First off I, like Cody, would like to make an apology for the lack of posts. I hope my Twitter insights at each game have been enough but hopefully Real Life will let up a bit and I can get on with Hammy Ending.
Now that that’s taken care of…. It must be coming up to transfer window time again. Why do I say that? Because the rumours have already started. If the papers are to be believed Sparky’s going to be busy – the man himself even says as much. So who might we be seeing grace the hallowed turf of Craven Cottage next year? There’s a few obvious names being thrown into the ring;
Roque Santa Cruz for one. A previous signing for Hughes in his former life at Manchester City, and apparently not very happy there. Journalistic mathematics calculate that he’s a shoe-in but Roque’s not so sure, preferring the sunnier climes of Spain and La Liga.
John Carew – we’ve been linked with Carew before and a change of manager at Villa Park mean those rumours can be dragged up again. Following Emile Heskey’s injury we may get a good look at Carew this Saturday.
Mustapha Bangura – who, I must confess, I know absolutely nothing about. A Sierra Leon international currently playing in Cyprus. Predominantly a forward but can also play in midfield, meeting the variety of positions criteria that Hughes is after.
Jay Bothroyd – currently at Cardiff (although on suspension following 5 yellow cards last time I saw his name in the papers) although his contract is due to come to an end in the summer. He might be cheap but can he make the move from Championship to Premier League? Let’s hope Jermain Beckford’s move to Everton in the summer is no indication of the likely success of that…
It’s probably no coincidence that we’re mostly being linked with strikers but do we need another one? We’ve got bionic Andy Johnson working his way back, Dembélé who, despite looking a bit cautious against Wigan, still looks to have a gift, and great goal-scoring midfielders in Dempsey and Gera that I wonder if an additional striker is really necessary.
No, if we get new players in I think I’d like to see our midfield bolstered. We looked dreadfully out of sorts at West Brom and it can’t simply be coincidence that we were without our entire first choice midfield. Murphy and Davies are fantastic but not getting any younger so we need to make sure we’ve adequate replacements for them. Greening has looked good but can he keep it up? And what happens if, God forbid, he should be injured?
Defensively I think we could do with a bit of a boost. Do we have any natural understudies to Aaron Hughes and Brede Hangeland? I’m not so sure so perhaps that needs adding on the shopping list. Right back has plenty of cover with Chris Baird, Stephen Kelly and John Pantsil happy to jump in and do an adequate job. Left back is clearly Salcido’s birthright and there’s always Matthew Briggs who I think did an admirable job against Port Vale and who I’d like to see more of.
That just leaves the goalkeepers. What to say? Schwarzer wants to go. It strikes me as odd that there is an industry in which employees aren’t free to choose where they work. I’d be interested in what the human rights lawyers think about it…. But I digress. Regardless of his ambitions, Super Mark is also the wrong side of 30 so we should thinking about a replacement. We’ve got one in David Stockdale who I think has the potential to be a great. So we need an understudy for him. That should be easy. We’ve a couple in the Development Squad and we’ve got Zuberbuhler. I’m not sure we need to go splashing the cash in this area. Let’s give it a go and review in the summer.
What do you think Sparky’s planning for the January sales? What would you like him to do? Answers on a postcard (or the comments box below).