Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Becks factor

Following his intimation that we were interested in the loan signing of one David Beckham in the Wigan post-match interview, it seems Alan Pardew has come up against a brick wall. Asked about the potential signing yesterday, he commented: "I think it is unlikely. We have targets elsewhere which give probably more chance of fruition than that one." That brick wall has in all likelihood been erected by 'Appy 'Arry, who appears to have muscled himself into pole position.

To be honest, I won't be too disappointed if we miss out. Don't get me wrong - I'm a huge fan of Beckham who feels his qualities have often been understated and undervalued. But even if he'd add something to the playing squad and be a positive and vastly experienced presence in the dressing room, I'm not sure marquee signings of past-their-prime players are really what we need (or what the parsimonious Jabba would permit). We'd presumably have to pay a substantial proportion of his wage, if not all of it, and with a tight budget we'd probably be better served investing the money in more than one player, and with an eye to the future rather than the past. The recruitment of Sol Campbell - not currently looking like it's paying dividends - should perhaps be a cautionary tale...

Of those "targets elsewhere" mentioned by Pardew, one or more may well be sold to us by 'Arry 'imself - Robbie Keane, as previously reported, but perhaps also David Bentley and/or Jamie O'Hara. Pardew admitted: "I can't say we haven't spoken to Spurs, because I was speaking to them last week, and we talked about players. I think they want some movement, and we want some movement. Whether we take a player from Spurs is a question I can't answer, but we're looking at the market, and we want to bring an offensive player in."

According to the Daily Heil, another attacking player on our radar is PSG's Benin international right winger Stephane Sessegnon. The reported interest in Beckham, Bentley and Sessegnon certainly doesn't bode well for Wayne Routledge and also perhaps suggests that Pardew would like to see ASBO operating more centrally rather than out on the flank, as part of a five-man midfield. That's his natural position, but we wouldn't reap the full benefit of his crossing ability.

I also think that, in general, we look better with a fairly traditional 4-4-2 set-up rather than 4-5-1, regardless of whether the latter is supposedly fluid so it can swiftly tranform into a 4-3-3 when we're on the attack. That said, we do need reinforcements and Pardew also needs quality personnel to be able to be flexible with his line-ups - sticking too rigidly to a preferred formation can be as costly as switching it for each game.

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