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Team Sheet or Balance Sheet?

Some of the moaning about a threadbare squad and that our season is over is pathetic in my opinion.

Sure not having an extra striker is a big gamble that could very easily bite us on the arse, but other than that are we really any worse off? Take a look at who our rivals have bought and perhaps only Liverpool can boast of doing more and maybe better business than us, but they were starting from a weaker position and still loon woefully inconsistent. Arsenal have bought in a left back, Chelsea, a second striker (yes they have two, or arguably one and a half..) Everton have signed an 18 year old right back. Did we really do that much worse?

The loss of Sandro is obviously a massive loss, but do you go and buy a replacement when a player gets injured? Scott Parker will surely get back to his best with games, Livermore is vastly under-rated. Huddlestone is also an option, though I am a little disappointed that he wasnt sold. If we lose Dembele, we have Lewis Holtby, who I feel could fit into a deeper role very easily. Similarly what about Tom Carroll. We were all raving about him a few months ago. I also like Dean Parrett and Massimo Louongo, who both have real Prem potential, but might just need the chance to prove it.

Lose Bale or Lennon, and I feel confident that we would actually see Dempsey and Sigurdsson step up their games and have a greater impact on the team. You can't really replace like for like in either case, but I do feel that as good as they are, their loss wouldn't be as catastrophic as it would have been last season.

We talk about lacking cover at LB, but we havent had BAE all season. Now we have three fit full backs and didn't we buy a LB, who when he signed people were wanting him to play straight away (despite never seeing him play) At CB we are in exactly the same position with four fit players. Kaboul will be back at the end of the month, all going well to make us embarrassed for cover. Also with 5 CB's we also have Vertonghen and Kaboul/Gallas for full back cover if we are desperate. In Goal, we have moved on Gomes and Carlo, but still have Lloris and Brad. How many times do clubs actually need a third keeper (I have not put the kiss of death on things...)

In attack we still have a worrying position of Defoe struggling with injury and Adebayor at the ACoN, however we could have Emmanuel back next week, if Togo lose, and is Dempsey totally incapable of playing No9, even if it isn't his best position? Again to show the fickleness of fans, a little while ago, Jon Obika was a superstar, just needing an opportunity, he misses a chance at Elland Road and he is useless. Didn't Cristiano Ronaldo miss from three yards the other day?

Perhaps we have a worry over squad numbers, but is that more from the bench as opposed to a starting XI? If we look at the stats, of all the players we have loaned out, only Jermaine Jenas started a Premiership game and in total we have seen six appearances from the bench, with Andros Townsend making five of those. Losing bench options might be a worry, but is it also an opportunity for the likes of Carroll, Obika, Loungo, Parrett and Bostock to stake their own claim for a place in the squad next season?

What we have clearly achieved, is to lighten the load on the clubs wage bill. Losing JJ, Gomes, Cudicini alone will probably cut 5m a year of that total. I believe that we can still offload players to the Championship, so will we also see the likes of David Bentley move in the very near future? As sad and frustrating as it is, we are in a situation where we have to find the balance between the team sheet and balance sheet, and getting that mix right is where we have to aim.

In future perhaps we need to forget the ITK and Media talk about 20m+ signings and accept that they will be extremely rare, to non existent under the current financial situation and if the means we lave to lower our expectations for bright and expensive superstars, then so be it. I actually like the idea of growing our own and I know I would get far more satisfaction in seeing Jon Obika or Harry Kane hit a winner that I ever would from Leandro Damiao or another overly hyped player that has little or no real affinity with my football club...

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The journalist

Writer: OxfordSpur Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday February 1 2013

Time: 12:00PM


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