For the last two seasons I have written pieces suggesting players we could recruit from the relegated teams. I’ve decided to do this again this year but with a twist due to the fact we ourselves have been relegated.
As well as talking about potential signings from the other two relegated clubs I will suggest the players that are most likely to be raided from us.
I actually suggested we sign this guy two years ago when Norwich were last relegated. He’s not kicked on quite as much as I thought he would but he is still undeniably a talented player. If Townsend leaves (please not to Palace, please not to Palace, please not to Palace,) then we’ll need another winger that can beat his man and provide a goal threat. He’s still only 22 and managed 6 goals from the wing last season. Although if reports are to be believed he’ll end up a Premier League player next season.
This is a guy I rated highly at Hull, before he got relegated with them. Again last season I liked what I saw, until he got relegated with Norwich. Okay, so he’s got a bit of form when it comes to a relegation and I know we hardly need another centre midfielder. However, the Republic of Ireland international doubles up as a left back and it’s for this role I’d sign him.
He’d offer us extra options when it comes to set-pieces and his ability to play several different positions could see him become a successor to Ryan Taylor. Admittedly, I’m not sure anyone has been searching for a successor to ‘Over the Wall’ Taylor but I think the ex Man Yoo trainee could offer a lot.
I’m sure there would be a fair few fans that would be less than happy to ‘welcome’ this chap back. A player who looked to have loads of potential in his one season with us. Jumped ship after relegation and never really became the player he could have. However, I still think he’s half decent and could provide good cover for Mbemba and Lascelles.
Obviously I’m joking. There is genuinely not a single Villa player I would take on.
Outside of the teams recently relegated, there’s a few players going out of contract that might be worth sweeping up. I always rated Steven Fletcher before he went to Sunderland. He has stagnated in recent seasons but even having him for one year in the Championship could be worthwhile. Think how much Sunderland fans would hate to see Fletcher scoring goals to help us get back up.
Moussa Dembele, the one still at Fulham obviously, is seeing his contract come to an end. Fifteen goals for the relegation battlers and he’s only 20 next month. Well worth a punt I’d say.
With regards to players leaving. You could argue that there won’t be any. Rafa is certainly playing hardball.
Keeping the likes of Sissoko and Wijnaldum may not be all that popular a choice but if they knuckle down and help us win the league they could yet restore their reputations.
I do see Sissoko leaving though. It wouldn’t be so much other clubs raiding us for him. This gives the image of ruthless invaders tearing him from our grasp. It’s more likely the ‘raiders’ will set up their ship 100 yards from shore and Moussa will sprint from Fort St James’ and swim out to them. Where would he go? New teams are being linked every day but I don’t see Arsenal or Hamburg as a destination. I think he’d end up at a team like West Ham or Palace.
I, personally, would keep Gini. Yes he spent a fair chunk of this season making expert runs… away from the ball. But he did score goals and there was the odd game, and I mean odd in every sense of the word, that he turned in a quality performance. Against Liverpool when we won 2-0 he put in one of the best performances any of our lot produced all season.
There must be some quality there. He was voted the Dutch League’s Player of the Season the year before. I know it’s a weaker league but that doesn’t mean it’s not an accomplishment.
Moussa has irritated us for seasons with his wantaway words and below par performances. Gini, on the other hand, has had one season. He flattered to deceive and seemingly turned up when he felt like it. But then, I can’t count on one hand players that were consistent all season. In fact, I can’t count on one finger.
In my opinion, he deserves an opportunity to be our Kevin Nolan next season. Turning up in the right place at the right time to score vital goals and help us get promoted. If he was to go though I think it’ll be back to the Premier League rather than to Italy. When I went to Southampton away this season I ended up in a pub surrounded by Saints fans. They were going on about what a great player Wijnaldum is and how much they’d love to sign him.
So watch this space. If we get the £30 million price tag that’s been mooted I’d bite their hand off and swallow it before they could say ‘overrated’.
Many think Janmaat should be auctioned off but I’m still a fan of his and would keep him.
I’m not sure about any others. Most players we simply can’t get rid of. Others we simply have to keep hold of. We won’t know until the start of September which players we’ve gained and, maybe more importantly, which players we’ve lost.
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