The Right side is an area we have had issues with for a couple of seasons. Landon Donovan was superb during his brief stint at the club last year and Seamus Coleman has had a terrific campaign, providing much needed pace and penetration although sometimes lacking with the final ball. Leon Osman, Billy, Pienaar and Anichebe have all been deployed here at some stage, some more successfully than others.
The core abilities required here include good acceleration and the capacity to create. As with most players recruited, a flexibility to play in at least one other position would be desirable, so if we are to play a variant of 4-5-1, say 4-2-3-1 next campaign, ideally the player will be able to play in any of the 3 berths behind the striker. As documented in part 1 of this 3 part post, any cash deal will be governed by restrictive finance, so the player would either command relatively low wages and a larger fee (like fellaini) or higher wages but minimal fee (like Saha). Someone under the age of 26 with sell on value would be desirable.
Based on this criteria the following 5 players would be ‘in scope’ for our requirement:
1. Claudemir (FC Copenhagen)
This 23 year old Brazilian born star has made waves in Denmark this year with FC Copenhagen following a superb debut season having joined last season from Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem. An elegant right sided midfielder standing at 6ft 1inch he scored a sublime volley in Copenhagen’s Champions League campaign this season against Barcelona . As he is still unproven in a top European Premier Division, this would equate to a relatively unsubstantial fee in the region of £6m
2. Dimitri Payet (St Etienne)
This 24 year old French International currently plays for St Etienne as an attacking midfielder capable of operating in any of the 3 attacking midfield positions behind a striker. He has struck 18 goals from 124 games for his current club and possesses great speed, impressive technique and mazy dribbling skills. Payet tried to force a transfer in January and should be on the move this summer but with his recent exposure as a French International and talk of a move to PSG he could be out of the Blues price range at £8m
With comparisons drawn to a great like Boban, Sharbini is a livewire attacking midfielder currently plying his trade for Hajduk Split. He possesses great touch, vision and dribbling skills making him every inch a top playmaker. There is a dark side to Sharbini however, who was once kicked out of the Croatia u-21’s for refusing to play in an international against Hungary. After having his fingers burnt with Van Der Meyde, Moyes may think twice about bringing in a temperamental foreign player especially one who is still unproven at international level, but for these reasons his fee would be within the Blues budget.
Not as strange as it may seem this one. Barton has well documented issues – his temperament is suspect and he is every inch a loose canon, albeit this season this mood has cooled slightly. If he had the temperament like say Lampard, this guy would command a much higher fee and be out of our price range. For us to get a player of this quality is either going to be down to excellent scouting or the player being flawed somehow – Brian Clough and Peter Taylor’s scouting policy was based around signing players such as this with personal demons, one such example being the acquisition of Kenny Burns from Birmingham for £145k …Burns was written off for being a fighting, hard drinking gambler and a stone over weight….after a year with Clough he was crowned Footballer of the Year.
Barton has averaged 10.3 crosses per league game this season, the most in the Premier League and has 9 assists this campaign from the right side. Added to this the fact that Moyes has tried to sign him in the past, his Blue roots and his Toon contract running down and the reduced fee this would trigger, he has to be in Moyes thoughts right now. As well as his temperament, at 28 he would trigger limited sell on value.
5. Marvin Martin
Marvin Martin is a 23 year old creative midfielder with a similar lightweight physique to former toffee Steven Pienaar. Martin is a former French youth international who has yet to be capped by his country. With 17 assists this season he is statistically the most creative player in Ligue 1 and only Messi has teed up more goals in Europe this season. His talent has so far gone under the radar of Europe’s big hitters potentially because for an attacking player he is not a great goalscorer with just 6 from 83 games in the French top flight. He would command a fee in the region of £7m.
Fresh Produce: New on the blog today: WBA v Everton Tactical Preview