The potential arrival of England full back Glen Johnson is a great move by Rafa Benitez.
As we all sat and reviewed last season and argued about where and how we didn’t win the league after losing just two games, I think 99% of us would have agreed our two weakest positions in the starting 11 are right back and left midfield/attack.
The goalkeeper, centre backs, holding midfielders and front two pick themselves in our strongest 11. I personally value Kuyt’s place on the right hand side and am more than happy to have Aurelio and Insua fight it out at left back.
I’m not suggesting Arbeloa is a weak player, but he is one of the weakest in our best 11. Clearly if we are to win the league these two positions are what need addressing this summer. The capture of Johnson addresses one and I hope to see the attacking left midfield berth next on Rafa’s list.
Much speculation has revolved around a new forward and how we must sign a top class player to play alongside Torres. I completely disagree with this train of thought. We have the best front two combination in World football in Torres and Gerrard. They link up perfectly, compliment each other and provide goals in abundance, why would we break that up? I said the same last summer when we signed Robbie Keane and that completely upset the balance of the team, why would we do that again?
I no longer see Gerrard as a midfielder, and with Alonso and Mascherano why would we need him in there?
Maybe we do need a forward as back-up to Torres, and that forward may indeed play a large percentage of games, but by no means should a forward be signed to be first choice alongside Torres. We currently have Kuyt as back-up, Ngog is maturing, Nemeth could break through if he has a good pre-season and another signing of good quality would add depth but is not crucial.
What is crucial is that we add a player to improve the wide left spot. For me, Babel can leave as of the current squad he is the only player who we can get good money for and I wouldn’t be overly upset to see go. That would leave only Riera and Benayoun as left side options. Both are good enough to be in our squad but neither are good enough to be first choice in a title winning side. Hopefully we can add somebody of real quality who can compliment the other attacking trio of Torres, Gerrard and Kuyt. Somebody who can offer something different, a creative spark.
Obvious candidates are Valencia’s David’s Silva and Villa. I’m not sure Villa would come to play on the left but Silva, who can easily interchange with Gerrard and Kuyt might be just the perfect foil. He would offer something different and be somewhat of a Luis Garcia type player with added quality and creativity.
At the end of the season I earmarked Johnson and Silva as my two most wanted players, both would hugely improve both our squad overall and our starting 11. Both won’t come cheap but it’s nice to finally see us competing and not losing out on targets to clubs with extra financial muscle.
If we offload Arbeloa, Dossena, Babel and Voronin we would have around Â£25m. Add the supposed summer budget of Â£25m and you have Â£50m. Easy enough to fund Silva and Johnson and add two more squad players to improve us.
If Arbeloa does leave obviously that leaves us still with little cover at right back. If Micah Richards is available for around Â£5m he’d be worth a gamble and can provide that cover and also be the fourth choice centre back we need after Sami’s departure.
I’d also take a punt on Tuncay from Middlesbrough.
So, my summer wishlist looks a bit like this;
Johnson, Silva, Richards, Tuncay, back-up forward
Arbeloa, Dossena, Babel, Voronin (and Pennant)
Something similar to that wouldn’t cost the earth and be within budget but still improve our starting 11 and squad immensely.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.