The one player that left over the summer that I was really really gutted about was Jose Enrique.
Don’t get me wrong, I was prepared for him leaving way back in last January. Something just didn’t sit right about the whole thing and, in truth, he never really looked interested in the second half of the season and became a liability. His mind was elsewhere.
Inevitably he left, for Liverpool, and with that he tore a huge whole in our left side. Enrique is a cracking player and I honestly thought that we’d struggle to replace him with a player of similar quality. Physically strong and willing to attack and link up with Jonas Gutierrez, Enrique was an important player for us despite his flaws – mainly trying to play his way out of trouble repeatedly and switching off.
This is where Davide Santon comes in to play. The Italian is proving to be more than an able replacement for the Spaniard, and if early signs are anything to go by then we have a player who is actually better that Jose Enrique potentially. It’s early days I know, but the signs from the former Inter Milan youngster are promising to say the least.
Strong in the tackle, defensively aware, sound in possession with an eye for a pass and a penchant for bombing forward, Santon looks to be a cracking player. He has certainly took to the Premier League better than Jose Enrique did in my opinion and has fixed the hole in our left side that was left by the Spaniard.
Now don’t get me wrong, Ryan Taylor did well on the left, but Santon is a much better player and left-back has become a position that I no longer panic about. It was a shame to lose Jose as he grew with us, but in the end he wanted to go so from our perspective we needed to replace him with a player of equal quality – a tough ask!
A tough ask made easy by Davide Santon, who is setting about rebuilding that once prodigious reputation he had as a youngster and it’s with thanks to careful man management from Alan Pardew and a determination from the player to do well that the Italian has stepped into the team and filled Jose’s boots so seamlessly.
Keep it up Davide!