Phil LUFC wrote:Little bit late to this one and I think of my view has been expressed already across this thread but here goes:
1. Infrastructure and Culture
What Bielsa has done for the club as a whole is something special, I'm sure there's more to do to cement it all though. He needs to be retained for next season, the general approach he's brought needs to become the culture at the club, Corboran should be groomed as Bielsa's successor, when the time comes.
It's way too early to know where players heads are at but we do know we tend to lose at least one big player a season. Trying to figure out who has a market value:
Phillips - Undoubtedly good enough for a higher level in the role he now occupies and I think he knows it. He shouldn't be allowed to go cheap though, can we get someone to part with over £10m?
Jansson - We've had 3 years out of him, which is 2 more than many thought, will he now be looking upwards without us?
Roofe - I think the injuries disguise his impact this season so hopefully he'll sign a new contract rather than go into his final season. If I were looking to gamble on a "lower league" striker I think I'd look at Gayle and Maupay before considering Roofe so would imagine his real options would be a sideways move.
After that I'm struggling. I'm taking Ekuban as a done deal for the reported £1m-£2m and assuming we'll end up taking £3m ish for Saiz - can't see him back here. Also assuming the lads loaned out this season will either be moved on or given a chance in the U23s but no further.
Harrison and Brown obviously leaving (though I wouldn't against both returning if they can come in on average wages if only for some consistency and a belief we likely won't go all out for true quality.
3. Retained/promoted/can't get rid of/general need to retain a good level of consistency
Kiko will be our #1, he's contracted for years and won't be on low wages, we'd struggle to ship him out. BPF may as well remain as his backup (and must fancy his chances of being #1 again soon).
Ayling is championship at best, he knows he's onto a good thing the way we play. Likewise Douglas, Berardi, Cooper, Forshaw, Dallas and probably Klich and Alioski.
Roberts stop/start season will likely see him stay through lack of big offers and I'd like to think Clarke/Shackleton would fancy the KP approach rather than the Byram approach - regular first team players next season.
Bamford because we'll not get our money back and he might be ok from the bench for 20 minutes/away from the main striking role
4. Stepping up from the U23s
In addition to CLarke/Shack having full seasons there will be 2 or 3 more on the fringes, not exactly sure who though - Bogusz maybe? Edmondson?
We've got to replace Pablo so at the very least he can sprinkle some magic without needing to carry the team and play anything like 46 games. We've got to replace Saiz so whoever replaces Pablo isn't expected to carry the team alone. I'd love Milner to be the main man but I doubt he'd drop to the Championship, still too good.
We've got to replace Harrison and we were in the market for another winger anyway. Bielsa found James before he really announced himself 2nd half of the season, have to hope he has other players identified. I'd also like to think there are many good players who've seen how we play and really fancy some of that - whether we could finance them over a low end PL option likely to scupper this thought though.
Also need to replace anyone from 2. who does actually go. If its Pontus it doesn't need to be a colossus - a taller/less violent Berardi analogue would do it. If It's Phillips... has that Ronaldo Vieira lad lost any value in the last year?
great post, but the cold hard economic facts are that we need £15m in, just to stand still.
Any further investment needs to come from more sales or Radz putting his hands in his pockets.
The loanees will return and are still all in contract, hinders other incomings as we can't afford to pay them off.
I think the Jansson, Roofe, Phillips shout is good....Roofe isn't good enough all round consistently. Jansson is the most saleable. Phillips is very, very limited in the role he plays. Might be another one for Bournemouth at 6-8m. That should just about balance the books.
Also look to offload Cooper, proven not to be a big game player...Sheff U at home and last night as prime examples. Douglas is also still sellable for decent cash. Bamford could also go, proven at a higher level and we will get offered if we want them.
Also got to remember that Bielsa is on 3 times more than the next best paid champ manager. For a club like ours thats a massive financial commitment , nearly 10% of turnover.
Is it worth it...?
If the norm for LUFC under MB is post Xmas form then arguably no. If pre-Xmas form then yes.
Undoubtedly the team has regressed throughout the year and other clubs have realised that if they just sit in, we are unlikely to break them down.
Also think that Bielsa needs to be more pragmatic to succeed in any UK league. Having no plan B, doesn't work. Also needs to accept a bigger squad.
Ultimately, as most know I'm not a Bielsa fan. Its great that he's stirred the fans emotions but take emotion out and LUFC have snatched disaster from the jaws of success.
Hughton is available, proven promotioner, would cost less.
Get him in and let the 23's have more of a crack at it. The only way to go I think