Spring has sprung. The season is over. 13th place, 45 pts on the board and it hasn’t taken long or takeover talk to re-emerge.
Everything looks rosy. So what could possibly go wrong. Other than Rafa
walking and another potential takeover collapsing.
Yes, we’ve heard all the lies about spending money and links to
£40m players, and Rafa saying it costs at least £30m for game changers,
which is a bit conservative in my opinion.
Darren Jeory has already written an article on the freebies available. Eric shared a Chronically bad article whereby some managerial game sold all our best players and bought rubbish, so I thought Transfermarkt (TM) can do better.
My criteria is young players for sell on value if we get it wrong. Decent league, standout performer. This is what I came up with.
We are actually overstocked in this department, with Rob Elliot not even
registered in the squad. We have Dubravka, with Woodman and Harker
coming through and Darlow as back-up. According to TM selling Elliot
should raise £1m.
Again, if we are playing 3 at the back we are overstocked. Lascelles, Lejeune, Schar, Dummett and Fernandez are all decent, so we could sell Clark who TM values at £5m.
He would be replaced in the squad by Stefan O’Connor who is 22 and in our under 23s.
Fullbacks & Wingbacks
Our first problem position. In truth we don’t have anybody that would be
coveted by a top 6 team. Barreca can go back to Italy, Lazaar is worth £1m apparently. If we assume that Ritchie is going to stay for a season at LWB, at least 1 new LWB is needed and TM would suggest Angelino (22) with 1 goal and 11 assists in 42 appearances for PSV for £11m.
At RWB I would have sold Manquillo and kept Yedlin, but after the last few games I am not so sure. Yedlin is worth £7m, Manquillo £4m. And we have young Jamie Sterry coming through.
So who has TM got to offer us. Wilson Manafa (24) is a right wing back with 3 goals and 5 assists in 32 appearances for Porto for £3m.
I’d take Manafa and sell Yedlin. This means our defence has cost £14m and we have recovered £14m from sales.
We need one defensive and one more attacking. The problem is who stays
and who goes. I’ll assume we keep Ki and Longstaff, which is not too
bad. We could lose Shelvey, Hayden and Diame, which is a bit of a
problem. Diame would be on a free, and Hayden is valued at £6m (although likely to fetch much more) with Shelvey at £13m. Henri Saivet £1m and Jack Colback for £2m. So £22m plus available in theory.
Defensive midfield is probably the hardest to search meaningfully on TM,
however, a few names came up.
I thought about cheating and using Erras with whom we were recently linked. However, I have chosen Tomas Soucek from Slavia Prague.
A 24 year old Czech international with 18 caps he has 15 goals and 8 assists from 45 appearances this season. A tall lad, versatile and valued at £6m.
For attacking midfield I’m pushing the boat out a bit. Florian Neuhaus is 22 has played for the German under 21s and has 35 appearances for Borussia Munchengladbach, with 5 goals and 11 assists.
At £22m he has gone up since I first researched him.
My back up would be Chiquinho who being Portuguese would probably get swallowed up by Wolves. But with 10 goals and 8 assists in 37 games for Moreirense in the Portugese league he is 23 and valued by TM at £3m.
So our Midfield could be really strengthened for £28m having recovered
£22m. Which brings us to the front 3.
With Kenedy going back to Chelsea, we have Atsu (£5m), Aarons (£0.5m), Jacob Murphy (£6m), all of whom can go for me. Which means we only have Almiron and Perez.
So I present you with Theo Bongonda from Waregem in Belgium. At 23 and with 13 goals and 12 assists in 37 games this left winger is a snip at £3m.
On the right may I present Robert Skov from FC Copenhagen who has 30 goals and 9 assists in 46 games. £5m anybody? A profit. Don’t tell Mike.
We also have Victor Fernandez (LW) coming through. A small profit of £3m.
We keep Muto obviously. Joselu is valued at £3.6m, which I round down as
I have with all the other sales. I’ve rounded up the purchases. I’m tempted to replace him with Sturridge on a free, but that is not using TM, and he hasn’t played for a season.
Albian Ajeti (22) from Basel has 19 goals and 11 assists in 40 games has 8 caps for Switzerland and at £7m would be decent competition with Muto for the starting spot.
If we don’t get Rondon, who TM value at £14m then we have to replace him. We will be selling Dwight Gayle who TM values at £10m – however it’s said our valuation is closer to £20m.
I know Joe Linton, who is not from Rochdale but Hoffenheim is valued at £35m and has been rumoured, but really? My suggestion would be Wesley from Club Brugge – a player I’ve been keen to see us sign before recent reports confirmed our interest.
He’s only 22 and valued at £17m, but has 17 goals and 10 assists from 46
appearance last season. He’s a big lad at 1.91m tall and is an affordable option. That’s £24m spent and only £13m in.
In summary our defensive improvements would cost us nothing, our midfield £6m and our attack, £8m. £14m for a squad overhaul. 16 out; of which 6 were out on loan (Lazaar, Colback, Saivet, Aarons, Murphy, and Gayle).
8 in: Angelino, Manafa, Soucek, Neuhaus, Bongonda, Skov,
Ajeti and Wesley. All of whom will strengthen our squad and get more minutes than the ones they are replacing.
This is of course all nonsense, but it’s quality nonsense, unlike the
rubbish you read in the papers.