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Who's Signing Who?



With next season fast approaching, it is time once again for the famous guessing game, 'who's signing who?'

The race for fourth place is hotting up, and Manchester City, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Liverpool are already gearing up for next seasons top four challenge. City look to have secured the signing of Jérôme Boateng for £11m, while Spurs have captured Brazilian starlet Sandro, and Liverpool are wrapping up the free signing of Jovanovic.

Without going into too much detail, lets take a look at what the aforementioned clubs are looking to do and where they need to re-enforce.

Rafa Benitez has already stated that he requires a £60-£80m war chest to supplement the dross that he has cobbled together to form the spine of the current Liverpool squad. Problem is, it is highly probable that the only players available to him in the summer transfer window will be a host of second-rate players.

With the possibility that Liverpool are not playing Champions League football, and troubling signs that the club is in financial meltdown, Benitez is not going to find his 3-4 world class players - especially if he sells Torres to fund them.

It is fairly clear that Liverpool need a complete overhaul, two wingers (left and right) a world class striker and a couple of defenders should do it.

Riera and Benayoun will bring in a bit of extra cash, but with the likes of the more attractive prospects consisting of City, Spurs and Villa dipping into the market, Liverpool will find themselves at the bottom of the pile - dipping into the bargain bins... Irony?

Moving on from the Merseyside misery, Aston Villa desperately need a proven goal scorer to boost their credentials, although it remains to be seen whether or not Martin O'Neil is ready to splash the cash.

Villa fans must be questioning why O`Neil spent all that money on Stuart Downing instead of a striker when he already had Ashley Young at his disposal. Unfortunately their swift counter-attacking style means that they need a striker with an abundance of pace, and these don't come cheap.

Kenwyne Jones would be an excellent addition to replace the aging Heskey and ease the goal scoring responsibility on the Agbonlahor and whoever else O'Neil sees sense to sign.

In defence, Villa are as solid as they come, but it is still obvious that they miss Gareth Barry in midfield after his switch to Eastlands. A player of his quality to compliment the work of Petrov would be a huge boost the Midlands club.

Moving down to London, Harry Redknapp has had no problems on the goal scoring front, although Pavlyuchenko and Crouch are hardly prolific. Defoe has been top-notch when it comes to goals, but the diminutive front man offers little else - much to the dissatisfaction of the White Hart Lane faithful. Again, a striker like Kenwyne Jones must be worth looking at, and Spurs certainly have the resources to make this happen.

The acquisition of Sandro is a good buy in my opinion, Spurs have been crying out for a decent midfielder who can battle it out with Wilson Palacios for a place in the starting 11. Palacios has been a fantastic buy for 'Arry, but his replacement at the moment, Tom Huddlestone, is some way off that standard - even if he does show a lot of promise.

I can't imagine Jermaine Jenas being a Spurs player next season, he just isn't good enough. Spurs need to cash in on Jenas and purchase another top right-winger who can give them better options than what they have at the moment. Modric and Kranjcar are excellent options on the left, but on the other side of the pitch, David Bentley just isn't the same player as he was at Blackburn and is a poor replacement for Lennon.

Then we come to Manchester City. I could be here all day as a City fan, although I don't think we are looking at another squad overhaul for next year. Mancini will want to keep his current group together after they have finally gelled as a unit.

I think we will see around two or three players arriving at Eastlands, possibly one or two more if we are in the Champions League.

It is obvious that we need a box-to-box midfielder, Fabregas coming to CoMS is probably not going to happen, but a player of his calibre would be absolutely ideal to battle it out with the returning Michael Johnson. Mancini tried to address this flaw in our squad with the signing of Mariga (who was duly snaffled by Inter Milan after he couldn`t get a work permit), and it is clear we struggle with such a defensive minded line-up in central midfield.

Left-back is also an area we need to address. Bridge has found his form but he has been hampered by injuries, and there is still a big question mark over Garrido, while Sylvinho isn't getting any younger. I think we need to be looking at a signing a young hot-prospect to learn from Bridge and Sylvinho, who can fight it out with our academy prospect Greg Cunningham for cup starts and the occasional league game.

Finally, we need to be looking at purchasing a left-winger - if Robinho is set to remain in Brazil of course. Craig Bellamy will not manage the Premier League, League Cup, FA Cup and potentially the Champions League in one season.

Rumours of Ángel Di María have been flying about, although he seems more like a Robinho than a Bellamy. Ribery is the other obvious choice, although he was completely nullified by Rafael in the Champions League - not so good for a player supposedly worth £60m. The club really needs to get this one right as it is one of our key attacking outlets.

With the 6ft 3in Jérôme Boateng bolstering our defence, the only other real area we are thin on is in the nets. Stuart Taylor is highly unlikely to remain as the number two next season, so either Joe Hart returns, or we need another stand-in keeper.

I could go on about signing David Villa and Maicon et al, but that`s being a tad greedy and signings like that are almost 100% reliant on whether we get into the Champions League or not.

Whichever club secures Champions League football is going to have to spend a lot of money to compete with the top dogs of Europe. Furthermore, the clubs who don`t secure Champions League football are going to have to spend a lot of money to edge them out of contention for a top four spot next season. It's not for the feint of heart, and will guarantee that the next few seasons are unmissable.

Prepare for the most expensive shopping lists you have ever seen!




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The journalist

Writer: Lincolnsmariner Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday April 13 2010

Time: 9:31PM

Your Comments

Good article Eighth and a pretty fair assesment of the other 4th place contender's needs, although I suspect you could write for days about what's wrong with Liverpoor's squad! Hope we don't atttempt any more "marquee" signings but rather attempt to go for up and coming players who are hungry to win things. The potential signing of Jerome Boateng from HSV is a good start I reckon.
fifthcolumnblue
Have you forgotten Lennon? Please name 3 right wingers currently in the premier league who is better than him?? :)
NorwaySpurs
Lennon is a top winger, but with him crocked all the time, you need someone better than Bentley to replace him - he has no pace. On the left you have two quality players who perform 100% in every game.
eighthsin
Fabregas, Torres, Gerrard, Rooney and Messi will do for starters - forget all the bit players.
Wswilly3
Spurs have got two quality left sided players (Krancjar & Bale) and also Modric who can cover there, but I bet you 'arry tries for Martin Petrov in the summer - he's always admired Petrov and won't be able to resist a free transfer. Which is OK by me, great player on his day, but surplus to requirements at Eastlands. Will have Gareth Bale off the Spurs if they're interested!
fifthcolumnblue
If only!
eighthsin
Left back is a concerning area it has to be said
arthur7171
I would have thought you guys would bring in Balotelli in the summer as he can operate from either wing or up front on his own. Tevez, Adebayor, Balotelli as a front free would make a great first assault on the champions league. I can also see you bringing in the other Toure brother Yaya into midfield, barca have busquets and have chased mascherano in the past. If you pushed lescott out to left back you could squeeze chiellini in alongside kolo.
tuscan3000
Good article!
HuddersfieldYiddo
I couldnt name one NorwaySpurs! But i think the writer was suggesting that Bentley isnt good enough, and he may have a point. I happen to rate Huddlestone though
HuddersfieldYiddo
Good article mate. I don't think we will go all guns blazing like last time, well considered signings who will dramatically improve the team will do, we just have a couple of target ares that need competition. Rm, Cm, Lb
Once a Blue
Huddlestone will come good eventually, and I think the signing of Sandro will push him a lot harder. Regarding Balotelli, I would love to see him at CoMS if he is available. Yaya Toure is fantastic, and would be a fantastic replacement for Viera next season. Theres tons of possibilities really, but so much depends on teams getting into the champions league.
eighthsin
I know you guys dont want to tempt fate but there is no way in hell liverpool or villa will get 4th; and spurs are well known for choking.
tuscan3000
The bin dippers are completely off the boil but I dont think Spurs can be counted out yet, anything can happen on derby days and they might just beat Arsenal. Villa can overtake the bin dippers and run City and Spurs close with their games in hand and easier run-in, but it remains to be seen if they can hold their nerve.
eighthsin
Top article, but we have to get P4 first.
johnkelv
I reckon Mancio has a file titled: Transfer Targets If We Finish 4th!
Johnny Baguette
good article Eighthsin, a fair assessment of the contenders. its been a good season and it is not over yet. I think Liverpool are out of it, Villa are on an outside chance Spurs have the hardest possible finish having to play all four teams currently above us whilst City are in the driving seat and that reflects closely on the players we need to bring in to our relative squads.
keefdayid
 

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