|Gylfi Not Irreplaceable- But Not Trying To Directly Replace Him Is Smart|
Written by BarneyLW on Thursday, 17th Aug 2017 20:17
So the dust has finally settled. In what seemed like the most painstaking saga in living memory, Gylfi Sigurdsson is an Everton player. A man the club were silently resigned to eventually losing has moved on and like so often in the past, the club must plan for life without their star player.
The manner of the Iceman's departure was a constant sticking point since his decision to stay behind during the club's pre-season tour of the United States. Which at the time may have panned out with the deal being completed over that weekend, however with 20:20 hindsight now looks a blunder from the former hero, with a bitter aftertaste left with those fans who are not simply relieved so see some form of resolution.
Clement in his press conference before the clash against Manchester United was refreshing in his usual frank honesty; always aware the midfielder would eventually depart and notably frustrated of late at the cumbersome pace of the move. Yet now he and the board can use their experience of past seasons to strengthen- Clement had said his former go-to man is not irreplaceable, yet a mix of inflation, lack of time and realistic available targets in the position mean the best bet is to strengthen with multiple moves, rather than a big money risk.
Were you to think back to when Lee Trundle left as a vaguely similar situation: While since then Swansea City and indeed football has changed dramatically, one factor remains consistent; rather than going for a direct replacement, the money was reinvested to key areas in the squad. Sigurdsson has been involved in 53 goals since August 2014, the pragmatic attitude of the club would make sense to not look for someone who can match that level, but to bulk up a thin squad with players that could collectively get to that number, if all goes well.
So to examine the players that are strongly linked to becoming new additions before the window slams shut: Two possible returns have been met with mixed reviews; Joe Allen would possibly go from being the one that got away to the one that was brought back at an exorbitant fee to a mixed reaction. Indeed this is a move that more than likely will be a character forming lesson for Huw Jenkins et al, the opportunity knocked last season while he was an essential target.yet the club dithered and scrimped and their loss was Stoke City's gain, highlighted by their desire to keep hold of the 'Welsh Pirlo'- With many feeling he is less needed now to fill the void.
The other prospect looks to be a reunion with Wilfried Bony. A move so wonderfully ironic as fans have often questioned where the money from his transfer fee to Manchester City was reinvested, his lack of success at Pep Guardiola's side looks increasingly promising that they can bring back the Ivorian at a cut price deal. Like Sigurdsson after his first spell (and possibly in this next spell) away from the club, Bony found the grass is not always greener and looks set to return to the place that saw him play arguably the best football of his career. Much of the summer the move has looked upcoming, yet this was largely dependent on Fernando Llorente's departure. Now this does not look as if one does not equal the other as the man nicknamed Daddy Cool could once again play at the ground he described as his garden, battling Llorente and loan signing Tammy Abraham for a place in a two-man attack. The amount of goals he bagged in his first term means while an abundance of midfield creativity has gone to Goodison, a multitude of goals could return.
As an enquiry has been made into Hull City midfielder Sam Clucas, it is worth remembering that once again this is not designed to be like-for-like as a budget replacement for Sigurdsson. Yet while Clucas looked promising in a struggling Hull side last season, his price tag may be a turn off considering his similarities to other players in the squad already.
Another consistent link is Belgian midfielder Nacer Chadli. Securing the winger's services looks somewhere more likely than Joe Allen, but less-so than Bony. His up and down time in the Premier League adds to mixed fan reactions, yet he has had an eye for goal, as a scorer and an assist provider. His time at Spurs was lukewarm, though the caveat to that would be he arrived at White Hart Lane in a transitional period. His time at West Brom has been similarly inconsistent, though Tony Pulis' indifference to him may mean he eventually becomes the Baggies' loss and Clement's gain, as his versatility in various midfield positions could equal an encouraging match between player and team-see also Jordan Ayew, who is clearly liked by the boss.
There is a misconception that the transfer kitty must be poured out in the remaining fortnight if the club is to have any hope of survival again. But now everyone can hit the reset button following Sigurdsson's departure. The funds must be reinvested, but rather than a madcap blowout, 2 or 3 smart, if some inflated purchases could re-distribute the goal burden and the accusations of over-reliance on one or two could instead mean addressing the much-needed areas of the squad which have been lacking serious depth.
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Matches of Yesteryear - U's v PNE 3/5/15 by wessex_exile
Although not an avid collector, I recently catalogued my collection of football memorabilia and I have 175 items, mostly programmes, some fanzines, and a few ticket stubs which aren’t accompanied by anything else. I have no idea how many more may have been misplaced during house moves, clear-outs etc., but the collection spans nearly 30 years (the earliest is the programme from our 1990 Boxing Day game against Barnet at Layer Rd), and is almost universally Colchester United related (though not quite all of it). I have decided to try and put this to some use, by choosing one at random prior to each match and writing a short article about the match, maybe the programme, and even any personal recollections I have of the game (notwithstanding enforced enfeeblement due to excessive libation). I will try and do this ahead of each game this season, but my apologies in advance if I don’t quite achieve that.