This is a very hypothetical article as we can only truly know what the starting line up will be once all our transfer activity has been concluded.
However, as yet another striker turns us down and Neil Taylor’s situation at an impasse I fear that our transfer activity has stagnated somewhat. So then if we didn’t get any players inbetween now and the start of the season for our first game against Arsenal on the 16th of August would it be a disaster? Would the team represent anything that could challenge in the cups and for a top ten finish?
We all have differing opinions on the current squad members and the first team as it stands could be subject to a number of questions…
Goalkeeper – Steve Harper, Fraser Forster or Tim Krul? Personally I think Forster will leave the club. Krul had an outstanding debut for Holland and was competent when he played last season. I feel he will get the nod with the experienced yet wise Harper knowing he has a lot to offer even from the bench.
Defence – Starting with the right-back, I think it’s fairly obvious that Danny Simpson, while young and sometimes nervy is a far better option, than the likes of James Perch and Ryan Taylor. In the middle of defence you’d guess that it will be our new captain, Fabricio Coloccini, but between Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson it really is a hard call. I personally thought that Williamson was superb last season and is a competent player who reads the game very well. Unfortunately for him Taylor came into a great run of form and scored goals which Willo couldn’t manage. For me that would be the deciding factor. Left-back all depends on whether or not Jose Enrique stays and to be honest… I think he will … The lack of interest in him that is concrete speaks volumes.
Midfield – I am relishing next season purely because our strength in depth in midfield will draw envious glances from elsewhere. For me it’s going to be Cheik Tiote and Yohan Cabaye in the middle. The power and presence of Tiote combined with calm and technical Cabaye is something that will hopefully compliment each other.
Now this is the hardest call – Wingers. I really think that Joey Barton should be on the right as he is most effective there and will provide great service for the attackers. I’d then put Marveaux on the left. This wasn’t an easy choice as I think Jonas is underrated. He really is a maverick and can be a power tool on the wing. With the likes of Dan Gosling, Danny Guthrie and Shane Ferguson all on the bench we will have a lot more flair and pace in this midfield.
Strikers– As Hatem Ben Arfa’s shirt would suggest he seems destined to play the No10 role. I think he will be superb there. He played there at Lyon and was so dangerous with Karim Benzema and with him playing off Demba Ba it would be clinical partnership! With Shola Ameobi, Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands on the bench we haven’t got any game changers… Which I admit is a major worry
So my team is a sort of 4-2-2-1-1
Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Jose Enrique; Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote; Joey Barton, Sylvain Marveaux; Hatem Ben Arfa, Demba Ba.
Which would give us a potential bench of: Steve Harper, Mike Williamson, Shane Ferguson, Dan Gosling, Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best, Shola Ameobi.
I think that is a force to be reckoned with… However it becomes painstakingly obvious we need a striker or two and cover at right back.
What do you think?
Thanks to Liam Southern Toon for giving us something that isn’t related to money or transfer activity to ponder!