Talking Point

One thing is concerning me about our transfer activity. Will there be enough of it? I’m not a fan of buying inferior quality players just for the sake of it, as I well remember how Harry Redknapp blew the £18 million we got from the transfer of Rio Ferdinand to Leeds. He bought the likes of Titi Camara, Rigobert Song, Todorov and Soma, along with a couple of others I’ve now forgotten about.

What we have to remember is that this year is going to be like no other in terms of the number of matches we are going to have to play.

Premier League – 38
Europa League – 23
League Cup – 5
FA Cup – 9

MAXIMUM TOTAL – 75

That assumes we get to the final of each of the three tournaments, which I grant you is highly unlikely! But say we reach the final of the Europa League (again, I am being optimistic!) but get knocked out in the first round of the other two cups, we’d still be playing 63 matches – around twenty more than this season. Even if we only make the group stages we will be playing 56 games.

Surely this means that we need to increase the size of our squad. We know that we seem to get more injuries than most so I’d say we need to add another six players to the squad – two defenders, two midfielders and two strikers. There is, however, one problem with this. How do we do that and stick to the Financial Fair Play Rules? The simple answer is that it will/would be almost impossible without selling quite a few of our current players and replacing them with more cheaper ones.

Looking at our squad at the moment, this is how it looks

GOALKEEPERS (4)
Adrian
Darren Randolph
Raphael Spiegel
Sam Howes

CENTRAL DEFENDERS (8)
Doneil Henry
James Collins
Reece Oxford
Reece Burke
Winston Reid
James Tomkins
Leo Chambers
Emmanuel Onariase

FULL BACKS (3)
Joey O’Brien
Aaron Cresswell
Stephen Hendrie

CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS (6)
Mark Noble
Kevin Nolan
Pedro Obiang
Cheikhou Kouyate
Diego Poyet
Josh Cullen

WINGERS (4)
Morgan Amalfitano
Stewart Downing
Matt Jarvis
Dimitri Payet

FORWARDS (7)
Andy Carroll
Diafro Sakho
Enner Valencia
Modibo Maiga
Elliot Lee
Mauro Zarate
Martin Samuelson

If we get Alex Song and Carl Jenkinson back, I’d say we also need to add one more full back to replace Guy Demal, one more central defender, one more central midfielder and one more quality striker. That would give us a squad of 38 players. Bearing in mind last season we used more than that, I don’t think that’s far off where we need to be aiming for given the number of matches we will be playing.