Lehmann (CL and Prem)
Almunia (FA Cup and Prem)
Fabianski (Carling Cup)
Mannone (Loaned Out)
Gilbert (Championship Loan till Christmas)
G Hoyte (Championship Loan)
Merida (Championship Loan)
I think if we just keep some of the youngsters that would otherwise go on loan, then the African Nations shouldn’t be a problem, with an injury free squad. But remember Gilberto can also do a job at centre back too.
Merida to go on loan for a season, or at least 6 months. Just to toughen him up. Then he can become a good squad player for the centre and left.
I would like to see a good signing made, a ‘super-class’ signing, that can play wide and up top. And that one player is all I think we need to mount a challenge next season. I know there are some non believers out there but I shall try to talk you around. (without using the word potential)
We have young players, who cannot step up to the plate, its fair; they are not strong enough to carry a team. But youngsters are very good at following. 05-06 we had some injuries and a young squad but on those big games in the Champions League our big players performed, Lehmann, Toure, Gilberto, Henry. When they perform so do the youngsters, when they don’t the kids can’t cope.
Our home record last year was proof of this, we scored the 1st goal, Van Persie, Henry, Gilberto-We went on to win 3-0. That pressure is relieved and the kids settle. We conceded the first goal, 1-1. Tended to be last minute after hundreds of chances.
I hate to say this but I’m going to go off to and American theme here, I won’t call it a sport, they play this type of extended softball in the states, but what happens is in a team they have big hitters, and good runners. The runners (youngsters) ease the ball around not looking to score big, just trying to steal a base. Then when a big hitter comes and there are 3 runners on the pitch, Home Run 4 points, or something like that.
The point is the goals will come from the kids once a fit Henry or Van Persie has opened the lead. Then after the kids have scored a few meaningless goals at the back end of a 3-0 win, their confidence will be enough for them to attempt to hit the home run and score the early goal. It is a risky strategy but if we make as many chances as last season and this time we have those scoring boots on, Henry and Van Persie will be the leagues 2 highest scorers, Fabregas will be on 20, Rosicky 15, Hleb might even score, then there’s Adebayor, Walcott, Ljungberg, and Bentner too. (Don’t expect another goal scoring season from Gilberto, hopefully he wont need to move that far forward to score)
So I am a believer, I think that we have the resources we don’t need to inflate our wage budget or break the bank for a new team, we just need a little bit of natural progress from within the team that would of happened last year if Henry and Van Persie didn’t get injured in January. Just as we were starting to pick up a bit of pace.
I hope that this has brightened up those looking at Utd signing everyone, and I still propose one quality player with the ability to play wide or as a striker (like Reyes could) then I think our squad is capable of mounting a serious challenge.
Here’s hoping for a fully fit squad making a flying start to next season to rouse our young hopefuls into goal machine masters.