Saturday, January 22, 2011

Rout's route out

Confirmation yesterday that wide man Wayne Routledge has winged his way back to west London for the rest of the season. I've already given my thoughts on the decision to let him go here - clearly Alan Pardew doesn't rate him, but I wonder whether he wouldn't come in handy on occasions. Like today, for instance, when we're alarmingly short of midfielders - Alan Smith and Dan Gosling having joined the injury list.

Recent paper talk does at least suggest that Pardew acknowledges that's an area where we're a little short. In addition to Sebastian Larsson and Shaun Wright-Phillips, we've been linked with Villa's Stephen Ireland and the superbly named Tranquillo Barnetta of Bayer Leverkusen. Prior to leaving Eastlands for Villa Park while James Milner went the other way, Ireland was arguably one of Man City's best performers, even amidst their plethora of multi-million-pound superstars. If he was to rediscover the mojo he's misplaced, he could be a splendid signing. What little I've seen of Swiss international Barnetta suggests he would be a good acquisition too.

However, Pardew's underlined the need for clear-headed decision making and caution in the transfer market: "This window is notoriously difficult for making bad deals, and I think there's been a couple gone through already, which I won't mention, that don't look good value to me." Thinking of anyone in particular, Alan?

Speaking of Darren Bent, that whining sound you can hear emanating from the Dark Place is Ol' Cauliflower Face, still bitter at the striker's defection to Villa. Having been criticised for their conduct by 5under1and's manager, Villa responded with a statement accusing him of trying to "besmirch" the reputation of the player and his new club (clearly Villa's PR goon thinks he's in a Victorian novel). And, as When Saturday Comes' James Dielhenn has pointed out, when it comes to disloyal and mercenary behaviour Bruce hardly has a leg to stand on...

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Blogger Michael said...

You're right about Routledge. Why let him go out on loan when Ben Arfa and Gosling (the two people who could conceivably provide cover on that side) are both out with injury? It's not as if we're saving (or making) much money on the deal.

Do we have a replacement lined up? You wouldn't have thought so given the amount of time we spent chasing Larssen (and Bentley? SWP?). The joys of a transfer policy controlled by Mike Ashley...

11:20 a.m.  
Blogger Ben said...

Gutierrez could fill in there, I suppose - but of course that would leave us without anyone to play on the left so it wouldn't actually solve the problem of being short-staffed.

I have to say, though, that despite being no fan of Ashley the transfer policy has been reasonably good in the last year and a half. Certainly we recruited the right sort of players last January and again in the summer. Hopefully we can do the same again before this month is out - but yes, a right-sided midfielder is one of several priorities.

7:36 p.m.  
Blogger Michael said...

Last January, definitely, but I don't think we've made the most of either the summer or this transfer window. Still no cover at left-back, for example, which is something we've been lacking for at least two years. If only two of Tiote, Carroll, Barton or Enrique were out for any significant length of time we'd struggle badly to replace them from the existing squad. By comparison to the previous shambles, our transfer record has improved, but the links with people like Bentley and Ireland (if true) suggest we still don't have a fully coherent transfer policy even now. Pardew wants experience, Ashley demands youth. We end up, so far, with neither.

9:24 a.m.  
Blogger Ben said...

I think the current injury crisis is exacerbating the situation - but of course that's what it takes to underline our deficiencies. Agreed that a reserve left-back is key, but we also need a striker and another midfielder or two. If Ireland could rediscover even half the form he had at Man City, he'd be a very useful addition.

1:00 p.m.  

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