Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The right-back conundrum

So now that Levy has a back pocket full of cash following the departure of Carrick (who?!? our midfield maestro is Zokora... Carrick is SO last season), maybe it's time to splash out on a right-back. Or is it? Press reports today have mooted the idea of Lee Young-Pyo switching from left-back to right-back, leaving the new signing Benoit Assou-Ekotto as the first choice left-back for the coming season.

Whether we delve back into the transfer market or make do with who we have it seems clear that Paul Stalteri's days as a first team regular seem numbered. And rightly so in my opinion. Other than Stephen Kelly, I felt Stalteri was our weakest player last season. I'm not saying he had a bad season, and I admit that most of the time he was reasonably effective, but there were too many occasions when his concentration dropped and we got caught out. I can't remember the exact matches but I'm pretty sure two of our last minute meltdowns were as a result of Stalteri errors. So yes he's a pretty good player most of the time, but to be a successful defender in the Premier League, 'most' is not enough.

Personally I'd like to see Pascal Chimbonda join us from Wigan, but at this point it seems that Jol does not believe he's worth the £6 million asking price, as we've had plenty of smaller bids (including player exchanges) rejected. So we should either come up with the cash (and we can certainly afford it after the Carrick departure), or give up on it. I'd like to see Pascal at right-back with Stalteri as cover. And then Young-Pyo and Assou-Ekotto fighting it out for the left-back berth.

There is this idea of getting Young-Pyo to switch sides but I'm not convinced that's the answer. I think wide players, particularly defenders as opposed to wingers, should play on the side that suits their dominant foot. Now we still have a couple of friendlies remaining so there's a chance to give it a go, but personally I think that's really only an option if we fail to land Chimbonda.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very good - it is a real conundrum and one which could prove vital in our quest for Champions League football.
p.s. nice name!!!