No need to panic! by Angus
A lot of toys are being thrown out of prams after we couldn’t get the deal done for Luiz. Don’t get me wrong the deal made sense and would have been useful but our window has been successful, and we still have a 100% record, let’s not overreact.
Our squad is:
Martinelli (ESR) Jesus (Eddie) Saka (Marquinhos/Nelson when he recovers)
Xhaka (Lokonga) Ode (Vieira)
Zinchenko (Tierney) Gabriel (Holding) Saliba (White) Tomi (Cedric)
We have a full 22 squad for rotation that Arteta desired + 1 extra GK (Hein) and Nelson when he’s back. A winger/central midfielder of some sort would have been icing on the cake, but it was never make or break (that was Jesus/Zinchenko.)
Not sure why Villa turned down the bid for Luiz to be honest, no way he signs a new contract after that, and Gerrard seems to have a policy of not playing players who refuse to sign extensions much.
From Kaveh Solhekol, in HITC: “Some of the people involved in the negotiations are a little bit bemused because they were led to believe towards the end of last week that Villa would listen to offers of around £20m for Luiz.
“He hadn’t really been starting games under Steven Gerrard and he’s out of contract in the summer.”
Still there will be 18 games left to play when the window opens again and only 13 until then. So, is there any reason to panic really?
We will clearly have funds available then, and can just pick him up cheap if necessary or go for someone else.
As to those next 13 games, how concerned should we be in the DM department.
Partey is out for 3 games according to premierleague.com, although others have it as unknown. Despite many hyperbolic statements I’ve seen, Partey has played 51 league games for us whilst missing 25. That is not ideal but equally nowhere near the majority of games being missed. He’s played in 67% of league games available since he arrived which is a statistic that might surprise some. So, if we were basing our transfer plans on Partey’s historical injury record for us, we would expect him to play around 9 games out of the 13 left before the Jan window. Go back to the start of the season and we could of reasonably expected him to play 12 out of 18. Not sure all that talk of lack of foresight looks so clever in that light.
Lokonga did well against Villa, this is a guy Kompany (check out Burnley since he took over) has repeatedly called the next Yaya Touré, and that our coaches once claimed is better suited to the 6 role than Partey. He’s 22 and now has a year under his belt with us, let’s have a little faith and see what he can do!
Failing that Zinchenko should be back at least for the bench against United and could surely play in there whilst Tierney is fit. White/Xhaka are further options. Luiz would have been nice given the injury to Elneny but not too concerned, Luiz may well have just started cup games initially anyway.
Personally, I wanted a winger more ready to rotate with Saka and ease the pressure on Marquinhos to make the step up, but he looked decent enough in preseason and seems to have impressed with the youth side, Vieira is an option ahead of him on that wing in the league too whilst he gets up to speed.
So, the squad to me at least seems a lot healthier and strong in depth than people are making out. At least wait until we have a bad game before going into full meltdown mode.
Roll on United at the weekend! We are still favs in my book, even if United away is never easy. Know our away fans will be fully behind Lokonga if he starts just hoping the same can be said for online comments. He’s our 22-year-old starlet who has not done anything to deserve some of the comments I’ve seen. The pundits will try to target that area enough themselves in the coming weeks especially the ex-United brigade on Sunday, would be nice if our own fans didn’t fuel that fire themselves!
Onwards and upwards!
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