When the inevitable Pienaar deal is concluded then I believe our squad will more than likely finish around about the same as the previous few seasons, between 6th and 8th. I dont think its a case of starting well and then we will finish well because I feel that if we start well we will probably then end up having a bad end to the season.
If you look at the final tables from the past 3-4 seasons, teams generally end up in positions depending on the quality at their disposal. With Pienaar added to the squad we are probably the 7th strongest in the league, I believe behind Liverpool but still stronger than Newcastle. We still lack that little bit extra which will take us above that and battle for 4th which is where we need to be to go to the next level. In order for us to do this we need 2 more signings of players who will be first team players. Naismith is a squad player and although I dont know much about him he is not going to be the same level as Pienaar or even Osman, at least not in his first season.
Its easy to throw around names of players that we need but any two players of Pienaar's calibre would raise us to this level. If you think back a couple of seasons, we went into the season with the most optimism that we had done for years, the season where we started with the 1-0 defeat at Blackburn. I believe we were stronger at that point in time than we are now as we had Arteta, Pienaar, Fellaini an awesome back 4, Cahill in form and Saha and Yakubu looking good. We are now slightly worse off than we were then so we really do need to add if we want to be competitive for 4th place. That team that season really did underachieve and should have picked up 10-15 points more than they did.
I think we are sound at the back, but we just need to add one more young creative type midfielder (very difficult to find for cheap) and possibly one more striker as an injury to Jelavic would leave far too much weight on the shoulder of Vic and Vellios. I think Magaye could be influential for us this season and so could Barkley but you cant rely on youth and they should only be rotation players.