What is the priority now? A striker or a defender?

Padew for England?

Should Pardew be looking at defence or attack?
Much noise was made over the summer about our failure to bring in a new striker.

Criticism reigned supreme, and rightly so. From fans to Alan Pardew, each took a turn to swipe at the man in charge of overseeing transfer deals at the club. It’s been eight months since Andy Carroll left for Liverpool and here we are, still, without a replacement for our now departed No9.

However, on reflection, there may well be a new priority that has emerged from the aftermath of our failure to land a striker. I’m not saying that all of a sudden we don’t need one, but I do think that the area where we most need to strengthen has shifted from attack to defence and that the club should now be focussing on strengthening our defence ahead of our attack.

We are wafer thin in defence. That fact can’t be denied. We are especially vulnerable at the moment with the loss of Mike Williamson to injury. There is not a cat in hell’s chance of him getting in the first team at the moment, but his absence does take away the option of some much needed backup in the central area of defence. Still, there is always James Perch…

Then you look at our full-back options. Of course we’ve signed Davide Santon who could prove to be a real coup for us, and of course the added bonus is that he can play on both sides of the defence and is naturally two footed, unlike myself who used to use my left leg for standing only when playing football.

In essence Santon will be able to cover both full-back positions if needed, but it’s almost a certainty that he will be utilised at left-back. After all he was the man brought in to replace Jose Enrique.

Behind that we have the option of playing Ryan Taylor at left-back, which doesn’t fill me with confidence if truth be told. I’m a bit wary of criticising Ryan Taylor as he has been part of a defence that is currently the meanest in the division, but I genuinely don’t believe that he can play a lasting roll at left-back. When Santon returns to fitness Taylor will find himself out of the team.

Then we have right-back with Danny Simpson occupying the shirt at the moment. Beyond that we have James Perch and perhaps an ousted Ryan Taylor. A number of options in fairness although they aren’t the best we can hope for in my opinion.

Compare that to our attack where we have Demba Ba finding his feet and Leon Best who has scored the goals as well as attacking midfielder such as Hatem Ben Arfa yet to come into the fold. Short of options maybe, but certainly not as bad as worrying about the loss of one defender. Remember, whilst they aren’t the best we also have Shola, Lovenkrands and Nile Ranger waiting in the wings. Well, maybe not the last one in that trio…

So where do we go from here? To me this squad is one or two players away from having real depth from front to back and all it would take is a minimum of two players to achieve that. One is still a striker of note, and the other is a defender capable of covering a couple of positions. Which one would place the priority on though?

I really wanted us to get that striker over the summer, but now my opinion has shifted and I would like us to get a defender over the line first and foremost. Someone in the mould of Liam Ridgewell or Erik Pieters would be ideal as both can play left-back and in central defence. Problem solved.

That would allow us to play Davide Santon at right-back, Pieters or Ridgewell or whoever at left-back with the central defenders remaining as they are now. The big plus being that Ridgewell, Pieters or whoever could cover in the middle, and with Santon being able to cover both sides we could bring Danny Simpson back into the line-up. Doesn’t that sound much better?

Of course it’s all speculative as we just don’t know what is going to happen. Rumour has it that the NUFC scouts are out and about already looking at targets for January although I’d hope that they aren’t as bad as some of ours fans and haven’t become fixated on this striker that caused such a hoo-haa over the summer.

The easy answer is to suggest that we go for both a striker and a defender. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t. What I am trying to work out is what the most important position to strengthen at the moment is?

To me the priority should now be the defence, but what do you think it should be?

36 thoughts on “What is the priority now? A striker or a defender?

  1. I said during the window I wanted defenders. I think we need another 2, a quality CB, better than Saylor/Willo, and then a quality LB that can also fill in at CB, like Pieters maybe. I suspect they were trying to offload a striker before we got another in, which is certainly where I think we need to be, esp with Sameobi’s emergence. IF we go in hard and early in Jan, we will be well set to kick on. We will get by until then hopefully, with Willo back soon for the bench and we are good.


  2. Agree the defence id the priority imo. I just don’t think Simpson raylor or Williamson are good enough for 1st team. I know that is probably harsh in terms of Williamson as he has rarely let us down but for us moving forward he probably could be replaced


  3. not harsh at all – Williamson is an accident waiting to happen and was starting to get found out in the 2nd half of last season… remember Anfield?

    I’d agree that the way things look right now – a quality defender able to play at both CB or FB should be the priority. The thought of Perch or Willo starting in the Prem scares the crap out of me…..

    Also, I’m hoping that Tavernier will progress to the point that he’ll displace Simpson at some point this season


  4. Interesting this start to the season couldn’t be any better really jonas signs on … Ideally would prefer defender and striker as ba away for African nations so could be tricky but a loan deal striker and permenant deal for a defender would be great


  5. Definitely defenders.

    Cover at both CB and LB.

    Pieters can do both, if we can only afford one player I’d go for him.
    Switch Santon to RB.

    Agree about Willo.

    Raylor is a midfielder and should be applauded for the great job he’s done out of position.

    Not sure about the criticism Simpson gets.
    He doesn’t let many crosses or shots get across.
    He doesn’t dive in and give a lot of free-kicks or penalties away.
    He is facing some of the best and fastest wingers in the world.
    Our defence has been solid.
    The times we have been under-pressure it was the fault of the strikers and mid-field not closing down or being sloppy.


  6. Maybe try and get Tevez on loan for 6 months???? He knows Pardew from his West Ham days!!!!! Surely he would be our ultimate #9!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  7. geoff777..are u watching him..we have not been under pressure apart from qpr…simpson and taylor cockups have cost us goals and for bad misses from some of the games let them off..did u not watch blackburn…3 times he let the marker go at the back post..never looked and he got in..we were in total control and he could have cost us…


  8. Delighted that jonas has signed an extention, hope Colo is next. Pieters is the ideal man for defence can play LB and CB. Surely we can afford him. Then a fast mobile striker to complement the big lads, job done. I for one am astounded by the start to the season but give credit where it is due they have got the points on the board.


  9. I have also said for a while that we need a specialist lb to replace Jose. Santon is very versatile and will be used as both lb and rb ESP with Simpson having a strangle hold of rb at mo through sheer lack of competition for his spot. Pieters has to be our man in January.
    The strikers no longer seem a big deal. Give number 9 to Arfa I say.
    On the subject of defenders again…. I think Williamson is ok, I like the fella.


  10. Scottie….. U godda be kidding… Tevez…. I would not want that wanker ever in one of our hallowed shirts. The bloke is trouble in a way that would ruin our dressing room. Is your post a joke and I have not picked up on it????


  11. Besty is still not up to the quality of those around him – as much as I like the kid. He is an able deputy but the past two games he has got himself into excellent positions and yet missed several chances… eventually that will start costing us.


  12. @10. Yes it is irony that most of the blogs last month were slating the management and board for not spending £30m on a striker and now we are doing well with the guys we already have!! Like a lot of people I do think Ben Arfa should have the #9 and give him the chance to play in the free role behind the striker.


  13. Mentioned it on the previous thread.

    For me our biggest weakness at the moment in in the fullback area.

    Like many have suggested, I like the idea of getting Pieters, because he can play on the left and in the centre.

    Ideally we’d get both a quality defender and a quality striker, but I know thats a lot to ask of this chairman without anyone being offloaded first.


  14. @Asim

    Not been under-pressure … Arsenal, Mackems (1st half), Fulham (1st half), Scunthorpe (1st half).

    Selective memory is wonderful.
    He’s also saved goals off the line and thrown his body in to get some amazing blocks.

    It’s not like we’re leaking goals.
    All four defenders need patting on the back.


  15. The players I feel are the weakest links in our first team squad are:

    1 Shola Ameobi, 2 Danny Simpson, 3 Ryan Taylor. They are good squad players (maybe not Shola) but none of them merit a first team place from the evidence so far.


  16. Willo is good cover (I like the bloke too) and Saylor has come a long way. He’s saved our skin on a few occasions this season. If he can carry on with the goal scoring form he had at the end of last season, I’d be over the moon.

    Pieters wouldl sem the ideal choice and that CB/LB cover is definitely the priority.

    I don’t worry too much about the strikers; if we lose one of Best or Ba, we can always play with one up front. With midfielders like Ben Arfa or Vuckic that can play that withdrawn striker role, we really needn’t panic. Pretty sure Vuckic can play up front as well. Maybe he can be transformed into a striker? If he’s the player everyone says he is, and he certaainly appears to be that, I wonder if it would be possible to see him in the hallowed number 9…


  17. With d ba away in january and february and in my opinion l best will not continue at his current scoring form and shola and lovenkrands arent good enough , and we dont know how ben arfa will recover from his injury or if he will give us a goal return in the premier league my answer is a striker 100% we have no goalscoring option on the bench and cant rely on ba when he is in africa !
    Positives, we may sign a defender and a striker !, i think our midfield will take the presure of with cabaye obertan spidey and hopefully benarfa getting a few goals each and both of our centre halves have an eye for goal .
    Negatives,we may see players sold to bring players in to turn a profit as has been the case in most of ashleys transfer windows so may not see an improvement infact may not see a defender or striker if were still doing well !
    I would like to see santon lb colo cb staylorcb rtaylorrb with simpson williamson and perch as cover , i think rtaylor deseves a chance on the right as hes done such a great job on the left not to mention his free kicks .


  18. good point about Raylor and his free kicks, although lets not forget that there has only been two of them in three seasons…

    However he does give us more of a threat than Simpson in terms of attack. Perhaps give him a go at right back?


  19. hes not a brilliant defender but gives you much more pushing on and gives 100% in the past jose and spidey combined exelently in taking turns defending and attacking but we were very one sided then now we have two wingers and more options in midfield its good to see your fullbacks pushing on scaring defences . hes had a bit of a run in the team and got two free kicks this season i dont think 5 or 6 is out of the question , what more could you ask from a defender !


  20. This is a continuous process of improvement; it’s just been a while since it got this hard to work out the weakest spot to target. While we had huge holes in our squad it was obvious, but now we’re looking for relatively small differences in ability, e.g. Marveaux vs Obertan vs Jonas.

    It is easier with defence, though. I would say that while Williamson has been a success in terms of doing what we bought him for and being amazing value for money, I’m yet to be convinced that he’s top-10 material. He may be, and we shouldn’t rush to write him off. Then there’s another drop to Perch and Kadar – both good (if Perch’s last appearance was anything to go by) but you’d not be comfortable with them coming off the bench against Chelski.

    This is a nice problem…


  21. Titus been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and possession of a class a drug.

    Is Rohipnol a Class A drug these days? 😆

    She said no Titus
    She said no
    She said no Titus
    She said no

    😆 😆 😆


  22. hmm. Defence would seem a priority. Simpson doesnt offer much attacking/crossing, so could use a slight upgrade there either by playing santon and buy a lb or a new rb. Central defence i have mentioned before that i would like a man mountain who can head away everything(we are not great at headed clearences). A new small striker wouldnt be too shabby either, seeing as ba will be off in february.


  23. Davies, I think we could definitely groom Vuckic to be a top striker! He has the movement and eye for goal necessary for it. I think he just really enjoys running at people, and can’t do it as much when up top. Although look at what Suarez does for Liverpool!

    I’d say go for it in January when Ba is away


  24. Hitman – It’s this bit that cracks me up 😆

    “while full-back Ryan Taylor found himself singled out and ambushed by three members of staff after the whistle was blown to finish one of the games.”

    Raylor is Private Pile 😆


  25. Toonsy – perhaps someone should explain to Titus that it’s HER that’s supposed to take the Rohipnol….

    It does explain some of his performances, eh.


  26. I think that the defence is defo the priority as long as our strikers keep doing the business between now and January.

    Erik Pieters has to be the main target for January, he can play at LB and CB and they are still the main areas of concern in my opinion. I’d like to see us bring in 2-3 players in January but if we only bring in one and its Pieters id be happy enough.

    The other players id like to see us bring in would be James Tomkins (CB, RB) and a striker, Would a Sneaky bid for Kalou from Chelsea be worth a try?


  27. With the current two of “B’s” Best and Ba, plus our large supply of midfielders who due to their versatility can fill the role as goalscorers, it’s obvious our defense that needs strengthening with some quality in depth, at the very least two decent defenders who if possible can play across the back four.
    Bassong comes to mind, a versatile player who is presently on the bench at Spurs and could probably be bought for a reduced price.
    As for those we have, neither Williamson or Raylor inspire any confidence, though i like Perch, another versatile player who is steadily improving, could be another Simpson, if given the opportunity .
    But then what do i know ?


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