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Possible Free Transfers?

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We all know that we’re not a rich club (understatement) and that the squad needs strengthening.

We’ve already lost 3 senior playing staff in Neville, Mucha and Hitzlsperger. None of them played really major roles last season, except perhaps Pip, but it does mean that, in order just to be back where we were at the end of the season, we need 3 new players. And that’s before we even start talking about strengthening.

From what I’ve seen in the press, it appears that Martinez is in an all too familiar sell-to-buy situation.

The BBC football website published a list of players released from their clubs in the Premier League and I think there are potentially 3 or 4 who could come in on a free and do a job, at least as squad players. Whilst, for the better players, wage demands might well kill any potential deal, there are some that are worth checking out.

There’s not too much to get excited about, but in my opinion, the pick of the bunch are:–

Arshavin, at 32 still has a few decent years left and would certainly bring some skill and creativity to our attack. Although he’s been a bit off the boil recently at Arsenal I think that, given a run in the first team, he’s probably the only player on a free who might really improve our first 18.

Benayoun and Malouda from Chelsea, whilst both on the old side, they certainly have the talent and experience to add something. Also Turnbull and Hilario have been released by Chelsea, who could be adequate replacements for Mucha. The obvious sticking point for any Chelsea players would be wages.

Another keeper released is Schwarzer who, despite being the wrong side of 40, would be good cover for Howard, albeit very temporarily.

If Heitinga really wants to go, then perhaps Gallas would be a decent option on a free from Spurs. Again, at 35, he is getting long in the tooth but he would bolster the squad with his experience and leave any money from Heitinga’s sale to be spent on improving other areas, or bringing in a younger centre back. Again wages may be an issue.

One player who may be a realistic option is Franco di Santo, released by Wigan. Whilst his stats aren'’t that impressive, he was in a struggling Wigan side and, at only 24, he has time on his side.

Richard Parker, Paris, France     Posted 13/06/2013 at 07:42:16

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James Morgan
422 Posted 13/06/2013 at 15:12:33
I wouldn't want any of those mentioned. I thought about Di Santo for a minute then realised that he's probably no better than Vellios.

Alcaraz on a free is fair enough, but we need young hungry players, not over-the-hill has-beens who just want a last pay day.

Chris Hannon
423 Posted 13/06/2013 at 15:16:43
They are released for nothing for a reason; they are all past it... and Di Santo is awful!
Mick Doherty
424 Posted 13/06/2013 at 15:12:41
I'd avoid the lot of them, Arshavin probably still has something to offer, but he's erratic and has a highly questionable attitude, and he'd be looking for big money wages wise. Schwarzer was a top keeper, but at 40, come on, we don't need cover for Howard anyway, we need serious competition.

The rest are simply too old or in Turnbull and di Santo's case not good enough, just because they are free agents doesn't necessarily mean they are value for money, the likes of Gallas and Benayoun would expect top dollar in wages. Would be interested to see who has been released on the continent though.

Gavin Wadeson
426 Posted 13/06/2013 at 15:27:55
Most of the players you've mentioned sound like the type of seasoned pros that Harry Redknapp would have signed if he was still managing in the Prem.

All of the half-decent ones will have massive wage demands and no sell-on value.

Jim Harrison
430 Posted 13/06/2013 at 16:09:42
Load of cack. Would rather take Richard Dunne and Scott Parker.
Alan Ross
433 Posted 13/06/2013 at 16:33:33
I thought we needed to lower the age of the squad. Doesn't seem the right route to me even if they were top class players, which they are not.
Brian Waring
442 Posted 13/06/2013 at 17:16:27
Turnbull is a good shout as back up to Howard, experienced and still only 28.
Kieran Fitzgerald
443 Posted 13/06/2013 at 17:16:14
You may see a lot of them end up at the promoted clubs.

I wouldn't mind seeing Parker and Dunne at the club myself Jim. I think both may look to be regular starters though so it would depend on who makes the space. With this in mind, I could see both players go to newly promoted clubs instead.

Wayne Smyth
445 Posted 13/06/2013 at 17:28:41
No. They cost too much in wages, and are too old. I'm sure there may be decent free transfers available, but the ones mentioned wont improve us.

I don't believe that Martinez has to sell to buy either.

Moyes, Mucha, Neville, Hitz all off the wage bill. I suspect that is the best part of £10M saved per season. I also assume that RM will get the bulk of the additional tv money that is coming this season. I'm not aware that any of it was spent by Moyes after the Fer transfer collapsed.

Robin Cannon
453 Posted 13/06/2013 at 17:49:20
I can just about see an argument for taking a punt on Arshavin (and it would be nothing more than a speculative punt) in a World Cup year, given he's lost his place in the Russia team, dependent on wages.

Don't see any value in any of the other freebies mentioned.

Alan Humphreys
458 Posted 13/06/2013 at 18:01:10
Some valid points re cover for Howard in that it's not cover that's required but competition. Since he joined us he's had none. Ruddy only proved his worth by leaving us and becoming a regular no 1*. The RS are similar to us in that respect as both Howard and Reina can play shit and know they're already penned in for the next game.

(*On that note first choice keeper should have 1 on their backs not their favourite high school basketball players number or whatever it is and whilst I'm ranting keepers wear green tops and only other colour permitted should be yellow if they're internationals, and jumpers for goal posts...)

Brin Williams
471 Posted 13/06/2013 at 18:56:48
Surely the aim is for Champions League not Championship?

Wouldn't take any of them on a free. That includes free wages!!!

Ross Edwards
473 Posted 13/06/2013 at 19:43:42
Look, we are trying to get Europe AND reduce the age of the squad. Why should we clutter our squad with useless hasbeens like Arshavin and Bentley?
Robin Cannon
479 Posted 13/06/2013 at 19:57:26
@Alan (458) - That's really the nature of most goalkeeping situations, though, isn't it? Very few clubs have anything other than a totally solid first choice 'keeper and a reasonably solid backup.

It's pretty tough to keep two high quality competitive keepers happy, because the position doesn't lend itself to rotation in the same way as outfield roles.

Dick Brady
480 Posted 13/06/2013 at 19:53:55
The squad is too old already. Martinez needs to start adding some younger players not more bloody old boys.

Remember Howard, Distin, Jagielka, Hibbert, Pienaar and Osman are all in their 30's and Baines and Jelavic are only a couple of years away from joining them.

Martinez needs to start looking at younger players and maybe even giving youngsters like Barkley, Stones, Duffy and Vellios a decent run in the team.

Mike Oates
481 Posted 13/06/2013 at 19:59:49
Lets not go for freebies, but hopefully start to give the likes of Barkley game time, initially as a decent 30-40min sub , gradually introducing him. I'd also give Lundstram first team experience, the odd 10-15 mins and see how he does. The area we do need cover or good competition is the goalie and we should buy some decent talent.

If Martinez seriously respects our youth set up then give them some experience at least - Villa did it, wobbled a lot but at the end of the season they have developed some good youngsters for future seasons

Ian Bennett
482 Posted 13/06/2013 at 20:12:47
Abelda on a free from a Valencia is a possibility.
Mike Hughes
485 Posted 13/06/2013 at 20:13:36
I can only conclude from reading the OP, Richard, that free option is no option. I wouldn't want any of those players partciularly.

I agree with comments about bringing some of our youth on - particularly those mentioned above - but also feel we need 4-5 decent signings (keeper, centre back, 2 midfielders and a striker ~ an outlay of circa £20m if we shop abroad?).

After all, I fully expect us to be in the CL places and "you don't win anything with kids."

Ross Edwards
486 Posted 13/06/2013 at 20:19:30
Ian, Albelda is 35, we need to reduce the age of the squad.
Ian Bennett
487 Posted 13/06/2013 at 20:26:33
Ross - I totally agree, although I think Martinez might look to a player like this to bridge Barkleys development if funds are short. We'll see.
Alan Humphreys
489 Posted 13/06/2013 at 20:29:56
The loan market would seem to be the better option rather than the names bandied about in the OP. But as mentioned on other threads, we're not here to improve player X for club Y so need to ensure that any player we loan comes with an option to purchase at an agreed price.

However the skeptical among us will remember the Yobo loan agreement and Fenerbache's ungentlemanly conduct reneging on the payment.

Mark Pierpoint
495 Posted 13/06/2013 at 21:01:55
Albelda would be a decent short term acquisition that would allow us the comfort of rotating the squad and the system a little. Not on the level of Pirlo but could play a deep lying role well.

The other ones though are a no go. I shudder at the thought of the wages that Gallas and Arshavin would want. Think Gallas would do a job for Monaco or something. Schwarzer would be expensive cover as well.

Hear that Redmond from Birmingham is likely to leave for 1m this summer. This is the sort of 'bargain' we should be looking at

Ross Edwards
496 Posted 13/06/2013 at 21:12:43
Louis Saha is out of contract...
Alan Humphreys
499 Posted 13/06/2013 at 21:14:15
@Mark (495) Commentator at the u21 game said he was happy at Birmingham and not looking to move. That said, thought when Redmond came on he tried to take the game to Israel, pace in abundance and his decision making was better than most. Not sure he's ready to move up to the big leagues yet though.
Ross Edwards
500 Posted 13/06/2013 at 21:22:04
Well, we did bring through a 16-year-old called Wayne Rooney didn't we Alan? Everton could be the springboard Redmond needs.
Brian Harrison
501 Posted 13/06/2013 at 21:29:09
I do hope the press are well wide of the mark, firstly he is bringing his backroom staff with him and now the press reckon he may go back for 4/5 Wigan players.

Can someone remind me what happened with these players and the manager at Wigan? So someone thinks the way to improve our team that finished 6th is to buy 4/5 players that just got relegated. You couldn't make it up, let's hope that the press have put 2 and 2 together and got 5.

Alan Humphreys
502 Posted 13/06/2013 at 21:40:48
That we did Ross, point well made. Surely that's the point compared to the free transfers available, we should be looking at younger hungrier players (Redmond or whoever).

Aston Villa have a young side who will be better next season with the experience they've had, their issue was the lack of older heads to guide the young ones - we have them in abundance at Everton and plenty of young lads who hardly got a chance under Moyes. Be interesting to see how the Everton players in the England U20's fair.

Mark Pierpoint
508 Posted 13/06/2013 at 22:19:18
Alan, because of the financial position of Birmingham they apparently have to sell. Only 12 months on his contract. Been strongly linked with Swansea today
Alan Humphreys
512 Posted 13/06/2013 at 22:28:14
Sure there's a few clubs like that at the mo' Mark, hell Hearts put their whole squad up for sale today.

Martinez would surely be better looking at players with a re-sale value than those coming to an end of their career. Appreciate that there are still some cracking players out there but as its been said we have an ageing squad already.

Richard Dodd
617 Posted 14/06/2013 at 14:24:25
Have the Club appointed a successor to Chief Scout Cook who has defected to Man Unt. with Moyes?
Such an appointee would need to be in place sooner or later if we are to be in the hunt for bargains rather than shopping at the last minute clearance counter, as is usual.
Iain Davies
695 Posted 14/06/2013 at 20:10:50
Joan Verdú (Espanyol)
Ross Turnbull (Chelsea)

Sanchez Watt (Arsenal)

Iain Davies
699 Posted 14/06/2013 at 20:32:20

Conor Henderson (Arsenal)

Steavey Buckley
806 Posted 15/06/2013 at 15:04:36
You may discover the Martinez has good connections where good players can be bought less expensively. Spain, central and South America are places he knows where to buy.
John Crawley
081 Posted 16/06/2013 at 14:34:11
Richard as far as I know he's brought in Kevin Reeves as the new chief scout.

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