Thursday, 20 May 2010

What we need

I should have done this a while ago but just to briefly sketch out what I think we need this summer, in order of descending priority:
  • A creative, goal scoring midfielder. It's one area where we have been seriously lacking compared to last season, with the decline of Stephen Ireland and no one to take his place. Of course our 4-2-4 formation requires our two central midfielders to play fairly cautiously, but I think that our use of this system is itself a function of paucity of options. Too often last season we looked one or two dimensional - firing the ball out to the wide men, or hoping that Carlos Tévez could conjure something up himself, without having any real creative presence. We could sit tight and hope that Stephen Ireland becomes the player he was threatening to be in 2008/09, but with all that's riding on our 2010/11 campaign I think we will invest here. The names are familiar by now: James Milner, Marek Hamsik, Steven Gerrard, Mesut Özil, but I'm sure this is the number one priority of the Player Acquisition Group.
  • A competent left back. I'm afraid I don't think Wayne Bridge is up to it. Coming to City from a fairly successful Premier League career he should not have needed time to bed in. And so the fact that, after eighteen months in blue, he still can't really tackle or cross that well can only be a matter of concern. I know we're not going to get Patrice Evra or Ashley Cole - we may have to look abroad to upgrade - but I'm sure Mancini knows of someone in Serie A or elsewhere who can do this better than Bridge. There's talk of signing David Luiz and, exciting as that is, I'd rather have a specialist.
  • A better partner for Tévez. As I've kept on saying all season, I don't think Emmanuel Adebayor is a particularly good partner for Carlos Tévez. His hold up and link up play is patchy, he drifts in and out of the game, he gets literally sidetracked and starts popping up in wide positions. That's not to say I don't think he has his uses, but I do think we need someone who can bring the best out of our best player. Someone who can bring the best out of Tévez is Roque Santa Cruz, who is a much better partner, such is the quality of his hold-up play (c.f. Craven Cottage, March 2010), but his body cannot be relied upon. I don't know what the answer is to this - I think Mancini thinks it is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but expect to see the usual names linked: Edin Dzeko, Óscar Cardozo etc etc.
  • Cover across the defence. I don't think we can improve on Micah Richards and Pablo Zabaleta, with only Europa League football to tempt players with, but I do sometimes feel we could do with a third option given Zabaleta's occasional midfield deployment and Micah Richards' fitness issues. Preferably someone who can play at centre back, too, given our patchy record there last season. This is solved entirely by Jérôme Boateng, who can play right back and centre back, thus relegating this to the bottom of the priority list.


lewis.wainwright said...

Someone who can play at right back and centre back, and was increasingly solid when played...sounds like a nedum onuoha to me...

jfell said...

Top of the list should have been a right back. Cant believe it's not even on your list! I can understand why the headline story everywhere is a creative midfielder but scoring goals was not where was were lacking last season.

Danny Pugsley said...

@jfell - Not overall but in crucial games (United, Arsenal and Tottenham) we came up short and never looked like we threatened a goal.

We do need that more dynamic option in midfield who is capable of adding 10 goals a season.

As good an addition Milner would be, I'm not sure he is necessarily the answer for that role.

longwayfromhome said...

@Danny_Pugsley Your comment on Milner is backed up by the fact he scored no goals and had no assists against the Sky 4 last Season.

@TLDORC Your wrong about Ade ;)

@nooneinparticular - is it not the defensive setup which needs to be more secure to allow either a less rigid midfield pairing or more attacking fullbacks? Lescott and Toure have not worked (though Lescott could well be a left back option) so Luiz and Boateng should be the highest priority imo.