Amid all the talk of Charlie Adam, Stuart Downing and the tour of the Far East we managed to sign a goalkeeper, Doni from Roma.
Doni is signed as back up and competition to Jose Reina and if his record is anything to go by back up is probably what we should expect. He’s only made 10 appearances for Brazil and has been in and out of the Roma first team however at least he has considerably more experience than previous understudies.
No doubt Doni feels he is good enough to break into our first team and might feel it’s worth riding his luck given the regular articles that appear in the press suggesting that Jose Reina might leave, sooner or later? However, thankfully Reina has chosen to stay with us so, unless there is an alarming loss of form, Doni will unfortunately have to be content to sit on the bench look forward to games in the Carling Cup, someone has to! No doubt the 1.5m Euro Roma paid him to make up for the salary drop he took when moving to us will make things a little more palatable!
Although the fee was a free transfer Doni is, arguably, our fourth major signing but, with the start of the season only four weeks away, surely we will now want to do business at the other end and ship some players out? With the exception of Paul Konchesky things appear to have been quiet on that front however I reckon there are around half a dozen or so players who will be aware of the vultures circling, you know their names!
One person regularly named as ripe for a move is Joe Cole who found an understandable sponsor yesterday in Steve Clarke who besides being his coach now also held that role when Cole was at Chelsea. I thought Cole did well on the tour of Asia however it would pushing it to the point of absurdity to suggest that he should kept on the basis of these two games? Clarke clearly has more inside knowledge and sees it differently
“At the end of last season he was not getting in the team because the team were playing well. But he trained great and obviously has gone away and had a good summer, worked hard and has come back really lively in training. He’s looked good in both matches we’ve played so far and Joe Cole is a top international player. He’s got a big contribution to make in the future.”
Talk of a “big contribution to make in the future” suggests Cole won’t go or is this “contribution” elsewhere? I am loath to suggest that Cole should be jettisoned so soon. Amid all the talk of high wages and poor form, I sense a man with a decent attitude who really wants to do well for us and play for the shirt however, surely competition will be cut throat in midfield now we taken on the new signings? It was noticeable that Cole did well in the last few games as he was played “in the hole” a position which he enjoys and prefers rather than being exiled to the wing as he was for much of last season. However, this is a key position and can we afford to take a chance on Cole in the hope that he will improve dramatically? More to the point will Kenny wish to play a formation that provides for that sort of role?
Another midfielder enjoying a mini renaissance after the last few games is Alberto Aquilani even to the extent that owner John Henry felt prompted to Tweet that he wouldn’t be going anywhere! I was bemused by Roy Hodgson’s decision to let Aquilani go on loan last season particularly after all the time and effort we had put into helping him recover from injury – for me it was pay back time but he was shipped out. Perhaps it’s now time for the Italian to belatedly show us what he can do however I wonder, having spent the last twelve months at home, whether he will have the appetite?
Of the list of players earmarked to go Cole and Aquilani are not necessarily near the top step forward Poulsen, Jovanovic, Ngog, Degan and may be even Maxi, what about Shelvey? Because of their past together Clarke’s defence of Cole is understandable but, of the two, I think Aquilani shines brighter. Above all, with three of our four new signings being midfielders, and our owners stated desire to reduce the wage bill, then surely it is odds on that one, or even both, will go as the middle of the squad is trimmed?
Unless Kenny is contemplating using a radical new 3:6:2 formation this season surely it is a question of when, and not if, he will do it?