After a slow and sluggish start to our summer rebuild, Rafa Benitez has now assigned five new recruits to his Premier League project, and whilst more will undoubtedly arrive, I have one niggling concern with those we have brought in so far – their age/experience.
Mikel Merino, Jacob Murphy and Javier Manquillo – three promising young players with potential to improve, but at 21, 22 and 23, they lack experience and the Premier League know-how our squad severely lacks.
Then there’s Florian Lejeune and Christian Atsu. At 26 and 25 respectively, the pair are at good ages, but it must be said that they too lack any real top flight experience, despite forgettable ‘stints’ at Manchester City and Chelsea.
For the record, I have been mightily impressed by Lejeune over pre-season, and am becoming increasingly confident that he will be a hit, but as we’ve learnt with the likes of Mapou Yanga Mbiwa and Jean Alain Boumsong, foreign imports do bring that element of risk.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for signing players for the future and scouring the European market for bargain buys – there’s every chance the likes of Murphy, Lejeune and Merino turn out to be future stars at the club – but we need players for now, and it’s fair to say that not one of our five summer signings have any proven track record in the English top flight.
Premier League experience is undoubtedly lacking in our squad, with just five players with over 100 Premier League appearances (Diame, Krul, Colback, Clark and Shelvey), and it will be argued that only two of those are players you’d want starting against Spurs in the season opener.
To summarise, i’m quite content with some of our signings thus far, however I am hoping to see Benitez bring in some senior figures and players with some Premier League experience in the weeks to come – we can not afford to take a leap of faith next season in such a defining period for the club.
The addition of some experienced heads, Premier League know-how and proven quality would go down a treat – but given our limited resources and reliance on player sales, signing the above is easier said than done – especially in this day and age.
Mitrovic 22 pic.twitter.com/Vd80CjP0kf
— NUFC Gallowgate (@NUFCgallowgate) July 27, 2017