Monday, 12 January 2015

The maths – the possibilities

As recently posted, our speedy and continued pursuit of Wilfried Bony somewhat stole a march on my plans to release a January transfer window speculation Blog posting.


As indicated in that very same posting on 7th January – and hoping in my assumption about us signing Bony won’t tempt fate / scupper the deal - I’ve decided to press ahead and post a, ‘who might we sign next’ piece. Here goes…


First, the sums…

I was scratching my head at some recent articles that claimed, due to our F(not so)FP sanction / spending restrictions and our 2014 summer acquisitions, we only had £17M left to spend on players and, therefore, would have to sell [for the sum of at least £8M] in order to buy the Ivorian striker from Swansea City.
As there were numerous pieces both in newspapers as well as on the WEB all stating the same thing, I did start to doubt myself for a time as to whether we could include the promised £22.6M from Valencia for the sale of Alvaro Negredo which should, I understand at least, pop into our bank account on 1st June 2015.
Thankfully I’ve since read supporting evidence that we CAN, indeed, include the future incoming sale figure for ‘The Beast’ when balancing the books for UEFA’s officials to comb through at the end of 2014/2015. Good, and so…
…we know that we’ve agreed an initial fee with Swansea for Wilfried of £25M (with ‘add ons’ depending on performances and trophies won) and so by my reckoning (tap-tap-tap-tap-TAP) that leaves us with £14.6M to spend in January and not break our sanction restrictions for the season.
Allowing myself some MORE assumptions; I’d like to presuppose that in addition to off-loading Matija Nastasic to Schalke 04; Scott Sinclair (to Aston Villa?) and John Guidetti (to Celtic?) will soon follow before the end of the window. And although the German side appear to have achieved the same for Nastasic as the Spaniards wanted for Negredo [in terms of an initial loan for the rest of the season]; I’m going to assume that the “option to buy” quoted in the press actually means a compulsory purchase clause and that they too will have to cough up on 1st June [and it’ll count as income for the season also].
£10M for Nastasic, £3.5M for Sinclair and £4.5M for Guidetti added to the £14.6M left over following the purchase of Bony and (tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap…TAP) that leaves us with another £32.6M to spend on players and still remain “safe” with UEFA should Manuel Pellegrini wish to in January.

Maths done, where do we NEED to strengthen?

I can’t mention this transfer window without first taking a quick look forward about what might happen transfer-wise in the summer, regardless of how many new trophies may or may not be sitting in our cabinets come June 2015.
-        Long term we’ve simply GOT to address the left-back situation and although I think Gael Clichy will be rewarded for a fine spell of form with a stay at the club beyond this season; surely…SURELY we’ll finally see the back of Aleksandar Kolarov. A new left-back in the summer for me.
-        With Nastasic all but gone, little faith being shown in Boyata, ‘fingers still being crossed’ for the still-largely-struggling Mangala, Demichelis another year older (but likely to receive an additional 1-year contract) and Kompany continuing his 3-month-average-per-season treatment table act; the centre of defence is crying out for an additional, TOP class signing. Just like the left-back situation, this is a summer ‘must’ for me.
-        With the recently soured farce coming to a conclusion at the end of May regarding Frank Lampard’s situation and with another close season circus in the offing as long as Yaya keeps the same agent; I would say that at least two incoming attacking / creative midfielders / wingers is on the menu in 2015. One of these, in my opinion however, could - and perhaps should – happen in the coming 2-½ weeks or so.
-        There’s growing speculation regarding the departure of Stevan Jovetic; even, it would seem, talk of him possibly moving [to Italy] in this window, which I doubt very much to be honest. However, only a run of 4 months without injury peppered with a decent number of goals & assists might be enough to save the Montenegrin forward’s City career now. Similarly, for me, unless he has recovered from his recent injury and goes on a barnstorming run of form and goals; I think we could see the end of Mr E. Nigma – AKA Edin Dzeko – in the close season. Even WITH the signing of Wilfried Bony I can see at least one and quite possibly two new strikers joining us in the summer; a proven hitman in his mid-to-late 20s and a ‘young gun’ who has already shown huge promise at a good level. But this area is for deliberation after the season has finished.
They’re all considerations for the summer, as I say, and if it DOES play out like that we should have a very tasty squad indeed.
As for THIS transfer window - and with a possible £32.6M to spend - I want to look at the more sensible rumours that have been floating around out there set against what we might need / what Pellegrini has his engineering eye on.
The keeper situation is absolutely fine and won’t be a consideration in January whatsoever. If Willy is happy with his role so far then it won’t even be on the agenda in the summer either.
The defence is most definitely for summer reflection – with a very good quality, free right-back purchased from Arsenal last summer along with £32M spent with the AIM, at least, of shoring up the middle of the defence; I doubt the club will sanction any more spending in this area of the pitch just yet. Expect a stellar move for at least one ‘top class’ defender in the summer though.
For me it’s all about the midfield now and I’ve got a gut feeling that we are either going to pull off a surprise, canny move for someone who is going to add more depth & quality but for a relatively cheap price or a big, £25M+ move for a ‘big gun’…or both.
“Why would we possibly want to buy another defensive midfielder?” might be the question immediately thrown at this suggestion. Fernando was only brought in during the last window from Porto for £12M and although he hasn’t exactly set the stage alight, he’s been quietly improving since his early season injury; sticking his long legs into tackles at key times in games and getting an okay 6.5 from me at least in his first season in the Premier League. I’m sure he’ll get even better too.
However, it does no harm to have 2 quality defensive midfielders on your books and although Fernandinho has filled that role very well on occasions, the slighter-framed Brazilian is clearly more suited to a more advanced position.
I wouldn’t go ‘hell for leather’ to sign a deep-lying, tackling ‘middle man’ but can we really miss the opportunity to sign Sami Khedira from Real Madrid? A soon-to-be 28-year old player with HUGE experience in the both the Bundesliga & La Liga and with a whopping 53 German international cap AND, who, is out of contract at the end of the season! Apparently a mere £8M will secure his services…although his wages would be sky high I’m sure.
A luxury in our situation? Perhaps. But whoever gets him (and it would be one HELL of a scrap for his signature) should he decide not to stay with The Whites will be getting one HELL of a bargain!
Chances of signing him in January: 5/10
Chances of signing him in the summer: 5/10
I’ve said this in the past and, once again, in my opinion; Chelsea have the best wealth of attacking / creative midfielders in the Premier League. I think it’s high time, therefore, that we ‘up’ our numbers, even if it’s only to relieve some of the pressure from David; similar to our right-back situation-solution with Zaba / Sagna.
Whether it’s a left winger or a ‘central man’; for me we need another top inventive / offensive threat in our midfield ranks. Indeed if this IS indeed the season we finally say bye-bye to Yaya, we’ll need two before the start of next if no-one is to ‘step up’ from the EDS (or Zuculini proves not quite ready either).
First up is a player forever being linked with his old manager and [following the Khedira link] another look towards Real Madrid; this time for Isco. Chelsea – huh…like they NEED another one – are now entering the fray by all accounts and I think it would be a real missed opportunity not to reunite ‘The Engineer’ and the soon-to-be 23-year old Spanish attacking midfielder.
This young’un creates and scores; plays down the middle and is apparently fairly comfortable out-wide-left too. With 3 years remaining on his current deal the ex-Malaga man would take up most of our £32.6M (probably £30M of it) but we would be steeling ANOTHER march on our rivals, following the purchase of Bony. THIS addition in January (or indeed in the summer) would be making a real statement of intent!
Chances of signing him in January: 6.5/10
Chances of signing him in the summer: 8.5/10
Sticking with Madrid but turning towards Atletico, another player our manager would probably see fitting nicely into his plans is Koke. This guy doesn’t score too many but a better passer of the ball would be hard to find. This fella would get in the region of 20+ assists per season (mostly from the middle of the park rather than the wings) and with the likes of Aguero & Bony ahead of him picking them up, then, wow indeed!
However, this Spanish 23-year old is even more tied up in his current contract [than Isco] and I doubt £32.6M would cut it in the winter window.
Chances of signing him in January: 3/10
Chances of signing him in the summer: 7/10
I have suggested today – and not for the first time – that it’s not just the creative centre that could do with an addition but, taking nothing away from Samir Nasri; I believe that we’ve been crying out for a proper creative outlet on the left-hand-side for some time now; a real specialist in that position. Besides, if we DID acquire one, I believe Samir would find a lot more joy with more central role; albeit one he’d have to share from the bench more than he’d like I’m sure.
In Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus we’d have an EXCELLENT player with bags of pace, creative flare AND goals. Of the 3 mentioned so far – and I’d personally love us to get Iscothis is the player we should go out ‘all guns’ for next.
All the signals are there for us to go and get him – Borussia are having a TORRID time of it as they currently lie 17th in a league of 18; he’s seen some of his top-quality colleagues leave in the summer and will be in the last 24-months of his current deal in the summer.
The Germans do have some time on their hands with regards to cashing in on his contract length and might want to, therefore, hold onto the exceptional left-winger in an attempt to keep themselves in the top flight. But even though there’d be huge competition for his signature, this one is a possibility; this is the type of player we should be competing for with real intent.
Chances of signing him in January: 6/10
Chances of signing him in the summer: 8.5/10

Perhaps a little less likely but…

I’ll briefly chuck a few more into the mix; ones who have, of course, been linked with us and didn’t seem TOO far fetched to me.
The first of these might be seen as one for the future should we swoop for him; but Belgium and Anderlecht’s Dennis Praet is ‘turning heads’ at the moment. At just 20, a lot would question if we haven’t already got similar quality in the EDS. But that’s unlikely to stop us should we want him. Plays mostly as a central attacking midfielder but can operate on the left too and has 2-½ years remaining on his contract and would, therefore, probably cost us in the region of £12M.
Chances of signing him in January: 2/10
Chances of signing him in the summer: 5/10
Slightly older and more of a left winger is a player who plays for a club with whom we’ve just done business with (wink-wink). At just 21, Julian Draxler already has 15 full, German international caps to his name and when you consider that the afore mentioned Marco Reus competes in the same position for his country; then that alone tells you that this young fella can’t be all-to-bad either!
Julian has slightly longer on his current deal with Schalke 04 and would, therefore, probably cost us in the region of £25M (or £15M when you take the sale of Nastasic into account…)
Chances of signing him in January: 4/10
Chances of signing him in the summer: 6/10
The world and his wife seem to want this next one and I doubt he’ll move anywhere until the summer. But seeing as we’re being linked with him in almost every transfer window and is being touted, specifically, as Yaya’s long-term replacement; I thought I’d chuck him in there as at least a possibility.
Paul Pogba not only LOOKS a little like Mario Balotelli - often-hair-style-wise at least - but rumours of a similar attitude sent alarm bells ringing in my head a long while ago. However, he appears to be calming down considerably and is CERTAINLY turning out to be a far more accomplished footballer than the ex-City forward.
A player who gets a lot of praise from many pundits and, who, is a real box-to-box midfielder. With a whopping 4-½ years to run on his current Juventus contract we’d definitely have to sell Jovetic and / or someone else to be able to afford the Frenchman in this transfer window and, so…
Chances of signing him in January: 1/10
Chances of signing him in the summer: 7/10
So there you have it, my opinions of this often-hard-to-keep-up-with transfer window. By the time I’ve combed through what I’ve typed before 'release'; inserted the hyperlinks and the pictures etc. the scene may well have all changed yet again – so I’d better 'crack on'…
Thank you as always for taking the time…

No comments:

Post a Comment