Opinion from the stands

Strengthening this area is a shrewd move from Bilic

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Winston Reid

Restructuring a squad before the start of the season seems a thankless task for a manager.

Even before a competitive ball is kicked, critics and fans are already drawing conclusions, positive or negative, about how the new look line-up will perform.

Everyone has an opinion on what positions need filling as a priority to guarantee a progress and success.

The only opinion that matters at this stage however, is that of the manager.

What Slaven Bilic has done well when coming into a new club is set out his stall early.

He has made it clear what his transfer priorities are, and alongside the board, has quickly set about ticking off his wish list.

After securing the required attacking midfielder in the shape of Dimitri Payet, attention has now switched to a new centre back.

Some argue the club should be prioritising bringing in a new striker, but when you look at the resources to hand, the shortages really are at the back.

In both the past two seasons, the team has struggled to maintain form with just three recognised centre halves.

Injuries have hampered the campaigns of James Tomkins, Winston Reid, and James Collins.

Cheikhou Kouyate has stepped up and performed well, but that left the team lightweight in the middle of the park. Sacrificing the powerful Senegal midfielder was a necessary quick fix, not an appropriate long term solution.

Although Reece Burke and Reece Oxford have emerged as star talents, there is no accounting for the presence of experience at the back to lead the team.

Added to that increased competition for places, and there should be the foundations developing for a solid defensive pool of player.

Much of the transfer talk has surrounded Juventus centre back Angelo Ogbonna, with the club reportedly hoping to get the deal over the line as soon as possible.

This is not to say the squad does not need a new striker. Given similar injury troubles up top, there is scope to bring in someone to provide adequate back-up.

But the thing with a priority, is it should be the main focus of attention. Until the centre back shortage is resolved, the club should continue to put its efforts into that area.

No doubt other avenues for other positions are being explored concurrently, but a measured approach will surely see positive results through the growing size and quality of the squad. And to ensure there is no lingering discontent from onlookers, the main thing is to simply ensure all angles are covered before the start of the Premier League season.

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1 comment

  • Ryan says:

    We need at least two players fighting for each starting place on the pitch and in some areas three. I don’t really understand the downing romours .. Why would we sell one of the best players last season if we need all our players for a bigger and longer season? Ok we got payet and what if he gets injured who’s gonna fill that gap? There’s talk of a young Argentian who sounds a good player but never played in the premier. So would it be wise selling downing at this point unless some one just as good or better comes in. Two right backs are needed and a winger of each and defentily a out and out goal spring striker. £10m Nolan and Jarvis could get us Austin.

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