Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Strikers in, strikers out

Ched Evans is quoted in The Sun as saying he might want out:
I expect to play in the first team, otherwise there would be no point in being here.
I'd like to find the original context for these (e-mail me if you know it), they sound rather out of context.

And we're linked with two strikers today: Lukas Podolski of Bayern Munich and Ronaldo (of no fixed club). The Podolski link seems like a rather plausible piece of creative journalism (we bid for him in January, he wants a move, we now have money for strikers), the Ronaldo link is more likely, even if as a move it is now rather pointless (we already have our 'superstar' and don't need to look at only free agents).

But it seems that we will move for a centre forward in January. Compared to all of our other deadline day targets: Berbatov, Gomez, Villa, van Nistelrooy, Torres and Huntelaar, Robinho is distinct in not being a Number 9. Even before Magical Monday we had tried for Roque Santa Cruz and Diego Milito, so this is something Hughes was taking seriously. I'm not sure Robinho has the physique or the tenacity to lead the line in the Premier League, so this issue remains unresolved.

Neither Benjani nor Vassell have the quality for the step up we're trying to make, and, as much as I love him, no trust can be put in Bozhinov's fitness. Caicedo looks to be on his way, leaving us with Jô, Sturridge and Evans. Given Evans' above comments (this all changes if they do not represent his wishes), there is an opening for one more top class centre forward.

Of the Big Four, most have three or four centre forwards. Arsenal have Eduardo, Adebayor, van Persie and Bendtner, United have Berbatov, Rooney and Tevez, Liverpool have Torres, Keane, Ngog and Kuyt (who mainly plays out wide), and Chelsea have only Drogba and Anelka (plus, of course, Number 9 Franco di Santo). So lots of centre forwards is not a pre-requisite of success, and in fact, having three or four good ones seems to be the best option.

I don't favour the al-Fahim approach to transfers (neither, presumably, does Hughes and neither, inshallah, does Sheikh Mansour), but if we are to spend big in January, a centre forward to partner (at the very least) Jô and Sturridge would be ideal.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Hmm. Struggling to find any Ched quote that says specifically what The Sun have quoted. Big surprise.