Five days into the January transfer window and it's started. Rumours, whispers, suggestions. The WBA game and the hectic Xmas and NY period proved more or less the importance of rotation and resting players. We have to be in a position to do that without detrimental effects on the team.
My personal mantra remains the same:
We need to bring in couple of players, ideally though that cover should be competition for the players in the squad already. So we should look to sign quality players that are long term and not just short term. If one of them happens to fit the 'special' bill, then that does me just fine and it will elevate us further forwards. But in terms of reality, that 'special' big name signing doesn't quite fit into the sides dynamics if you consider our current first team if all fit and well.
Midfield wise, we've got star quality. Signing a major player for a key midfield role, it's hardly pragmatic. Although the more astute might point out that Levy did just that with Rafa van der Vaart when he was not the type of player we actually needed at the time. That was supremely opportunistic and it was a risk, one that worked at the time and one that did shift us up a level performance wise.
Up front we have Adebayor. On loan. So if we do sign a striker for plenty of £££ then I'd expect our loanee to return to Eastlands in the summer. Any new signing in this position that is not a young hungry player willing to play second fiddle, will want more game time and although Adebayor is in need or a rest we can't keep him + two other forwards content (not forgetting Pav).
Then there's centre-backs. I've ever so slightly changed my opinion on this. Signing one will give us more than ample cover at the back (with Dawson, Gallas, Kaboul) what with King and his cameos. If any of the aforementioned three pick up knocks (Gallas already has) then its too much of a risk to ignore not signing someone. It will also allow us to play Kaboul at right-back to cover Walker (if Corluka goes or is simply no longer fancied). Not ideal having him deputise at RB, but its an option. It does look congested with that extra CB. So again, it has to be a long term signing if it happens and not simply 'cover'.
edit: not forgetting Bassong. Or forgetting him if you so wish.
I guess, what with our position in the league, we can't hope we muddle through Jan/Feb without any further knocks. Hence the importance of getting in players that will improve the squad in key positions and inspire competition. Again (repeating myself now) its dependent on how much money Daniel Levy is willing to spend this window.
The right-wing can do with some injection of new blood. A three-tier player will do. That's an attacking midfielder that can play wide and either just behind the main forward (van der Vaart role) or further forward. To find such quality though, it's a big ask. Which is why we're being continually linked with Junior Hoilett. But again, Harry might be okay to simply push Rafa out there (which is never a good thing), much like pushing Luka to the right.
Huddlestone has stated he's back 'running' in the next week or so. Sandro is out with a calf injury. Parker is injured (not too seriously) and was in a dire need of a rest prior to that. I feel Harry will stick with Livermore to cover the midfield unless there's a better quality player who can be signed. Rodwell is being linked. It would have to be someone similar. Young, willing to be patient. Because once Parker is 100% and Sandro is fit, then its the midfield's turn to be congested.
I'm not even going to consider the consequences of losing Luka to injury. Or Bale.
Perhaps that special player will do after all.
Check out the monster ITK thread over on the forum. I prefer to stay clear of it, but you might want to keep track of all the tittle tattle.