Forward thinking the only way
It's the calm before the storm, right? Reading the tabloids, watching Sky Sports News or trying to decipher the cryptic inside knowledge from the 'In the Know' community is proving to be as enjoyable as an England World Cup performance. That's not very enjoyable. Pockets of my brain are haemorrhaging from the boredom. It's not exactly exciting, but then arguably, there is no Klinsmann type of signing out there in these rather lacklustre modern days. And no yoof either, it would seem as the kids with potential prefer to completely bypass the stepping stone clubs* and move straight into the elite. Surely there's a younger version of Berbatov out there? Well, one that won't want to move on a season later. If that's okay. Not asking for much here, just some hunger and loyalty.
*What's that? We're not a stepping stone club anyone?
I'm half jesting. We signed Modric a couple of years back, so there is plenty of hope, no doubt festering in the shadows ready to jump out and scream in our face when the time is right. Marquee signings are over-rated anyways.
Obviously, we as football fans, are selfish creatures we simply want want want, all of the time. And we want NOW.
We shift around uncomfortably like Gollum, obsessed with every single comment or alleged movement or sound-bite made, moaning and sighing. And then analysing and theorising how said player would fit into our first eleven if signed and whether they will aid our progression. All of this from a couple of newspaper articles, hearsay, guess work, agent talk. It's the scraps we feed on because, usually, one of the scraps out of the many turns out to be a genuine link.
Gollum to be signed by ITV soon.
We've had very little this summer that we could possibly tag in the 'Levy and Harry were seriously looking at spending cash there' bracket. Joe Cole being the obvious one thanks to Harry telling us that we had offered him a contract. No massive surprise there. We knew the moment he became available that HR would want one of his former 'sons' on board the THFC Express.
Cole rejected a continued stay in London and opted for a central midfield role up at Liverpool, something Harry did nod towards when he flirted with Cole via the media (saying Cole's best position is central). How that would have worked out for us - I don't know. And if 'football reasons' means guaranteed first team football, then so be it. I'm not crying my eyes out over here. And regardless of Liverpool's current plight (it's a mess at Anfield no matter how their fans wish to dress up the truth) there is opportunity for Cole to shine there.
Good player is Cole on his day, and would have been a diamond signing if he arrived and accepted a little squad rotation. Whether the Chelsea fans prove to be right (Joe Slow according to them), we'll have to tune into the Hodgson Show to find out. 90k a week is a lot of money for a player who has hardly played in recent seasons thanks to injuries. I'd have accepted the risk if he had agreed our alleged 65k. And marginalising the likes of Huddlestone would have been just plain silly just for the sake of beefing up a position we don't have too much trouble with.
(Although a free-scoring midfielder would be nice, but don't think it's essential - at least not to Harry).
Still, this area (central mid or even left mid) is not the area we should be concerned about. I doubt very much both our gaffer and our manager are ignoring say the following must-haves:
- Another CB (because King and Woody are bit-part players for us, the latter someone who might not even return) for cover (Bassong and Dawson are in for another big season)
- A Forward
We've got Sandro on the way. We've got players who can adapt and play two positions (Modric, Bale) and we've got one or two who perhaps might just get an opportunity (dos Santos and dare I say The Rat).
But some of this will depend on who we finally get rid of, because with the new season approaching, we've yet to see the back of the deadwood.
Deadwood, is defined I guess by last season and personal opinion along with once more reading between the line. Keane. Hutton - are two players probably on their way. Pav is always linked with a departure.
It all comes down to this: Who and when we sign a forward. We can dream about one of the new kids on the block as much as we like (Dzeko, Suarez) or others of the ilk of long-term proven players like Fabiano and Raul (LOL). But might well end up with seasoned English based terrier such as Bellamy. Who happens to be a **** of a player. If he wasn't so injury prone (if I'm wrong, show me the stats, ta) then perhaps I'd swallow my pride and sort of half-admit and say 'okay then, he might be able to do a job for us'. But he does pick up knocks and although his off-the-field charity work is very commendable, his general persona in the dressing room is subject to far too much debate. Harry and him on the golf course? Happy days. Bellamy would show some tenacious bite we sometimes, on occasions bite. But then who knows what type of focus he'll have if he moves to N17. It's a risk. Cheap one probably. But still.
It's fairly imperative we get the signing for the forward position spot on. Someone who can hit the ground running, score and create. What? Did you say Bellamy? Oh ffs. Anyways, whether a Suarez could do that is altogether another discussion. 49 goals in the Dutch League means very little to me. No offence to them over there, but Kuyt was knocking in goals for fun and over here he's a defensive forward.
We do need a striker right? Defoe, Crouch, Pav...that's not enough. Keane staying would surprise me about us much as walking into my bedroom to find Jessica Alba there with the words 'I'm all yours' written across her waist in lip stick. And the three we do have, to expect them to handle the League and the CL and the cups? Nah. We need depth. Need quality. Because if we make the CL group stages, we need someone who can unlock those hefty seasoned doors. Otherwise, it's Defoe getting flagged offside all night long on Sky Sports.
So, as far as being all quiet on the transfer front, I don't care too much as long as we get a couple of tasty press conferences in the next few weeks. The papers can continue to link us to everyone and anyone, as long as the end result is more pieces for our Lilywhite jigsaw puzzle. The right pieces.
But even with everyone being so cautious nowadays, you'd think it would be near suicidal NOT to spend well this transfer window. What with the potentially hectic calender year ahead of us. Key game being that qualifier.
How many times around Christmas time have we wanted to see us sign players to consolidate our position and push forward only to be left disappointed? Then again, perhaps more trust for the gaffer is required. Considering what he achieved last season without the need to go loopy with Levy's transfer fund at that critical mid-way point.
In Harry we trust then. Right?