Thursday, 20 August 2009

Premier League experience

The thread which draws together our transfer policy in 2009 - both in the January and summer windows - has been the elevation of Premier League experience above all our considerations in the selection of targets. Of the ten players signed in 2009, all but Nigel de Jong have been playing in the Premier League for at least two years, and most of them for much longer.

Shay Given had made 354 EPL starts on his arrival at City, Gareth Barry 353, Wayne Bridge 226, Kolo Touré 203, Craig Bellamy 185, Adebayor 86, Tévez 68 and Santa Cruz 53. Yes, Nigel de Jong was brought in from abroad but only after we failed to sign Scott Parker (195 EPL starts). This summer we have also pursued John Terry (261) and Joleon Lescott (109). So the pattern is clear, as is the recent focus on specifically top six EPL experience and on trophies won.

These priorities, and their impact on the team, are discussed by Hughes in a recent interview:
"When you look at the amount of games our new players have played in the Premier League, it is huge," he said.

"That was something we were lacking as a team last year and, at times, we were found wanting because of it.

"We didn't have the experience of seeing games out and banging out results.

"We have improved that right down the spine of the team, which is always important, with Kolo at the back, Gaz in the middle of the park and Ade up front. It gives us a good solid middle to the team."
I think our ground out win at Ewood Park is already testimony to the success of this policy. Neither our soft centred 2008/09 side, nor Eriksson's 2007/08 team won at Ewood Park, nor at many other similar grounds. Of course, there's still thirty seven EPL games left but based on the evidence so far it looks like a sound plan.

3 comments:

( m ) said...

In argentina a guy make a version of wonderwall in cumbia style.
Can hear in myspace.com/negromoreno

Gorton Gruff said...

So with signing of Lescott or Upson target one would be reached - build on City strengths but overcome imbalance (in key positions and on left) and weakness (lack of winning mentality).

We now have a better balance (particularly with Barry on left), we have in most instances cover for each position and we have players with experience of winning (and not prone to panic - Sorry Dunney).

Phase 2:
a. Integrating 5/6 new players will take a season, therefore plan fewer signings and only if qualitatively improve existing player in that position (Ribery).
b. Plan progression of youth into team. Already started with slow integration of Weiss (Nedum/Hart still have chance to take top spot in next 2/3 years). Beginning to sign into Academy. Looking at transition from Academy into first team squad.
Who of Mee, Trippier, McGivern, Ball, Mak, Boyata, Tutte, Nimely is most likely to make it? Not Etuhu? Anyone else?

Main concern - who would replace Ireland or Barry if they received injury - should we look to Wesley Sneijder (why would he want to sit on the bench?) or go for youth (Marek Hamsik, 21, Slovak national team, surely pairing him on left and Vlad on right would make long term sense).

Rob said...

Judging by what ive seen of Etuhu and Ben Haim in previous matches I would of thought that Hughes was just playing them in these friendlys to intice other teams into taking them off our hands. Last night though I thought they both played quite well against a fairly good Barca side.Maybe Hughes has noticed some potential there and is trying to build up their confidence so as to try and integrate into our team.

It must be very intimidating for these two trying to get into such a strong side.If Hughes can show them that they too are worthy of a place in the team there performances will improve. Etuhu is still young without too much game time and Ben Haim when actually playing is quite a good cover player at CB.
If Hughes doesn't think a player has the right qualities he wont beat around the bush (Elano,Fernandes) but when Hughes sees some potential in a player he will give them his complete trust which will make them better players.