As mentioned in my previous article, one of the dominating issues during the summer, was our pursuit of a #9 or a ‘World Class’ striker if you like.
Regardless of how you prefer to define it, our pursuit was less than fruitful as no such player was signed in the end. Much to the annoyance of the fan base and, seemingly, the manager.
Seven games into the new season, with our ‘new’ team playing arguably some of the best football we have seen at our club for years, I’ve started to wonder whether or not it’s world class striker that we really want?
I am not asking the question, because I have no doubt that a 20 goal a season kind of striker would be warmly welcomed by the majority of fans. The reason behind this is because I have a feeling that this kind of player wouldn’t necessarily fit in too well at the moment.
I have been really impressed by the work-ethic and the togetherness of our current squad. As Shamrock touched upon in his previous article, the mentality of players like Peter Lovenkrands and Sylvain Marveaux is a reflection of a team that is all about the ‘team first and the individual second’ mentality.
Apart from Hatem Ben Arfa maybe, we do not have any ”star players” carrying big ego’s. The mentality in the NUFC dressing room seems to have changed a great deal since the departure of Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Jose Enrique, and if the early signs are anything to go by, the current dressing room has not only maintained the same strong winning mentality previously imposed by a few strong characters but on top of that is a much more homogene group of players. This is something I find particularly pleasing.
Therefore I believe that the kind of striker we should be looking to bring in should be in the same mould personality wise as our current crop of players. We should undoubtedly always be trying to get the best possible players signed, but I do believe, that we should have a very close look at the potential target’s personalities equally to their footballing qualities.
World Class players come with big personalities, or ego’s if you like, and at the moment I think that this is in no way what we need at the club.
I’ve seen a few suggestions saying that we should put in a loan bid for Carlos Tevez. Tongue in cheek it may be, but let’s take the obvious stumbling block, his wages, out of the equation for a second and just look at the player. His footballing qualities are undoubted, and he certainly warrants the description of a world class striker. Having him feeding of the creative passing of Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye, would certainly get ”bums off seats” (as Pardew says), but if we look at his personality, I find it hard to come up with any player I would rather stay well clear off than him.
As we all know, this is a transfer that would never come off anyway, but he gives a good example of the types of players I would be dreading to get on board as the previously mentioned togetherness and harmony of the dressing room could be negatively affected.
That brings me to our supposed transfer target Modibo Maiga. To most he is a complete unknown. So was Cheik Tiote of course, but the little we do know about Maiga would suggest to me that he too is a player that is best overlooked and left were he is. His actions towards his club, Sochaux, at the closing stages of the transfer window, were absolutely disgraceful. He was signed by the club only a year ago, and on the back of a good debut season and with a Premier League club sniffing around, he went on strike to force through a deal.
Imagine what would happen if we had signed him, and if he became an instant success in his first season here and the ‘bigger’ clubs come calling. Would he then treat us the same way as he treated Sochaux?
In short, and to round things up – I think the atmosphere at our club in general and in the dressing room in particular, is something anyone associated to the club should do everything in their powers to maintain.
Is a World Class striker really what we want? Not in my opinion. I’d much rather we found ourselves another talented, up and coming, hungry player who of course would add to the footballing quality of our team, but would also fit in with the current positivity and the camaraderie that is so refreshing for us fans to witness.
What do you think?
Thanks go to Funkness who sent this in for us to ponder. Do you agree though? Would a huge ego cause a problem? Or is part of being a football club also about being able to manage different types of personality?