The Strategic Thinking Behind The Transfers – Part 2
By Mihail Vladimirov.
Continued from part one, which can be found here.
One of our biggest problems of the last ten years or so has been the lack of natural wide players. Since the days of Barnes and McManaman, various players have been signed to fill the void, but none have impressed. A few – Kewell, Gonzalez, Pennant and Riera – showed flashes for brief periods. But each had their flaws ranging through injuries, a lack of discipline, lack of focus and a lack of consistency.
Entering the summer of 2011, Dalglish had four players capable of playing in wide areas, but none of them were even close to being “natural” wingers. Joe Cole, Maxi, Kuyt and Meireles were converted central players. Cole and Maxi played on the left but were right-footed, and so could not deliver natural width. Meireles was a central midfielder who in 2010/11 had played in wide positions under both Hodgson and Dalglish. He could play on both wings, but focused on ball retention and made diagonal runs off the ball. Kuyt, for all his industrious work on the right wing in defence and attack, was rarely used as a touchline-hugging tactical outlet.
The only player close to being classed as a wide player who could deliver width was Milan Jovanovic. He was a natural striker, but with his left foot he could be used on the left flank. For all that potential, he had two major flaws, however – first, he was a one-dimensional, head-down runner; and second he lacked tactical discipline and any end product. His dribbles, passes, crosses and shots were so wayward they can barely be considered a “product” of any sort.
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