The first round of consultation on the starting XI led to interesting suggestions. In a nutshell, it seems that Jesus has been rubber stamped by the AA bloggers as a viable option as CF but for the DM/CM position, there is a debate still especially (i) regarding whether or not Arteta would drop Xhaka to the bench and (ii) regarding whether Tielemans or Neves are good targets…All and all, it seems that Bissouma may be more welcome…my preference goes to Philips there but based on the previous post, the strating XI line-up would be:
Ramsey – Tomy, White, Gabs, Tierney – Partey, BISSOUMA – Saka, Ode, Martinelli – JESUS
Now, there was also some discussion related to whether we needed to actually bring in a LFW to compete with Martinelli. Fair point as well but would it slow down Martinelli’s growth?
So off to the rest of the squad…In an ideal world, you have a squad of 23 players (3 goalkeepers) that should be supplemented by 5 youth players that would train with the senior team and be given playing in Cups or even at the end of games when games are under control…
- for our back-up GK: Turner has been recruited and Leno is off (Benfica pbbly). The 3rd GK would remain Okwonko.
- for our back-up RB: Bellerin wants to stay at Betis, Cedric wants to stay with us and we do not know about AMN yet. Cedric is a decent squad player but we need a better back-up than him. As for AMN, let us bring this discussion later on. We re playing European football and domestic cups, Tomy cannot handle all the games. We do not have a stellar RB in our youth set up as far as I know so we have to go in the markey. Lamptey and Aarons could be option, no?
- for our back-up CB: Holding has been ok except vs Spurs and Arteta wants Saliba back so we are nicely covered in this position. We have to see what we do with Mari and also Ballard…
- for our back-up LB: Tavares has been more a miss than a hit but he shouldn’t necessarily be totally discarded – maybe we could loan him out? We do need a player there for sure – the press mentions Hickey.
- For our back up DM/CM: We have El Neny, Lokonga and if we recruit a starting DM/CM, we will also have Xhaka as part of the rotation in this position. Will it be enough? Depends on who we recruit in the DM/CM? In terms of youth in this CM position, we have Patino, Azeez and maybe even M’Hand. Torreira, we don’t know but seems he will go. Douzi already sold to OM .
- For our RFW position back-up: We currently have Pepe who has been really frustrated and frustrating. A clearly talented player who seems to have lost his way at AFC, a real shame…Might be time to cut the losses and to sell him to the highest bidder. This is clearly a position that requires strengthening, players like Harrison and Bowen could be nice additions. The press speaks about Marquinhos from Sao Paolo too.
- For our ACM position back-up, we have the wonderful ESR who is decisive when he comes on. He is key to our success and definitely pushing Ode for the starting spot. There is no real need to recruit at this position.
- For our LFW position, Martinelli has been wonderful but for all his hard work and energy, the final outputs (goals, assists) can still be improved. It would be good to push him to reach the next level. Of course, someone like Leao, St-Maximin or Raphinha or even Kostic would be fantastic but would be hard to get them at AFC…but what about someone like Barnes or A. Traore? What do we do with R. Nelson? Any kid from the academy good enough to play winder (Taylor Hart, John Jules, Akinola?)
- For our CF position, it seems that Nketiah will stay and Balogun will come back. They are good squad players but we may need another player that brings in either more experience, depth in the game (running behind defenses) or aerial threat depending on who we recruit as our starting CF. What do we do with Biereth?
Finally, there is the question related to AMN. A very good squad player who wants to be more. He tried at AFC but did not make it. Went to Roma and there again, he did not hold a starting position. Is it time for him to go and for us to let go? He would be a great addition to a mid-table team or even to a squad like Newcastle…At the same time his versatility and physical strength have helped us with our last FA Cup…Shouldn’t we hold on to him?
Here is the back-up team:
Add: Okwonko, Ballard, Lokonga, Patino or Azeez, Balogun
Loan out to an EPL outfit: Tavares, Patino or Azeez, Biereth
Let go of: Leno, Bellerin, Cedric, Mari, AMN, Torreira, Pepe
So which squad players would you like to add to the team? Remember, not starters…