Much of the talk this summer will be abut transfer rumours and squad strengthening, or even weakening if that is your particular train of thought.
However our squad can only be so big, and whilst people are quick to bemoan our light squad it’s also worth pointing out that we have a squad equal to the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and so on, in terms of size at least.
Our squad is not “small”, it is comparable with others and is larger than quite a few of them – remember, you can only have a 25 man squad these days. What we are lacking is a bit of quality in depth, which is what we need to focus on improving this summer.
The thing is, we need to move people out first before getting more in, and if the aim is to improve the quality within the squad then it will inevitably mean that some of the squad players or fringe players will have to move on. But which ones? Who should be in and who should be out of NUFC?
The easy ones to start with are the ones that are out of contract in the summer. Those being Danny Guthrie and Danny Simpson.
I believe he’ll stay. from everything I’ve read it’s nothing to do with wages or anything like that – they are agreed apparently. The issue, again apparently, is how those wages are paid. Of course every millionaire needs to budget accordingly…
Anyway, for me he is a keeper. He’s been an ever-present in a stunning season and has improved as the season has progressed. Even if there are better choices out there for right-back, he would still be a fantastic option for backup.
Another lad who has done well when called upon, but also another lad who is replaceable. I just think he wants first team football at this stage in his career and is good enough to get it elsewhere.
Beyond that we start to look at players who are going to be on the fringes and who have contracts. Players like Mike Williamson, James Perch, Leon Best and so on.
Perfectly capable of being a backup defender. Has been shaky at times this season but has also excelled in other games. I think we should keep hold of him to supplement our defensive strengthening rather than try and get rid only to have to find another player like him to take his place in the squad. With Williamson, Taylor, Coloccini and A.N.Other centre-back we’d have a reliable quartet in central defence.
Perch has never been as bad as some have made him out to be. Fans never really gave him a chance and errors in his early days didn’t help. However he has been splendid this season and has proven that he can perform for us. As long as we keep him away from the centre of defence I say keep him. He’s earned another go at it!
I am a Leon Best fan and think he is underrated. Shola has a new contract and then we have Demba Ba (at the moment) and Papiss Cisse and Best won’t get in ahead of those two. In my view we need someone a bit better for when our first choice strikers are away playing in Africa, but the problem is getting someone better who will be willing to sit on the bench in the meantime.
Of course these are only a few players and I’ve not covered all of them, because I want to see what you guys can come up with. I’ve also left out players like Ryan Taylor, who has not long signed a new contract as, to me anyway, that would seem to suggest that he is in the plans for the squad for the foreseeable future.
The bottom line is that the squad needs to improve it’s quality not quantity if we are to compete on a number of fronts, and to do that we need to be ruthless and shift on some of our squad players and replace them with better squad players.
The question is, which ones do you shift?