In a summer that’s seen us linked with every CB under the sun – and some pretty poor ones at that – I am starting to wonder why we don’t look closer to home.
Who am I referring to? Florian Lejeune – and there are so many reasons why.
We have a plethora of CBs all capable of doing a job in The Premier. Fernandez, Lascelles, Schar, Clark and Dummett to name but five.
Throw in the fact that both Krafth and Hayden have also played capably at CB – not to mention the fact we have the extremely talented Kell Watts back from an impressive loan – do we need another one with Lejeune now back in the fray? It seems to me that we’re pretty well covered in that area at the moment and it’s not a priority.
Strong in the air, a good tackler, not a speed merchant but not a slouch either and definitely someone that is comfortable on the ball especially bringing it out of defence. He looked a class act under Everton’s new manager and a first choice until he picked up those injuries.
It was those injuries that meant Bruce not giving him a chance and packing him off to Alaves for a season. The reason given was that he needed game time and a chance to get over his injuries. Well, he got both those things and did very well by all accounts despite Alaves having a poor season. Lejeune was an automatic choice for the Spanish strugglers and received plenty of plaudits.
So, with all those CBs and Lejeune back as well, why does there appear to be a scramble to sign a new CB? When we have a reported budget of just £10m and so many other weak areas in need of strengthening, I don’t really get it.
When the news broke that we were close to a breakthrough on Kristoffer Ajer from Celtic I questioned the move. Yes, when it was reported at £8m it seemed a decent deal. However, I gather this one is now dead in the water with the player reputedly on his way to Brentford for £13.5m. We may well have dodged a bullet there especially with having Lejeune around. The rumour is that he’s not physical enough for The Premier, but then is the unproven Ajer?
For me, Lejeune has got a full season under his belt after bad injuries, so he could genuinely be ‘like a new signing’ if Bruce gives him the second chance he deserves in pre-season. A tedious line and one that angers supporters in an attempt to make up for the lack of arrivals, but most of SJP thought Lejeune looked a class act before Bruce and rotten luck arrived.
If he does come through pre-season amid all the talk of us having a tiny budget, couldn’t we save a bit of money in that department and put spare cash towards other more important areas like another striker?
I can’t see any rhyme nor reason why we wouldn’t at least explore this possibility as it could easily be another area covered with his return.