve turned into bit part players. The departure of Bentley means that there’s no cover for Lennon at all which isn’t great but Redknapp obviously feels that with Walker coming through and Bale’s ability to switch wings he’s got enough options to cope.
Overall we have a smaller squad, we’re stronger between the posts, we have less cover on the right and in the centre of midfield but better quality in that area when everyone’s available.
There are two major unknowns, Adebayor and Modric’s commitment. We’re heavily dependant on both of these coming good if we’re to have a decent season. Much will be made of the lack of a ‘marquee’ signing, i.e. a Rossi or a Mata but if they don’t want to come for the money we can afford (fee and wages) then there’s not much we can do. There’s cash flying around in Russia, France, Spain, Manchester and West London that we can’t match. It’s nowhere near a level playing field. Cutting our cloth according to our finances will only do us good in the long run, especially with the costs of a new stadium due before too long. At least we left the last minute desperate scrambling to the south London side.
Our poor start means that it’s a long climb to where we want to be but as I say, overall, I think we’re in a better position to begin the task of hauling ourselves upwards.
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