Well it’s over, for a few months anyway. The transfer deadline went at 11pm last night, and along with it went our chances of bolstering the squad further.
Of course the main bone of contention is going to be the fact that we didn’t bring in a striker. It’s been eight months since we’ve needed a striker. Granted we have Demba Ba but I’d have liked us to get someone else in.
I just didn’t buy that Ruiz story from moment one if truth be told. From the 11th hour bid to the helicopter it just didn’t sound right. It smacks of trying to look busy. In fact I liken it to people who miss my coach. They’ll protest and complain that they were there waiting on time when they actually weren’t. They were late. That is why they aren’t on my vehicle being driven to wherever they are going away to.
Getting a striker in would have made this window better than expected. In fact if we’d have got in Liam Ridgewell aswell then I’d have been a very happy man. Naturally it didn’t happen and now we are left to reflect upon what might have been.
I’ve cooled down a little bit now. Last night I was angry that we didn’t get said striker in. In fact a lot of people are still unhappy that we didn’t get said striker in. However it’s worth remembering what we have brought in as, aside from the lack of a striker, I don’t think we’ve done too badly at all.
Of course people will point towards the fact that we’ve had to replace the likes of Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan and Jose Enrique this transfer window, but I fell that we’ve done a decent job of that. On paper at least. Time will be the ultimate judge of that.
Yohan Cabaye looks like a real player whilst we’ve added genuine width in the form of Sylvain Marveaux and Gabriel Obertan. Obviously we have Demba Ba who could be a real asset providing he can recapture the goalscoring form that he has shown throughout his career, and we have Davide Santon who could turn out to be a cracking player for us. He certainly has the potential to be up there with Jose Enrique.
Add to that the additions of Rob Elliot and Mehdi Abeid as backup and promising youth respectively and I feel that we’ve replaced what we’ve lost with, in some cases, better players whilst adding depth to certain areas such as the wings. How long has it been since we’ve had four options that can interchange and play on each wing?
However there are certain areas where we have just done the bare minimum. Whilst Santon can be a top player for us he remains the only recognised option at left-back. I’m sorry, and I commend his effort, but Ryan Taylor is not a left-back. We’re also short in the centre of defence, especially with Mike Williamson out injured. Fingers crossed that nothing happens to Fabricio Coloccini or Steven Taylor in the next couple of months.
The midfield is generally alright. I haven’t seen many people criticise it and it’s generally perceived to be our strongest area on the pitch. Pretty impressed with it if truth be told.
Up front is another area where we are light. Demba Ba must now come good whilst Leon Best will see more chances come his way. Shola is just Shola and will be here until the end of time frustrating and delighting in less than equal measures. Then we have Peter Lovenkrands and Nile Ranger who, for varying reasons, should be nowhere near the first team. We are not light on numbers up front – it’s quality we are low on.
I’m going to throw something out there. Would people have been happy to spend a fair bit of money on a striker who is maybe our 5th, 6th, 7th choice and is not much better than what we have? Personally I wouldn’t as I want a decent striker in. You can debate the reason as to why we failed to bring one in all you like, but I’d much prefer it if we got someone in because they would improve the team and not just for the sake of getting someone in.
The problem I have is that we have drawn a blank in bringing in A.N.Other striker who would improve the team.
I can’t criticise the deals that we have done. Quite frankly we’ve brought shrewdly and smartly and have managed to bring in some real quality players with high pedigree. We’ve also managed to keep hold of players like Cheik Tiote and Fabricio Coloccini which is an improvement on previous transfer deadline days. For that I say well done.
What I can criticise is the lack of a striker. In January there was the excuse of not having enough time to recruit after the 11th hour sale of Andy Carroll. Fair enough. Time can be a great barrier.
This time it’s different. We’ve had since then to line up and recruit a striker and we’ve failed to do so. One signing would have been the difference between appeasement and angst and, yet again, it didn’t materialise.
So yes, we were a striker short of a good transfer window.