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32 minutes ago, Mr Marvellous said:

 

You're forgetting a central midfielder, which is absolutely crucial, right now we have 3, and neither Dave or Luiz are midfielders, by any stretch.

Well, I'm not really forgetting anything - Luiz has played there previously, and done a pretty good job from what I remember, and I certainly can't see that Azpilicueta would be found wanting either - he certainly has the game for it.  However, when I first raised their names (thank you for remembering.....:)), for that position, it was as acceptable cover IF we didn't buy another player before the season commences. And I'll stick with that - IF we don't buy another player, then i have little doubt that Azpi and Luiz could step in.

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Bertrand makes no sense at all, apart from the fact he's homegrown. He is not an upgrade on Alonso.

He doesn't need to be an upgrade on Alonso, imo. Alonso is first choice, and I'm happy with that. And yes, Bertrand IS homegrown - fairly important the way our squad sits at the moment, I'd have thought.

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Paying £60m for a world class WB makes perfect sense, as it's possibly the most crucial position in a 343. If you get somebody in who's a significant upgrade in a crucial position for 60m, in today's market you do it.

It may make perfect sense to you, but it doesn't to me. Again, imo, we don't need a 'significant upgrade' on Alonso, just a back up/competition. And you wouldn't know for sure and certain if Sandro was a significant upgrade or not, until you actually see him perform in the Prem, where Alonso has performed.. And from what I've been reading, that possibility appears to be less likely with every passing day. So debating this is pretty pointless, imo.

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5 minutes ago, Michael Tucker said:

Well, I'm not really forgetting anything - Luiz has played there previously, and done a pretty good job from what I remember, and I certainly can't see that Azpilicueta would be found wanting either - he certainly has the game for it.  However, when I first raised their names (thank you for remembering.....:)), for that position, it was as acceptable cover if we did't buy another player before the season commences. And I'll stick with that - IF we don't buy another player, then I have little doubt that Azpi and Luiz could step in.

He doesn't need to be an upgrade on Alonso, imo. Alonso is first choice, and I'm happy with that. And yes, Bertrand IS homegrown - fairly important the way our squad sits at the moment, I'd have thought.

It may make perfect sense to you, but it doesn't to me. Again, imo, we don't need a 'significant upgrade' on Alonso, just a back up/competition. And you wouldn't know if Sandro was a significant upgrade or not, until you actually see him perform in the Prem. And from what I've been reading, that possibility appears to be less likely with every passing day.

 

If you're happy to go into the new season with 3 central midfielders I'm glad you're not our manager. I disagree that Luiz performed well in that role, but regardless, it's been a long time since he did so. As for Bertrand being homegrown, it works in his favour but it's hardly crucial the way things stand. As for Sandro being an upgrade and worth a hefty sum, our manager seems to be of that opinion and I think he's probably right.

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1 hour ago, Mr Marvellous said:

If you're happy to go into the new season with 3 central midfielders I'm glad you're not our manager.

There you go, twisting what was actually said - again. It has nothing to do with being happy, or not -  I said that we could cope with those guys as options, IF we didn't buy another player before the season starts. 

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I disagree that Luiz performed well in that role, but regardless, it's been a long time since he did so.

What, you think that he's forgotten how to play there?

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As for Bertrand being homegrown, it works in his favour but it's hardly crucial the way things stand.

How many homegrown players do we currently have in our squad? I suggest that 'crucial' is exactly what it is, whether that impacts the left back spot, or not. Certainly, bringing in Bertrand would help.

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As for Sandro being an upgrade and worth a hefty sum, our manager seems to be of that opinion and I think he's probably right.

Let's be perfectly frank here - neither you nor I would know what Conte's opinion is on this, because he's said the square root of f*** all on the subject (or any other subject for that matter) since he returned from holiday. All you have to go by is what the media tells you - and good luck with that!

Whether we bring back Bertrand, or not, we have options for covering that left back/wingback spot with Baba Rahman and possibly, Kenedy, without the necessity of tossing away huge money for a player who does't appear to want to sign for us anyway!

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xCELERYx   
37 minutes ago, Mr Marvellous said:

You're forgetting a central midfielder, which is absolutely crucial, right now we have 3, and neither Dave or Luiz are midfielders, by any stretch.

Well, we technically have 6 options at present - Fabregas, Kante, Bakayoko, Matic, Baker and Pasalic. How many of those remain we'll have to wait and see. But at present, CM isn't as pressed as you make seem.

25 minutes ago, Mr Marvellous said:

Conte doesn't want to be going into next season with the same XI, more or less. He wants upgrades. Right now the only player we've brought in who's coming into the side is Bakayoko, and he might not be fit for the start. Conte wants to freshen this side up with better players, that's why he's going after Sandro. Shame it doesn't look like happening.

Don't discount Rudiger coming into the side either and Azpi moving over to RWB. He's more in keeping with the style of CB that Conte favours in terms of his attributes. While Azpi at RWB strengthens us there and signing another WB becomes less of a priority. Also allows Moses to push further up if required to add some extra depth at AM with Hazard out. Conte's got options. 

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cii99mn1   
35 minutes ago, xCELERYx said:

Well, we technically have 6 options at present - Fabregas, Kante, Bakayoko, Matic, Baker and Pasalic. How many of those remain we'll have to wait and see. But at present, CM isn't as pressed as you make seem.

Don't discount Rudiger coming into the side either and Azpi moving over to RWB. He's more in keeping with the style of CB that Conte favours in terms of his attributes. While Azpi at RWB strengthens us there and signing another WB becomes less of a priority. Also allows Moses to push further up if required to add some extra depth at AM with Hazard out. Conte's got options. 

True. Pasalic might be deemed good enough by Conte to be fourth choice CM. In that case a striker and a LWB are the priorities right now.

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GURJ SS   
37 minutes ago, xCELERYx said:

Don't discount Rudiger coming into the side either and Azpi moving over to RWB. He's more in keeping with the style of CB that Conte favours in terms of his attributes. While Azpi at RWB strengthens us there and signing another WB becomes less of a priority. Also allows Moses to push further up if required to add some extra depth at AM with Hazard out. Conte's got options. 

Rudiger is better than Azpi in the air(and that's only because of the height difference), apart from that Azpi beats him by a mile with anything else. Rudiger has the odd attempted long ball in a game, but replacing him with Azpi just for attempting 2-3 long balls each game is madness. Azpi struggled in the air against the likes of Lukaku, Llorente and Benteke last season, but so did everyone else in the league; I don't get why anyone would want Azpi at RWB when he was the best CB in the league last season; even my mates who support other top teams have admitted they'd have him at CB ahead of their club's CBs.

Azpi a better RWB than Moses? At defending yes, but the whole point of a wing back is that they are really good attacking players with very good positional sense and speed(or in Alonso's case a genius at football to make up for the lack of pace); Moses suits RWB far better than Azpi and he put in some brilliant displays last season. In my opinion we need to keep things as they are for those two positions, unless Danilo comes in; which in that case Moses drops to the bench to challenge for both LWB and RWB - would give us healthy competition. But Azpi is perfect in a back 3, if we are concerned about a threat in the air, then we should address the other 2 centre backs; Azpi is fine.

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xCELERYx   
1 hour ago, GURJ SS said:

Rudiger is better than Azpi in the air(and that's only because of the height difference), apart from that Azpi beats him by a mile with anything else. Rudiger has the odd attempted long ball in a game, but replacing him with Azpi just for attempting 2-3 long balls each game is madness. Azpi struggled in the air against the likes of Lukaku, Llorente and Benteke last season, but so did everyone else in the league; I don't get why anyone would want Azpi at RWB when he was the best CB in the league last season; even my mates who support other top teams have admitted they'd have him at CB ahead of their club's CBs.

Azpi a better RWB than Moses? At defending yes, but the whole point of a wing back is that they are really good attacking players with very good positional sense and speed(or in Alonso's case a genius at football to make up for the lack of pace); Moses suits RWB far better than Azpi and he put in some brilliant displays last season. In my opinion we need to keep things as they are for those two positions, unless Danilo comes in; which in that case Moses drops to the bench to challenge for both LWB and RWB - would give us healthy competition. But Azpi is perfect in a back 3, if we are concerned about a threat in the air, then we should address the other 2 centre backs; Azpi is fine.

I'm fully aware of what Rudiger brings and how his game is tailored having watched him during his time at Roma. His height and physicality is something we'll benefit from from greatly in comparison to Azpi. Not sure people quite realise the difference it actually makes as a CB having that added size, Sure, Azpi is a better one-on-one defender given he's played fullback essentially his entire career, however we really did struggle as a team with balls into the box - be it from open play or set pieces. Rudiger will hopefully help nullify this further. Outside of those two main areas they're not all too dissimilar in the grand scheme of things. I'm sure Azpi will play CB still, but this now frees us up to play him at RWB if Conte feels he's better served. I mean, his one-on-one defending in that position is world class so he'd be an instant improvement in that aspect over Moses.

Not disagreeing that Moses has been excellent and is suited to RWB. Azpi would now provide another option, whether he becomes first choice or not there remains to be seen, that's entirely up to Conte and I'm sure will be dependent on who else me may or may not sign.

A little rich stating we should worry about our other CB's when it comes to dealing with threats in the air, given that Azpi was the one directly out muscled, beaten and responsible for conceding goals in such circumstances on more than just the one occasion. When it comes to that particular area, he is the weakest link. Unsurprising and all given he's like 5'10" and a fullback by trade. 

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3 hours ago, xCELERYx said:

A little rich stating we should worry about our other CB's when it comes to dealing with threats in the air, given that Azpi was the one directly out muscled, beaten and responsible for conceding goals in such circumstances on more than just the one occasion.

How many times?

Every time people claim Azpilicueta's size is a problem with him playing centre back and he struggled in the air I ask how many times we conceded goals because of this as to me it is a myth made up by some on here. Nobody has answered yet.

So how many times last season did we concede goals because he was beaten in the air?

 

Edited by Martin1905

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xCELERYx   
1 hour ago, Martin1905 said:

How many times?

Every time people claim Azpilicueta's size is a problem with him playing centre back and he struggled in the air I ask how many times we conceded goals because of this as to me it is a myth made up by some on here. Nobody has answered yet.

So how many times last season did we concede goals because he was beaten in the air?

 

Isn't black and white like that though. While yes, he's been directly responsible at times, there's also times when he hasn't but his inability to defend the situation because of what he lacks has put us under further pressure. Now, at times this has cost us with a goal, sometimes we've managed to get away with it. The bottom line remains that we want to improve on these areas so they become less of a factor or weakness. 

To humour you though with a few instances I can remember.

  •  Going to put his failed clearance with his chest against Leicester City here because that was awful defending period.
  • He was outmuscled by Crouch who received a long ball upfield, was able to control it and lay the ball off. Azpi then failed to stick to his marker and the result was Crouch eventually scoring inside the box, albeit with a failed last ditch effort by Azpi to block.
  • Was caught under the ball (misread it from the start as he took a step or two towards the middle before having to go back) from a Man Utd cross, in which Ibrahimovic towered over him for essentially an unchallenged header that was put over the bar.
  • Caught completely in no mans land between two defenders, allowed Ali to ghost in unmarked for a header from Eriksons cross. 
  • Failed to mark his man to start with and was subsequently caught out from a cross aimed towards the back post resulting in Ali scoring a second header.
  • Cross was chipped in by Liverpool and left Azpi caught between two players and marking no one. This allowed Liverpool an overlap at the back post. Cross made it out wide (as Moses was also tucked inside marking the man Azpi should have been) to the free man out there who put the ball back in and resulted with a Liverpool headed goal.
  • Ball was crossed over him for a headed goal in our 3-1 win vs Arsenal. Taller defender could have potentially have cut that ball out, or got something on it at a minimum. Harsh, but also why being undersized can be an issue when set up in a system that will be asked to defend a high volume of crosses.
  • Outmuscled by Benteke who held Azpi off after receiving ball at feet, was able to shift it a yard inside and get a shot off that found the back of the net.
  • Caught out (along with Luiz) by that quality cross from Erikson in the FA Cup that Ali scored from. Will chalk this more down as a suburb ball than poor defending.
  • Failed to clear the ball from a Southampton cross (as the first man), which he instead ended up flicking on with a header and concluded with Southampton scoring.

I'm sure there are some other instances that resulted in near misses or put us under additional pressure but I think you get the point. 

What I will say is that you shouldn't confuse my stance on the matter. Azpi is one of my favourite players, the way he approaches the game is exactly what I love and he's a genuine world class defender. As a CB he's done incredibly well by all accounts and I'm sure he could continue doing so. However, if we're talking about becoming a stronger defensive unit and being harder to break down, particularly in the one glaring weak spot we had (balls into the box), then he's the weakest link due to his smaller stature, lack of physicality, and not being able to strongly contest in the air. This aren't personal faults, he just lacks these attributes. Just as Alonso lacks pace, or Cahill lacks when it comes to one-on-one defending at ground level. Having a bigger physical body in that position means a side cannot target an undersized player in the air, it means a more even match up physically with other CF's and the overall ability to better manage with play that comes in via the air.

Rudiger (and Christensen for that matter) gives us this option now (Rudiger's preferred position is RCB) to negate this aspect. I'm sure Azpi will still pick up games at RCB, but at least now we have alternatives depending on what we're up against. Against teams that aren't as physical and look to play on the floor, Azpi makes perfect sense with his quality 1vs1 defending. Up against a more direct opponent that likes to pump the ball forward or are more physical upfront, that might be a situation better fitting of a bigger built and airily more dominant Rudiger or a Christensen. It's about having options. The ability to adapt to each environment. That's something we lacked defensively last season by having so many limited options - An ageing and slow JT, a technically incumbent Zouma and later on another physically undersized and inexperienced (in terms of CB), Ake.  Now Conte has - Cahill, Luiz, Rudiger, Christensen and Azpi to call upon whenever desired. A far better balanced selection.

Edited by xCELERYx

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Ham   

 

Worth reading anything into this?

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