Twitter is a beautiful thing, it’s now a go to for the latest information and breaking news. As football fans we too use it to see the latest transfer news and to hear what the ITK’s have to say… however dubious it may turn out to be.
On the other hand though, it gives plenty of people the platform to voice their opinions about their club, or for a higher proportion, their rival club. It’s been very entertaining to read about how Everton are signing ‘mediocre’ players and that we’re going to be consolidating 7th for the years to come. For a number of reasons, it’s laughable.
We’ve spent over £90 million already this summer, and I can’t see it stopping there.
Yet each player we’ve signed, for one reason or another, is being touted as overpriced and not good enough – I disagree.
Jordon Pickford was the first in, up to £30 million I see as a solid investment for a lad who’s going to be one of the better goalkeepers in the league.
“He conceded 50 goals in the league”, “his team finished bottom of the league” – is all we see on twitter from that lot over the park.
Facts yes, but when you’re playing for a side as poor as Sunderland were last season. When you look deeper into the stats though, he shows great promise. Pickford may have conceded 50 goals, but he made 110 saves in the 29 games he played, saving near 3 times the amount in comparison to Mignolet (45) who conceded 30 in 28 games. Not only is he a quality shot stopper, his distribution has been noted by many as his prime quality.
With an average distribution length of 53m he is going to have a key role in starting quick counter attacks, towards the likes of Sandro, Mirallas, Lukaku* and eventually Bolasie using their pace.
Finally something we’ve wanted is a keeper who commands his area, how many times would you want the likes of Howard and Robles coming out their six yard box to claim a cross or a high ball?
Pickford had a 97% claim success last season, and had significantly more punches and catches than the likes of De Gea, Lloris and Courtois. Granted he’ll have faced more crosses and long balls than the bigger teams, but you still have to make the saves, which he is, and that’s something I for one am very happy with. As for him being part of a relegated team, I only have to name the likes of Phil Jagielka, Joleon Lescott, Andy Johnson and more recently Idrissa Gueye, as players who’ve gone down yet all had varying levels of success. Going down doesn’t make you a bad player.
We then have Davy Klaassen, the captain of Ajax and a Dutch international, since when did that make you a poor player? The Ajax academy is widely known to have produced some of the finest players over the years; Johan Cruyff, Frank Rijkaard, Dennis Bergkamp, the De Boer brothers, Patrick Kluivert, Clarence Seedorf, Wesley Sneijder, Christian Eriksen… the list literally goes on and on.
He scored 13 league goals and had 9 assists from midfield, though in a poorer standard of league, he still led his side to the Europa League final. He also won last year’s Dutch Footballer of the Year, an award won by our own Ronald Koeman on a couple of occasions, but also last year by Gini Wijnaldum, who the Liverpool fans rate ever so highly. So what’s stopping Klaassen having the same impact in the Premier League? He fits Koeman’s style of player, he’s got an engine on him, will press from the front, quality on the ball and has the occasional screamer in him. Plus who doesn’t love a “top 10 goals” on Youtube? This one’s worth a watch, anyone should appreciate the variation in his goals, the arriving late into the box and throwing his head at anything:
Sandro Ramirez, a product of the Barcelona’s La Masia, and FIVE million pounds.
In today’s market that is an absurd transfer fee, particularly when we’re shifting Aidan McGeady out for near the same amount. Like most I have only watched the videos online and the odd Malaga match on the TV when they played the likes of Madrid and Barcelona. What we can see is a young player with bags of ability and the potential to only get better. 14 goals in the league is a decent return for a mid-table side, with 5 coming from set pieces, which is a welcome addition as (correct me if I’m wrong) I can only recall Lukaku’s free kick against Palace being our only one for the season. The hilarious comparison for the reds though is their former corner taking extraordinaire Iago Aspas scoring 5 more than Ramirez in the league. Though he couldn’t perform in the PL, anyone who watches football could see he’s built for a less physical and more technical league, hence why he’s scored over 30 goals in his last 2 seasons. Even with this I’ve no doubt SR has everything Ronald Koeman desires: the high work rate, ability to use his body, pace and the technical ability on both feet.
Michael Keane, again another young English player for up to £30 million, “wouldn’t get into our team” they say. The favourite stat of mine was ‘errors leading to goals’… none. How many times have we shaken our heads at defensive mishaps, from Jags last year with a number of dodgy backpasses, Williams’ lack of composure on the ball, even when Distin passed it back to… actually I won’t bring that up, it didn’t happen. Back to Keane, last year he won more aerial and total duals, made more blocks and had a total higher defensive score in comparison to Matip and Lovren, as well as Gary Cahill and Toby Alderweireld just to give a deeper comparison. He’s tall, commanding centre half who can play out from the back but has the physical presence to keep our backline solid, and he’s going to be an ever present in the England side in the years to come.
I’ll be honest, I’ve not really much to say for Henry Onyekuru, hadn’t heard of him until a few months ago when Arsenal were apparently in for him. From clips watched online he looks like he’s got pace to burn, he’s tricky and he’s got a decent finish on him. A spell at Anderlecht can only do him well, hopefully playing champions league and helping him develop. I’ve no reason to doubt Steve Walsh or RK, and at £7 million it definitely seems worth the risk.
All in all we’ve signed 4 real quality players who are only going to make our squad stronger, and another who may do so in a season or two to come. With the Europa League and hopefully a good pair of cup runs, these signings and a few more to come are imperative, as well as the quality coming through the academy with the likes of the u20 World Cup winners. With all these, I can say for certain I’ve not been this excited for a season since we finished 4th, and I’m looking forward to around May time when all the “terrible signings, you’re going to finish mid table” tweets from the summer resurface to embarrass a few of the RS on Twitter.