Where are we now and what we need next

by   |   02/11/2018  21 Comments  [Jump to last]

I had picked after the Man Utd game to assess, in my opinion, if we had progressed or not under the new regime. Although some of the results so far this season may not have gone the way we all hoped they would, the signs are very promising.

We were out-classed by Arsenal and Man Utd away last season, losing 4-0 and 5-1, and although we came away with zero points again this season, we could've and should've got something out of both games. The way Marco has the team set up and the style of football we are trying to play at least makes it a pleasure to go to the game again, unlike last season.

Being the expert that I am (Not!), it seems obvious to me that we are a 20-goal-a-season striker short of the top 6. All the new and loan signings look like they are capable of doing a job (Mina aside... due to not playing yet) and – most importantly – look like they want to be at the club.

Who would you like us to sign January or the summer that would give us the strike power to push on? Or maybe we should stick with Tosun and Calvert-Lewin or Richarlison up top?

For me, I would like to see Diego Costa in our team – a powerhouse player who would be able to hold the ball up and bring in the attacking talent that we have in midfield? Or would you take Lukaku back? Or are there younger better strikers out there?

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Reader Comments (21)

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Paul Birmingham
1 Posted 02/11/2018 at 19:13:39
Peter good point, and proper striker in both those games, would have made a difference.

January sales etc and I sense there’s likelihood of more outgoings than incomings. Costa is always a handful, but I’m not sure he’d come back to thes shores, but if available he’d be worth a risk for a couple of seasons, as he is a handful for the best defenders.

I know many will disagree but I wouldn’t take RL, back. For me he showed his true colours, and is according to press now taking about his next move.. to Juve.

He’s never gonna be as good as he thinks, and not the best natural header that you’d want for a dynamic deadly CF.

I think Werner would do job but he is also a good footballer and Id see him as a versatile front man.

Here’s to good healthy debate on this subject.

Lee Whitehead
2 Posted 03/11/2018 at 09:03:33
Regarding a centre-forward a Costa type player. I think we missed a trick when we could have signed the guy from Newcastle, Mitrovic, for £20 mill. In a good side, he would have done a good job.

James Doran
3 Posted 03/11/2018 at 10:09:35
I'd like us to get someone like Giroud, Llorente or Edin Dzeko in in Jan.
Alex Gray
4 Posted 04/11/2018 at 01:04:13
Interesting opener and thought-provoking suggestions. As a season ticket holder, I found last season painful to watch bar the odd game; however, this season has been a much more exciting brand of football. I think the current squad is competitive across the pitch with decent cover, the exception of course being up front, so agree with your assessment we need a consistent goal scorer.

I don't see Costa or Lukaku as realistic options. We were loosely linked with Costa during his Chelsea exile last season and if the rumours are true, he decided he would rather not play for 6 months than turn out for us. Lukaku, well that ship sailed and if we are honest he has moved on to bigger and better things; dry patch aside, he will be a regular for Champions League teams for the foreseeable.

In terms of what I think is achievable in January, I would be looking to get in one of three targets: Zaha, Malcom and Piatek.

Zaha has looked very good in an average Palace side for a while now, and this was evident in his recent performance against us, he proved to be a real handful. He looked destined to join the big boys last summer and the upcoming window could be our last opportunity to swoop. There's no doubt this would be a Sigurdsson / Arnautovic style deal where we pay over the odds to attract the 'best from the rest' in both fee and salary.

Malcom has been widely touted for a loan move in January, following a slow start to life at Barcelona. Could we utilise our recent successful transfer dealings to get to the head of the queue? This short-term signing would almost certainly mean Richarlison continues to lead the line. I would be reluctant to stifle Lookman's development, but have concerns about Walcott's productivity.

Finally, Krzysztof Piatek of Genoa. Undoubtedly this would be a gamble. He had a very good season in Poland last year and has now hit a purple patch in Italy, scoring 13 goals in 11 games in all competitions. Of the three, he is the most akin to a traditional Number 9. If we wait until the summer and his form continues, bigger clubs will win this signature.

Ajay Gopal
5 Posted 04/11/2018 at 15:49:27
I may be naive, but I would wait to buy a striker until Marco has tried and completely written off Tosun and Calvert-Lewin. Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea do not have an out-and-out centre-forward, but they score plenty of goals.

At the moment, our front line have not yet learnt to be selfless – once they do that and play for each other (like Mane, Salah, Firmino do for the RS), then I don't see the need for a target man. The goals should (ideally) be shared among Richarlison, Bernard, Walcott, Siggy, Lookman, Tosun and Calvert-Lewin.

We should also start converting some of the corners, which is very poor right now. As Lyndon mentioned on the match day report, once everything clicks, we will be a formidable team, which every team in the Premier League will dread playing against.

Steve Ferns
6 Posted 04/11/2018 at 16:38:07
Zaha is too similar to Richarlison. Malcolm is yet another winger. With Bernard, Lookman, Walcott and Richarlison I think we’re good on the flanks.

We are better holding out for the perfect centre forward. I trust brands to find the right guy.

Brian Williams
7 Posted 04/11/2018 at 16:52:26
I'd hate to see us get a target man in the mold of Costa or Lukaku.

I'd much rather see a speedy, tricky, striker like Lacazette or Martial, one who could interchange positions with the other two up front so that opposition defences basically don't know where the threats coming from.

Steve Ferns
8 Posted 04/11/2018 at 16:56:54
Lacazette would be ideal.
John Keating
9 Posted 04/11/2018 at 17:23:17
I would leave the squad as it is until the end of the season. We have had enough upheaval since Moyes left. Sometimes it's best to say nothing and do nothing.

Even if we spent over the odds for a striker in January, I doubt we would get exactly who we needed as teams aren't going to release their best players mid-season unless it's for daft money.

I doubt our league position will drastically change between now and the end of the season if we bring in one or two players. Silva and Brands will know now who is up for sale in the close season or available through end of contacts etc.

Stick with what we have and concentrate in January on shipping more players out. Niasse, Schneiderlin, Besic, Jagielka et al.

Let's see where we are at the end of the season, get players in early doors, and have a really good pre-season.

Bill Griffiths
10 Posted 04/11/2018 at 17:44:52
I tend to agree with your view, John. Also gives Calvert-Lewin and Tosun a better opportunity to maybe stake a claim.

I personally think Calvert-Lewin will come good.

Chris Gould
11 Posted 04/11/2018 at 18:13:31
Richarlison believes he's a striker and will be working tirelessly in training to improve. I think Silva is already convinced that he is destined to be a striker, and that him playing there is not simply a stop-gap.

Richarlison reminds me of Christiano Ronaldo with his steely determination and fearlessness. Like Ronaldo, he clearly lives and breathes the game and is in fantastic condition.

I reckon he's targeting being the league's top scorer and believes he can do it. I think we're about to watch a special player improve week by week and nobody will be asking for a new striker in January.

Kunal Desai
12 Posted 04/11/2018 at 18:28:52
Difficult to bring in a quality striker in January. Instead of paying over the odds for someone mediocre or past there prime, it's better to wait until the summer.

The focus should be on improving quality right throughout the squad, including the bench, which isn't strong enough in my opinion. We now need depth in quality beyond the first eleven in practically all areas.

We should be looking to replace Stekelenburg, Jagielka, Schneiderlin, Tosun and possibly Davies next summer with much better.

Will Mabon
13 Posted 04/11/2018 at 18:33:49
"I think we're about to watch a special player improve week by week and nobody will be asking for a new striker in January".

Alas, Chris, we won't be the only ones watching, and those asking may be from other clubs – asking for Richarlison.

Brian Harrison
14 Posted 05/11/2018 at 19:24:56
There is an interesting Piece in The Daily Mail today on the thoughts of Marco Silva. I don't buy the Mail so just read snippets on Twitter, but he seems to understand the club and the supporters. He said he has told Moshiri that he wants to build something special here, and he can understand some fans being a bit wary seeing as he only stayed a few months at his 2 previous Premier League clubs.

He also reiterated his belief in promoting young players into the squad, again he said he can understand the frustration of 1 or 2 of the younger players having to wait for their chance. He talks about Lookman and can understand why Leipzig was an interesting proposition but said he sees Lookman as the future at Everton.

He went on to say he knows to get the time he wants to build this club into a team challenging for the top honours, he will need to win something. But he stressed he has only been here a few months and will need a little patience for him to achieve the success the fans crave.

Robert Leigh
15 Posted 08/11/2018 at 15:52:56
Richarlison is doing a fine job, but I certainly see him as a left-winger more than a striker.

Like others above have stated, I think Dominic Calvert-Lewin will come good and become a very good Premier League striker.

He has good touch, can see a pass and has very good pace for a tall guy; we all know he needs to improve on his finishing and become an Andy Cole type player (three chances = one goal).

He has suffered since coming to us in that he has played as a number 9, 10, 11, 7 and even a right-wing back by Koeman.

If we are able to (Niasse doesn't leave), I'd like to see him sent on loan for 6 months - and the team that takes him made to play him upfront. If he plays upfront for the rest of the season the loan is free; if not they start paying.

Then by the time the Summer comes around he'll have hopefully notched over 10 goals and be ready for the #9 shirt.

Jay Harris
16 Posted 08/11/2018 at 16:37:40
DCL's progress should not be overlooked.

He is not yet a Lukaku but in 5 appearances and 6 games coming on as sub he has scored 4 goals and on many of those occasions he was not leading the line.

He is excellent in the air and wins many 50/50s unlike Tosun.

He is good at holding the ball up and linking play.

He is still young enough to develop and improve.

On the other hand he is not yet ready to lead a top six side but you have to ask yourself who is available Vardy, Dzecko, Costa, Giroud etc all the wrong side of 30 and in decline.

There does not appear to be a prolific striker coming through the ranks and it may well be that the likes of a Hazard or Salah may well be the way forward with 3 interchangeable up front.

David Pearl
17 Posted 08/11/2018 at 19:10:43
If Richarlison keeps improving up front and Lookman keeps improving and pushing Walcott I'd say we don't need to buy unless something special turns up. Younger players are getting a chance off the bench and that wouldn't happen if we bought again I'm January.

I rate Zaha highly, there isn't a team in the Premier League that isn't scared of him. I very much doubt he will be going anywhere till next summer and to a team in the Champions League. And Steve Ferns, he isn't anything like Richarlison.

Gareth Clark
18 Posted 12/11/2018 at 05:58:14
I completely agree with Ajay (#5),

Let's give the guys some time. Richarlison is adapting to playing up top and the team is adapting to play to his strengths.

Costa would be a dream signing but, realistically, not one we would make in the near future.

I still think that Tosun & Calvert-Lewin have a lot to offer, and they are very different, which is nice for a manager!

Play them off the bench for now and give them a start in the game that needs us to hold the ball up and bring the wingers into the game more.

Gareth Clark
19 Posted 12/11/2018 at 06:00:25
I would stick with the team as we have now. If anything, our next aim should be tying up Zouma and Gomes – and possibly Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Also, it's time for Ademola Lookman to take the left-wing spot; Bernard has had his fair crack – now it's time for Mola to bring his flair to the party.

Bernard still in with a shout, with Walcott also under pressure.

Pat Waine
20 Posted 17/11/2018 at 20:16:18
To say we are a 20-goal-a-season striker short of getting to 6th is like suggesting we have a chance of getting one in easy like. Firstly, they are hard to come by; and secondly, there is a 4-level Premier League now.

Man City and, a distance behind, Liverpool are Level 1... and a big distance behind we have:

Spurs, Man Utd, Chelsea, and Arsenal at Level 2

Then we have a glut of clubs including Everton at Level 3

And then Level 4, the relegation-troubled clubs about 6 of these.

We have a long way to go and the appointment of Koeman and the money he spent plus the reputational damage we did to our name, particularly in Europa League under Koeman, has put us back years. So settle in for baby steps over the next year or two...

Joseph O Brien
21 Posted 27/11/2018 at 16:36:37
Ajay @5:

Man City have Aguero;
Spurs have Kane;
Arsenal have Abamayang and Lacazette;
Man Utd have Lukaku
Chelsea have Giroud

The RS are the only team in the top 6 without a typical centre-forward.

To say we don't need a centre-forward scoring 18 to 25 goals is wrong. Richarlison may be that player but he has a lot of areas to improve on. I think he's only playing there because he's more of a threat than Tosun and Calvert-Lewin.

The continued links to Barbosa would suggest that Brands/Silva are indeed looking at a typical centre-forward He fits the profile of a young player that made the big move too soon and with a point to prove the same as Digne, Mina, Gomes

To break the sky 6 we need a centre-forward. >Imagine a prime Lukaku (with his head in the right place) finishing some of the chances we created this season... He had a lot of faults in his game but scoring wasn't one of them.

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