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  #1  
Old 25-09-2017, 03:03 PM
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Squad management and implications for Jan and Summer 2018.

I am not alone in being a bit of a broken record on this at the minute but I am really worried about the state of our current squad and it's ongoing management with regard to this and next season. The transfer thread seems to be the right place to look at it because the conclusions are all about the ins and outs. I should add that this is as clinical as I can get it and so it will no doubt sound harsh but it's trying to be factual.

The current 25+ (according to tfr thread) has 11 players that will leave us unless new contracts are offered. So almost half of the squad will naturally turnover without incoming fees. This includes 2 Loan players. The players potentially leaving are: Speroni, Delaney, Cabaye, Hennessey, McArthur, Sako, Lee, Ward, KaiKai, Loftus-Cheek, Fosu-Mensah.

For reference that leaves: Puncheon, Dann, Tomkins, Sakho, Kelly, Souare, PVA, Milivojevic, Townsend, Mutch, Zaha, Schlupp, Riedewald, Wickham and Benteke. Probably worth noting that Mutch appears to have left for all intents and purposes and so he should probably be moved to the first group but that does assume we can move him on. Without action we will have 0 keepers, 7 defenders, 6 midfielders (excl Mutch), 2 strikers (a luxury if fit). Within those defenders would be 3 LBs and no RB.

Out of the 25+, 9 players will be over 30 before the next season (7 of those overlap with leavers) and so unlikely to be offered long, if any contracts. If we stay in the Premier I would expect KaiKai to leave. If we are relegated he may get a reprieve and also Joniesta would likely return?

If relegated, of those in contract I assume Townsend, Zaha, Benteke and Sakho would be targeted by other clubs and we might want to move on due to wages. Wickham also but without any playing time this seems less likely. I guess if the nightmare of relegation was to arrive it could be said we have planned this nicely because slashing the wage bill looks quite achievable with 3 or 4 sales. Replacing the leaving players does look to me like a nightmare whether we stay up or not. Without looking back too much, this really is the result of 4 relegation struggles and the reallocation of funds to 'bigger name players' and rollercoaster of Managers/Management. This thread is more about looking forward.

So while today's job is survival what context will our Jan window have because the division and this squad refresh challenge ? It's difficult to summarise and easier perhaps to look at the Summer window in 2 ways with survival or relegation and then work back to December. I have some thoughts about this but will post later. Best to post the data first.

As a hint, even an early glance at this pushed me straight out of the 'ideal' into the pragmatic which will I think re-signing some players we might ideally like to let go at the risk of longer contracts than are wise. But Premiership prices and our inability to bring players in from abroad at good prices to date) will force this I think. Replacing Cabaye will be really tough.

The relegation scenario ironically might be easier to re-stock for in theory but really tough to bounce back from.
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Old 25-09-2017, 05:37 PM
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You're right but this is all too depressing for words. I'm very worried about our prospects - we look so ill prepared for this season and the impact of relegation would be massive in terms of players leaving and us being left with a threadbare squad. It would be a significant rebuild job. I just don't know how we have allowed this to happen.
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Old 25-09-2017, 05:45 PM
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I am not alone in being a bit of a broken record on this at the minute but I am really worried about the state of our current squad and it's ongoing management with regard to this and next season.
FFS, what are you worrying about. Didn't you hear Parish a few weeks back when he said we have a better squad than Burnley ? Some people get their knockers in a twist about anything. What's wrong with a squad that only has two goalkeepers and one striker. What could go wrong ?
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Old 25-09-2017, 07:00 PM
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To make it worse, Hennessey signed a two year deal this year, so he will still be here no matter what
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Old 25-09-2017, 07:05 PM
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To make it worse, Hennessey signed a two year deal this year, so he will still be here no matter what
Doesn't stop us selling him.

Finding a buyer will be the difficult bit
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Old 25-09-2017, 07:07 PM
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The implications are pretty clear I would say
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Old 25-09-2017, 07:37 PM
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Assembling a good squad by next Summer is tricky but doable at a reasonable cost in fees and wages. For example, we almost certainly will purchase a good goalkeeper and reserve striker in January. Then next Summer, we would need to: attempt to purchase Fosu-Mensah and Loftus-Cheek, or their equivalents (I do not think that it is a foregone conclusion that they are destined to play for Man Utd/ Chelsea next year) - this would be our major outlay next Summer; obtain a loan reserve midfielder and a loan reserve winger (there were some excellent loans available this Summer from home and abroad); extend Ward as a reserve full back and Hennessey as a reserve goalkeeper (or, obtain good young replacements); replace Speroni with an up-and-coming young goalkeeper; and, hopefully, integrate Dreher and Lumeka into the squad (perhaps not full time).

This would give us:
Goalkeepers: new first choice + Hennessey + new youngster
Central defenders: first choice options - Sakho + Dann + Tomkins with Kelly as 4th option
Full backs: Fosu-Mensah + Ward + Souare + Van Aanholt
Midfielders: Milivojevic + Loftus-Cheek + Reidewald + new loanee + Puncheon + Dreher
Wingers: Zaha + Townsend + new loanee + Schlupp + Lumeka
Strikers: Benteke + Wickham + new reserve striker

Of course, one could play with lots of variations on this squad (for example, I would expect that many would sell Schlupp or Van Aanholt) - but I think there is enough core strength there to indicate that assembling a good squad at a reasonable cost is feasible.

Last edited by JB's ghost; 25-09-2017 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 25-09-2017, 07:37 PM
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Would be interested to see how this compares with other sides of our stature in the league. Only Cabaye and maybe McArthur bother me other than the loanees.

Think you're over analysing in truth.
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Old 25-09-2017, 07:37 PM
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Old 25-09-2017, 08:49 PM
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Have to wonder how we manage the squad.

Surely it isn't that difficult to have a whiteboard or Excel spreadsheet with different positions listed and underneath have 2-3 players who can fill that position, then maybe have their ages in brackets next to their name and one step further have their contract expiry date next to that.

Then for each of those positions have a list of transfer targets in order of preference which is constantly updated.

It's what I do when playing Football Manager although I just use the games database to create shortlists and it's fairly easy to manage the squad by moving players about the U23 and U17 squads.
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Old 25-09-2017, 09:01 PM
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History tells us that you need to constantly replace your worst and or aging players without too much sentiment. The man united European team was allowed to grow old together and relegation followed.
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Old 25-09-2017, 09:05 PM
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This has been on the back of my mind despite our current crisis. Good recruitment is essential every window and failure to do so sees a lot of catch up to be done in the next one.

Despite being desperate for strikers at the moment, next summer we will potentially be very light in midfield with RLC returning, Cabaye and Mcarthur out of contract leaving us with just Milivojevic, Puncheon, Mutch and maybe Riedewald. I guess we will see Williams and Dreher playing a part should we go down. If we do stay up, I'd try to keep Cabaye and release Mcarthur. If we go down, Cabaye will have a decent offer elsewhere, but Mcarthur might be persuaded to stay.

Whatever division we end up in is going to require a ton of work. We currently have a few star players who will leave 100% should we go down and a bunch of deadwood no one will buy.
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Old 25-09-2017, 09:09 PM
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Have to wonder how we manage the squad.

Surely it isn't that difficult to have a whiteboard or Excel spreadsheet with different positions listed and underneath have 2-3 players who can fill that position, then maybe have their ages in brackets next to their name and one step further have their contract expiry date next to that.

Then for each of those positions have a list of transfer targets in order of preference which is constantly updated.

It's what I do when playing Football Manager although I just use the games database to create shortlists and it's fairly easy to manage the squad by moving players about the U23 and U17 squads.
Sam password protected it and now we're f**ked
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Old 25-09-2017, 09:20 PM
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Too depressing to even think far into it, but I've said this is ultimately what will be our downfall is the squad and how we've gone about upgrading and having a good recruitment department.

The constant change of manager doesn't help but failing to do the above will catch up with you eventually.
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Old 18-10-2017, 01:29 AM
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Old 18-10-2017, 05:31 PM
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I am not alone in being a bit of a broken record on this at the minute but I am really worried about the state of our current squad and it's ongoing management with regard to this and next season. The transfer thread seems to be the right place to look at it because the conclusions are all about the ins and outs. I should add that this is as clinical as I can get it and so it will no doubt sound harsh but it's trying to be factual.

The current 25+ (according to tfr thread) has 11 players that will leave us unless new contracts are offered. So almost half of the squad will naturally turnover without incoming fees. This includes 2 Loan players. The players potentially leaving are: Speroni, Delaney, Cabaye, Hennessey, McArthur, Sako, Lee, Ward, KaiKai, Loftus-Cheek, Fosu-Mensah.

For reference that leaves: Puncheon, Dann, Tomkins, Sakho, Kelly, Souare, PVA, Milivojevic, Townsend, Mutch, Zaha, Schlupp, Riedewald, Wickham and Benteke. Probably worth noting that Mutch appears to have left for all intents and purposes and so he should probably be moved to the first group but that does assume we can move him on. Without action we will have 0 keepers, 7 defenders, 6 midfielders (excl Mutch), 2 strikers (a luxury if fit). Within those defenders would be 3 LBs and no RB.

Out of the 25+, 9 players will be over 30 before the next season (7 of those overlap with leavers) and so unlikely to be offered long, if any contracts. If we stay in the Premier I would expect KaiKai to leave. If we are relegated he may get a reprieve and also Joniesta would likely return?

If relegated, of those in contract I assume Townsend, Zaha, Benteke and Sakho would be targeted by other clubs and we might want to move on due to wages. Wickham also but without any playing time this seems less likely. I guess if the nightmare of relegation was to arrive it could be said we have planned this nicely because slashing the wage bill looks quite achievable with 3 or 4 sales. Replacing the leaving players does look to me like a nightmare whether we stay up or not. Without looking back too much, this really is the result of 4 relegation struggles and the reallocation of funds to 'bigger name players' and rollercoaster of Managers/Management. This thread is more about looking forward.

So while today's job is survival what context will our Jan window have because the division and this squad refresh challenge ? It's difficult to summarise and easier perhaps to look at the Summer window in 2 ways with survival or relegation and then work back to December. I have some thoughts about this but will post later. Best to post the data first.

As a hint, even an early glance at this pushed me straight out of the 'ideal' into the pragmatic which will I think re-signing some players we might ideally like to let go at the risk of longer contracts than are wise. But Premiership prices and our inability to bring players in from abroad at good prices to date) will force this I think. Replacing Cabaye will be really tough.

The relegation scenario ironically might be easier to re-stock for in theory but really tough to bounce back from.
Most of the better players who are not on loan are still under contract. But this is a situation that is very worrying, and you are right to point it out: the squad is desperately thin in terms of numbers if most leave.

We shouldn't be signing 7 or 8 players in any transfer window as it destroys team spirit and cohesion. Put simply, we have to sign the ones we want on longer deals, and we have to try to sign 3 or 4 in January. Like you, I'm desperate to see us sign Cabaye on a new deal. Give him a 3 year contract if that's what it takes. He always gives 100%, and leads by example. The rest I am not so bothered about, but we need to buy some young players in the window who can put pressure on the first XI. A first XI that by the way is currently head and shoulders above the rest of the squad. That is the way it should be as we continue to develop, but it is time to put some flesh on the bone.
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Old 18-10-2017, 05:33 PM
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My priority of those who are potentially leaving of who I would like to keep:

1) Loftus Cheek
2) Cabaye
3) Fosu Mensah
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Old 18-10-2017, 06:22 PM
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This is why I tend to back the manager we currently have in charge longer than most(which to be fair is very easy these days given we seem to have a thread discussing a manager's sacking a soon as we lose a game).We have had no continuity in the recruitment department or with managers(and because managers get a say in the players they like here it's essentially the same thing).Whether we have success with him or not I don't think Roy will be here long,so again we've gone for what appears to be more short term thinking.The situation with the squad is getting worse every season and soon,as the OP points out,it's going to hit a tipping point where we essentially have no players in certain positions and no money to buy anyone.
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Old 19-10-2017, 06:51 AM
theCoach theCoach is offline
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Excellent post point well made.not quite the doom and gloom scenario if relegated and likewise if save with games to go contract renewals can commence.
Regardless though January window requires commanding keeper and matchday striker
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Old 19-10-2017, 01:27 PM
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What gives me some hope if we can address this in January, is that we've basically had to work with a 21 man squad so far this season - ie Souare and Wickham were always unlikely to play in the league before January, especially Wickham; Mutch adds nothing and won't be used; and Ladapo clearly isn't rated given Roy didn't even have him on the bench last week when we had no strikers. So that's four players out of the squad who aren't able to contribute - some for obviously good reasons such as injury but others not so positive.

If we can finally move some of these players on and sign 4-5 players of real quality then we will have a chance - ie if we are within touching distance come January.

I think we obviously need a new keeper, one but ideally two strikers and I'd like to see us bring in a quality winger - especially if Wilf is going to be used more as a striker.

I'd give Cabaye a one year extension if he would take it but I suspect he will understandably want a final three year lucrative deal. I don't think we should offer that though.
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