Date:Wednesday June 24 2009
This Window - O'Neill's Last Chance Saloon? Not for Me
Seen it said by many on here that this summers spend will be the one to decide O'Neill's future.
Can't see why, I don't like his methods, I don't like his transfer dealings, I think his lack of tactics stinks, but I don't think he'll not come up with enough to keep his job and ensure another decent season.
He's no longer new to the job, he's soon to be the longest serving manager since Gregory, and in 3 seasons of transfer dealings, he's still doing it as he did at Celtic, so why would he change? He won't.
I have little faith in his ability to assess players . He prefers 11 workaholics, players who never give up the cause no matter what. Not my idea but it works to a degree, always has always will.
Then of course there is the question of funds available. This must be the first window since Randy bought the club that his funding has not been brought into question. I predicted last summer that he would give plenty of cash and he did. This summer with 15 mill already in the kitty and more to come, from player sales, I expect at least another 50 mill plus spend.
That said, I can't see us replacing Laursen and Barry with as good a quality player, I'm not too sure there are any under 40 mill, on today's prices, but that in O'Neill's terms may be a good thing. I just do not believe he will risk a high price on anyone, simply because he won't put himself in that position. Not for him 18 mill for an above average right back, its simply not his way.
I think we can look to a new style of play next season, one less dependent on Barry's ability more dependent on the style Leicester and Celtic played all those years ago.
Our defence, on which he spent so much still needs improving, but I'm sure he will keep faith with those he bought last summer, maybe not Shorey. Up front he has his options already, he must be happy with Heskey, Carew and I'm sure he feels Gabby is good enough, so given a season of no nightclubs, few injuries and no loss of speed, what would he need, He has cover in the Fonz, so any new faces. Yes, but its not , as I see he sees it, a priority unless he sells Harewood .
Its in midfield that the real problems arise. Not that he doesn't have a surfeit of talent already.
Don't forget my earlier premise that he will adopt a new style of play one that will be geared to using the skills of the likes of Sidwell and Coker, unless of course he feels they need moving on. That said, is the talent he has good enough.
For me, of all our squad, the midfield area is the weakest even if it's the most rich in quantity. For me it lacks quality, even if as I suspect his aim will be to adopt a more aggressive running style around target strikers.No its back to a more energy filled in your face approach and for that you need more Milners, more Sidwell's players able to run and run with an ability to arrive late and benefit from laybacks, also ideally able to go wide and cross a ball hard.
In many respects I hope I'm wrong, I hope those who dream of big named talent full of beautiful skills are proved right. Thing is this is Martin O'Neill and he doesn't really buy such. He's more a Lennon, a Thompson, a Petrov than a Barry, an Alonso or a Robinho. I think Barry being retained for 12 months has given him time enough to formulate a plan its been there at times.
What it will mean to Randy's ambition of CL football, will of course depend on the quality of player he brings in, whether he plays them and whether they adjust quickly enough. This season will be the first where he will have little or no hang up from anything other than his own making and I cannot see any problem with surviving in the PL, if he gets enough decent players to stop this habit he has of playing half fit players like they did in the 80's. That I think is where he feels he needs his 8 extra players. I think that will be pushing it, but I expect plenty of new faces, a few more exits and another top of mid table finish.
Date:Wednesday June 24 2009
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