SN Blog 63 – Another poor window?

I am a positive fan in many ways.  I try to see the progress made rather than the lack of trophies.  I try to see the performance and development in younger players not just their mistakes etc etc.  However I fear I am going  to sound a little negative today so in advance, sorry about this.  I do not intend to be negative just my view and opinion.

So here is the question I am going to explore in this blog…  Is this another failure of a transfer window?

We have completed two first team signings so far (at the time of writing this, 17th July) in young Clarke from Leeds and Ndombele from Lyon.  Clarke as we know at just 18 has returned to Leeds on loan for a season where hopefully he will get plenty of games in the Championship and continue developing under the guidance of Bielsa; our own managers personal mentor and friend.

Ndombele was and is a massive signing.  Not just in terms of him being our new club record signing at circa £60m but also in terms of what he will bring to the team.  Barcelona, Juventus and Man City all held an interest in the player but we managed to get in and complete the deal while others focused on different areas of their team.

So why, when we have made two signings and one a clear big first team enhancement am I asking the question if this is a poor window or not.  Well, really, we have not addressed the major issues in our team and I think because it was something like 515 days without us signing anyone the fact we did make those signings, before pre season started is masking the fact we are once again not getting our business done.

Pre-season is well underway and the squad are due to fly out on their pre-season tour today and yet uncertainty remains around two key players.  Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld.  Both are out of contract next summer and the Belgian has a release clause allowing him to leave for £25m up until the final 14 days of this window.  For those keeping count that means as of close of play next Thursday, 25th July 2019, that clause is gone.  So far only Roma have shown a solid interest, but they offered less than the release clause and Daniel Levy laughed so hard his ribs hurt.

Eriksen wants to go to Madrid.  He has made all of the public plays a player needs to do to make that move and has let his contact run down despite a financially lucrative deal being on the table for him to sign for some time.  The issue is buyers know the deeper into the window this goes the more desperate we as a club will become to get SOMETHING for the Dane rather than losing him for nothing next season.  I fear it could end up going all the way to deadline day this one.

AND if it does where does it leave us and trying to find a replacement?  Remember our window closes before the league starts however the European window does not; meaning they can sign from us but we cannot get replacements in.  Do we run the risk of signing someone and then have Eriksen stay… or do we sell so we get something rather than nothing and up short until at least January.

Away from those two many fans realised early last season that one of our biggest problems was at full back.  Ours were simply (a) not dynamic enough and (b) could not defend set pieces.  As the season went on it became a near constant thread of moans and groans on our Facebook page and the vast majority was justified, we need to look at full back options in the summer.  No doubt.

As I am writing this it appears one of our full backs, England international Kieran Trippier is heading out the door for Madrid… Atletico Madrid.  He is there doing a medical now and should be announced today assuming no problems.  That means at the club we have Aurier and KWP as right back options and Davies and Rose at LB.  Foyth we know can provide injury cover at RB and personally I think Jan is our best LB anyway but he can cover that in case of injuries.  HOWEVER the question here is by selling Trippier and signing no one are we actually getting any better?

I could argue here that KWP could prove to everyone this season why he was and for me still is so highly rater.  I truly believe given a run of say 10 games he would cement the RB position as his and I hope dominate it for the club for a decade!  However the manager seems to have shown very little faith in him over the last 12 months.  Instead seemingly trying to convert Foyth; so I ask again are we upgrading here.

At left back reports are that Danny Rose is leaving.  After circa 12 years with the club he is being shown the door, politely and he is not even in pre-season training.  Instead he is trying to find a new club with his agent.  He wont be going on the tour to give him time to finalise that but if it fails to happen then apparently all parties are happy for him to stay at the club.  So again, uncertainty means that could run until the end of the window and unlike at RB where we do actually have two first teamers at LB we only have Davies (who has just signed a new deal, congrats to him on that, a good pro).

So we do need to sign a left back, we need cover there.  I know many reading this are likely thinking Ryan Sessegnon.  The Fulham youngster has been linked with so much and for so long I honestly sometimes forget we have not signed him yet.  The key thing about Ryan is he started as a full back but last season for club and country (U21’s) he was used as a winger / wide forward.  That is the position the young man wants to play and is the role, from what I have read, Pochettino wants him for also.  That being the case his signing would not solve our left back issue, over than having a player other than Super Jan who could due to injury step in and cover there.

Summing up then I fear we are actually doing what we always do, leave things to late.  I know there are many MANY moving parts to transfers and real life is not like a computer game where you offer the big bucks and sign the player however I have a real fear that right now the Ndombele signing has appeased everyone and its blinding them to the fact we are not actually improving the key areas we need to and in fact if all the sales happen that seem to be in line to happen we will be weaker come the start of the season not stronger.



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