Stuart Gent takes a detailed look at our squad and looks at players he feels could strengthen the team next season…
Now the end of the season is here comes a time of relaxation for fans knowing we are safe and recharging our batteries to do it all again.
While the season may have closed we now entered silly season where people are spotted in Asda`s , getting petrol or even having a round of golf at Dunston Hall.
With news that Lee Camp, Simeon Jackson, Korey Smith, Tom Adeyemi, Elliott Ward, George Francomb and Marc Tierney are all leaving, next seasons squad begins to take shape in earnest.
With our squad list (below) including adding Van Wolfswinkel, I will have a brief look at the players who may just be moved on and what we might be looking for in terms of additions…
This is our squad list (26 players) taken from Sky Sports:
John Ruddy, Mark Bunn, Declan Rudd, Jed Steer
Russell Martin, Steven Whittaker , Sebastien Bassong , Michael Turner , Javier Garrido , Leon Barnett, Ryan Bennett , Daniel Ayala
Bradley Johnson , Jonny Howson , Andrew Surman, David Fox, Jacob Butterfield , Alexander Tettey
Robert Snodgrass , Wes Hoolahan, Anthony Pilkington, Elliott Bennett
Grant Holt , Luciano Becchio, James Vaughan, Ricky Van Wolfswinkel
Firstly in the goalkeeping department, Ruddy is the undisputed number one with Bunn a more than capable backup. Rumours have been circling that next season Rudd may go back to Preston on a full season loan which would be great news for him and us as he gets game time and the chance to dislodge Mark Bunn with his performances.
I would expect Steer to move out on loan also.
Secondly, in defence I would expect the likes of Ayala and Barnett to be moved on permanently.
In the left back slot a lot of good things have been said about Ipswich`s attacking full back Cresswell. Rivalry aside, he is a good young player who will go on to better things. Other good young left backs include Aidan White at Leeds, Sam Byram also from Leeds (can play either side ) and John Brayford of Derby County – all players who can make the step up with guidance especially from the likes of Garrido.
In the centre back slot we have Turner and Bassong as our star two. Ryan Bennett has been excellent since coming in to the team meaning we do need one more. If we go down the experience route (which i think is more beneficial in this position), Curtis Davies at Birmingham would be a good shout along with Ivan Ramis at relegated Wigan and Scott Dann at Blackburn.
In midfield, I think we see may see Fox and Surman depart. These players need to be playing first team football, especially Surman after his injury nightmare. Fox deserves a lot of credit especially for what he did in the first season at the foot of diamond. It`s a shame he wasn`t used more this season as the fans favourite is no bench warmer. I would also expect Butterfield to go out on a season loan as we haven`t seen anything of him from his loan reports to state he is ready.
This means we need another creative midfielder, a holding midfielder and another winger. We have been linked recently with excellent players such Alan Maher, Steven Defour, Marco Van Ginkel and Nacer Chadlii.
There is also some talent in the UK, with the likes of Liam Bridcutt at Brighton and Nathan Redmond at Birmingham and three players such as Thomas Ince and Martin Phillips at Blackpool and Callum McManaman at Wigan who probably are out of our financial reach.
We have been linked along with Swansea with Bournemouth`s Harry Arter who is apparently a creative midfielder. If a legend like Micheal Laudrup thinks he is good, it`s more than enough for me after all he should know.
Now we come to strikers. Vaughan will likely move on as he can`t settle here apparently, leaving us short where it matters.
That only leaves us with Holt, Becchio and new boy Van Wolfswinkel. With Holt and Becchio being in the same target man mould, I think we really need to be looking at one experienced forward and a younger one.
Rumours of Darren Bent have surfaced but unless he proves his fitness and wages, I can`t see that happening. Another link has been Arouna Kone at Wigan who has a 6.5m release clause. That price is not bad for a forward who has got 13 goals in a relegated side, he is quick and can play the lone role. Others for me include going back into the transfer saga for Gary Hooper – a true goal poacher is something we miss. Hooper is more in the mould of Van Wolfswinkel but with less technical ability I feel.
I know fans are not keen on Kone but he is proven premiership goal scorer, and with Hooper he has tested himself against the very best as he has Champions League experience behind him.
All in all silly season certainly will get into full effect within the next week or two meaning players we have never heard of will be linked and many we can`t even spell or pronounce but all in all whoever arrives will always receive the backing from our fans which is why if Carlsberg did fans they would visit Carrow Road on a home match day.
Thanks must go to the likes of Ward, Tierney, Smith, Jackson and Adeyemi – all hugely influential in our promotion years and without them we may not have done it so I am sure all our fans would like to say thanks for their contributions.
Hope everyone enjoys the summer break and looks forward to the first home friendly to start the rollercoaster ride all over again.
Best Regards To All
Stuart Gent ( Twitter @Stuart20022 )