Well we are in the final stretch of the window having so far signed a pacey winger, a midfielder with an eye for a pass and a French guy that may or may not be any good. So what can we expect in the next 35 hours?
In the last few days there have been numerous reports linking us to both a left back and a striker.
For the left back the initial report was that we had approached Gary Neville’s Valencia with a view to taking their tough tackling twice capped 29-year-old Argentine Lucas Orban on loan. That rumour quickly subsided with the news we were on the verge of securing the services of Brazilian born but Italian and Spanish eligible Guilherme Siqueira from Atletico Madrid. I was concerned about this one because be is described as an attacking full back, better going forward than back. I feel our back line is screaming out for a solid presence and with Townsend able to do the attacking on the left, it makes sense for us to employ a ‘limited’ full back concentrating on protecting our third of the pitch.
Now it transpires Valencia are about to scoop up Siqueira on a permanent deal, so I’d not be suprised if it was just the media putting 2 and 2 together and it was always Orban that we were going to sign. Watch this space. We had a successful Spanish left back in Jose Enrique not so long ago, but he did take a long while to warm up, which is always a concern with overseas purchases…
Up front we have been heavily linked to Loic Remy, Saido Berahino, Seydou Doumbia and Bafetimbi Gomis.
I won’t bore you with the specific stats but in terms of records in the PL, Gomis contributes a goal or assist every 3 games. At 30-years-old I don’t feel he is the man for us. His record this year mirrors Alexander Mitrovic’s almost exactly in terms of direct goal contribution, chances created, attacking moves etc with Gomis winning more one-to-one challenges.We need a significant improvement in our front line and Gomis does not fit the bill.
Seydou is an Ivorian with an impressive record in Russia, who can play up front or as an inside forward on either flank. If he comes in on loan, then we have little to lose – but he is unproven in the best leagues and is somewhat of a journeyman – again I’m not convinced.
So that leaves Remy and Berahino. Both of these players have directly contributed 1 goal every 2 games so far in their time in the English top flight. That makes them by far the better of the prospects currently available and we should move Heaven and Earth to secure one of them if we are serious about doing all we can to avoid the drop.
At 29, Remy would want a long contract as it’s likely to be his last big pay day. We know what he can do from his previous time with us, but with Leicester keen on him, we stand little chance of securing his services given their position in the league. I’d also be cautious about pinning our hopes on a man that has a track record of spurning us.
So that leaves Saido Berahino as the only realistic, available player capable of immediately significantly improving our front line. He is English, proven in the PL and only 22-years-old. It is rumoured we have offered in the region if £25m whilst the Baggies want in excess of £30m. Before I did my thorough homework on him, I though tbat price was steep given his questionable attitude this season. However, his stats are not in question and we don’t know what happened behind the scenes last summer. He might have been promised a move away only for West Brom to change the goalposts at the last minute. Who knows?
Andy Carroll was a young prospect that the Magpies managed to get £35m for several years ago way before this £5b TV deal was on the agenda. When you consider that and what is at stake for us this season, I’d say £30m for Berahino is actually a fair price and our board needs to cough up if they are serious about keeping this great club in the big time where it belongs.
Any of the other options are simply a cheap gamble….