Hey! Sorry for taking a long time to get back to you regarding the players you looked at.
Of your finishers, none really stand out for me. I've seen Volland play and he hasn't really convinced me he's ready or capable for a big club. Same with Alcacer. Alcacer is a great talent, but we don't need great talent right now. We need something a lot closer to the finished article. Embolo is a great shout for a young striker that has a ton of potential. I think he could be signed provided we have a more experienced striker for him to play off of and learn from.
For the experienced striker, I'd pick Lukaku. He's a very good striker that is a lot more polished, but also has potential. Ideally we'd ship Rooney back to Everton too, but haha one can dream. The problem is there's not much of a reason for Everton to sell. TV money is coming and most clubs won't be strapped for cash so it will make signing players from BPL clubs a lot more difficult.
Mahrez: He's been terrific this season, but the big question is is he a one season wonder who will fade next season like you said? I don't think we should spend 20-30m on him without really knowing if he can consistently produce for more than one season. Of course if he does continue in this form, then he'll cost a lot more than 20-30m. I'd stay away for now.
Moura: I'm actually kind of glad we didn't get him back in the day. He's overrated in my books. Very fast, skillful, but I've always been underwhelmed by him whenever I see PSG play. The inconsistency is high with Moura and I've had enough of Nani-like players.
Sane: Another bright talent who I believe will go on to be world class. But again, like the strikers I think we need someone more "ready-made". I wouldn't be against signing Sane though, if not purely for the fact that we shouldn't let him go to City or Liverpool haha. He can also play as a striker that you didn't mention so that's a bonus.
Mane: I'm a bit conflicted on Mane. I think he could be a very very good addition to the team and provide some much needed pace on the right side. But at the supposed price of 35m, that's too steep. 25m and I'd snap him up in a heartbeat. Mane is proven in the PL, but he's not proven anywhere else. For a club like ours that should be challenging on all fronts, I'd feel more comfortable going for someone with CL experience too, although it'd cost a lot more.
Vazquez: I've never actually heard of nor seen so can't really say much about him.
We've been heavily linked to Felipe Anderson of Lazio this window. I'm not convinced. He's highly inconsistent as well and not worth the 30-35m Lazio want for him. He's unplayable on a good day, but on a bad day, you won't be able to tell he's on the pitch. He's also small and not extremely strong. Far too Nani-like for my liking.
If we really want a top notch RW, I'd pay Griezmann's release clause in the summer. For 50-55m we're getting a truly world class player, finisher, and someone who can also play off the striker or as a striker. He'd be worth every penny if you ask me. Just imagine Martial/Lukaku/Griezmann as a front 3. It'd be a dream to see them line up together.
I'm in full agreement with you on the creative playmakers. Pjanic would be my pick of the three as well. Eriksen is a terrific player too, but dealing with Levy should be avoided at all costs if possible lol. I'm not sure Barkley will be any cheaper. He's English, and all English players come with a premium as we've seen with Sterling. 49m in the summer is ludicrous and only City would've paid that.
I think it'd also be interesting to see how Isco and James Rodriguez compare with Pjanic and Eriksen. Isco and James both seem to be available from RM due to a very unhappy relationship with Benitez. I wouldn't really know who to pick between Pjanic, Isco, and James. That'd be a real tough choice.
Don't think we'd need a deep lying playmaker. I think Blind and Schneiderlin can be groomed for that role. Schneiderlin needs to get a better passing range, and Blind could use some of Schneiderlin's tackling.
I was actually very impressed with Varela at RB. We may be able to do with Darmian at left back and Varela at RB until Shaw comes back. That frees up Young to play in the attack. Memphis doesn't deserve to start in attack anymore, he's been extremely poor and doesn't seem to be mentally checked in at all.
Well, for one, Rode just put in another practically man of the match performance in the CL, bagging an assist and setting up another golden opportunity. Please Woodward, PLEASE sign this man up! He excites me as much as Herrera in the midfield.
Sucks about your computer. I just built myself a new one a couple months ago (needed a power boost to play newer games). Okay, so on to your scouting report.
For our team stats there isn't much to argue. Everything looks good.
I agree partly with your assessment of what we need. I think both would work well, but I think a supportive striker could also work. Someone who works to create space for other players, presses the opponent's back line into oblivion, gets involved in the buildup play, and still chips in with a few goals (but not necessarily the most on the team). Someone like Benzema.
I like Volland too and I've suggested him before as well. His stats hold up too. He wouldn't be a bad option. I've never seen Alcacer play, but his numbers don't look so bad. From youtube videos it looks like he's a real predator in the box, similar to Chicharito. Would need to see him through a full 90 minutes to judge better.
As a supportive striker I would just go for Lingard. The guy is tailor made for such a role, he just needs to start putting the ball in the back of the net. If we were to look elsewhere, I would look at the Admiral: Mehmedi from Leverkusen. 6 club goals and 3 assists this season so far, right up there with Volland and Alcacer. His strengths include dribbling (very strong), through balls, passing, holding onto the ball, long range shooting, and crossing. He passes the eye test with flying colours too. He's a bit too much of a wide-forward type striker, which we already have in Martial and Memphis, but he's more midfielder-first striker-second whereas Martial is kind of like a striker-first winger-second and Memphis is like a winger-first striker-second. Stylistically I feel they are different enough.
I think any of these 4 would be a solid option to round out our striking options.
Ahhh the dreaded dribblers. I don't like dribblers mostly lol.
Mahrez does look like a beast, but like you said, we don't know if he's going to be a flash in the pan. I don't really want Moura anymore after he said no to us before, so for me he's out of the question. Sane is too young. Vazquez looks good, but I don't think he fits what we need. He's not that quick and is more of a CAM type than a winger, and we have Mata filling that role already. Plus, I don't trust players out of Serie A (he was my favourite of the bunch though haha). Mane is fast, powerful, direct, but I'm not sure how high his ceiling is. He seems like someone who could quickly become another Valencia.
All in all, not too impressed with this bunch. Not gonna lie, mostly it's because I only want Herrmann LOL. Still, I don't exactly agree with you on what we need here. I don't think it's so much a dribbler, necessarily, as it is a direct right-sided player. I would say someone with blistering pace would be just as good as a fancy dribbler. Of course they still need some dribbling skills, but I think pace is a bit more important for us.
That being said, I have a couple alternatives. Don't get me wrong, I want Herrmann and nobody else, but these are some other options for you to mull over as you didn't seem entirely sold on your crop either. The thing is that pace is not really something you can find on whoscored, so here's a player I've seen play and can attest to his quality even if his stats aren't necessarily great right now.
Mitchell Weiser - RW/RM/RB - 21: 1.7 dpg, 0.5 spg, 1.6 dispg, 1.8 fpg, 1.9 tpg
He's also very young, so that's a negative, but he has friggin blistering pace. I saw him play quite often for Bayern last season, and he didn't look out of place in the team. He left for more minutes, but many fans wanted him to be kept. He can play all along the right wing. He's one to keep an eye on for sure, and it wouldn't be such a bad idea to sign him up if Lingard is made into a striker, for example. World class potential.
Bellarabi is like a best of both worlds type player, but the problem is that his decision making is atrocious. If good decision making could be hammered into his head he'd be a beast of a player. Anyway, I want Herrmann...
Pjanic is amazing if we can bag him, but of course I still don't trust Serie A players lol. Seriously though, he'd be great. Eriksen I want more as I've seen him play more, but he isn't always consistently great. Also, Levy is a prick. Barkely I dunno about. As an English player his cost would be much greater than his actual worth, and I've never been entirely sold on him in the first place. I think there are better options.
Have I mentioned this guy Rode (I'm sorry, I know you said no injured or barely playing players, but he's back from injury!)? He's averaging a goal or assist every 78.33 minutes this season, and he really should be at one per every 58.75 minutes but Lewa didn't bury the glorious chance he created. The guy is massively underrated, and just disgusting in the midfield. The definition of box-to-box, and glorious at both ends of the pitch. Better defensively than any of the other guys, more stamina, more of a warrior, the guy reminds me of Schweinsteiger in his prime, which is the ultimate compliment from me since he's my favourite player of all time.
Okay, okay, you didn't want to include him lol. I would go for Eriksen of that group. First off, Ajax boy, which is always a positive. Secondly, he passes the eye test (Barkley doesn't for me, I don't think he has as high a ceiling, similar to Mane). Third, all 3 of those guys would be expensive so we wouldn't exactly be losing out on much by dealing with Levy. It'd be good to get some more English players in the side, but honestly, English players just aren't that good right now. We'd kind of have to make a compromise to fit them in, which isn't good enough if we have aspirations for the CL. Shaw and Mike are good enough, Jones potentially is, and Lingard will be if he can score his chances with consistency.
Deep lying playmaker:
I'd rather play Blind here and sign a different CB. So I'll cover a few CBs for you to check out instead.
Joel Matip - CB - 24: 195cm, 1.4 tackles per game, 3.2 interceptions per game, 4.6 clearances per game, 0.4 dribbled past per game, 0.7 blocks per game, 7.44 average rating
Jannik Vestergaard - CB - 23: 199cm, 2.3 tpg, 4.1 ipg, 4.6 cpg, 0.9 dppg, 0.6 bpg, 7.36 avr
Hoewedes - CB - 27: 187cm, 1.1 tpg, 2.2 ipg, 3.1 cpg, 0.2 dppg, 0.4 bpg, 6,79 avr
Matip and Vestergaard are both solid defensive CBs and of a good age. Both are actually part German and were eligible for Germany, but opted for Cameroon and Denmark respectively. Hoewedes we all know. Hoewedes has had some injury problems, and Smalling has become our leader in the back, so he's dropped from the top of my wish list. I would go for Vestergaard of this crop because he seems to me to have the highest ceiling. Plus, the African Cup of Nations is a bitch, and I don't like losing players for that tournament. I have to admit, I was leaning towards Matip before I considered that. Either player would be a great, young, affordable CB though. Both have plenty of experience too despite their young ages. I was actually surprised they were both so young because I've known about them seemingly forever, Matip especially so.
Cresswell passed the eye test. I'm not too familiar with any of these guys though. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson looked really good though, so maybe we don't need one. Plus, he's a Manchester boy so I want to see him given the opportunity instead. Youth products are always good to include.
Looking at the stats Masina looks amazing, but Serie A. Alonso doesn't look amazing, and he's Serie A on top of that. Hector is good, but at 25 he won't want to be a backup to Shaw I think. Same with Cresswell and Alonso. Stat wise they all look good, and if we're going on a purely objective basis Masina wins, but since I don't trust Serie A, the next best looks like Hector from stats, but Cresswell has some amazing delivery. Hard to say, but Cresswell is proven in the BPL.
So, to sum up what I'd like to see:
ST: Any of Volland, Alcacer, Mehmedi, or convert Lingard
Dribbler/Winger: (Herrmann) A little undecided. Riyad Mahrez looks the best, but he isn't the paciest I think. Mitchell Weiser is an exciting talent and he's a great direct threat. Sane looks great but he's too young. World class potential in both. I'd prefer pace over dribbling, so I'm going with Weiser. Mahrez for dribs though.
Creative/Box-to-box: Eriksen, but you know I want Rode.
CB: Jannik Vestergaard. Or maybe Vertonghen, he's always great. But he'd be expensive.
LB: Cameron Borthwick-Jackson. Cresswell if we buy someone, but I don't think any of them would want to be second choice to Shaw.
I like Geis the best from your suggested deep lying playmakers, but Blind is better for the role IMO.
Lemme know what you think of my counter suggestions.
No worries, hit me up any time. I'm in the midst of exams right now so I'll reply to your scout report next week if that's ok.
Hey Trey! Glad you added me.
That is one helluva scouting report lol!
With Volland, Sane and Vazquez I'm going to have to do some research and give them the eye test to comment. Numbers rarely if ever lie, but they also don't exactly tell the whole story either. I personally rely on the eye test.
I like Moura and Mahrez and Mane and Moura you'd think would be able to walk into OT and not be affected by the pressure. Can Mahrez and Mane do that? Will it be too much for them because with Mahrez, his entire team is clicking and when that happens, one can get carried away with an individual but place that player on a team that's not clicking as much and will that player have the same impact? If his price is reasonable, it's fair but if it's high, I think it's a big risk and the same with Mane. When the Saints click, he's in the mix, when they aren't? I must admit, i don't watch enough of them to give the most accurate opinion but doesn't Sane have issues with his final ball and decision making?
Your creative players are agreeable. I'm still not sold on Barkley even though he does remind me of a young Rooney in some regards. I just don't think he's consistent enough, but that can change in time too. We need to buy established from here out though I believe. We have so many players with such high potential, we need proven and potential reached.
Your deep playmakers and LB's I need to research. You and Mazoomy would make great scouts with your numbers haha.
Oh yeah, send me that scouting report! I want it!
Well, if I had more time I definitely would search up "Full Games 7", but as it is I've barely got enough time to keep up with current games -_-
Mmm yeah I would too if anyone would spoil matches for me. I used to get notifications from a couple things about scores, but I turned all of them off. Wasn't worth the risk lol
LOL yeah let's hope Son is crap against us!
I was actually a bit shocked to discover that Bale was a LB at first. I saw him play a couple times, mostly from highlights, and I thought he was actually playing as a winger back then. Macheda, the legend for one goal.
Yeah a RB like Cafu would be awesome for Mata, or just about anyone else really. I would try to get them both on the pitch somehow, even in the situation Mata needs to find a new position. They could both play as the attacking midfielders in a 4-1-4-1, for example, or I'd even be tempted to play Mata as a false-9 as long as we had two wingers playing the way Memphis was supposed to. Might not be the best solution, but I have an obsession with midfielders (and no love for strikers) and I want the two of them to play together! Ander's celebration was just one of the many reasons everyone loves him. The guy seriously can't be hated.
The problem with LvG's match plan IMO, and I've said this a few times on articles so you might have seen it already, is that the man has no idea what he wants to do anymore with the team. We're a possession team without movement off the ball to create space in tight defenses. We're a defensive team that ruins every chance to counter by transitioning too slowly. We play far too slowly and timidly to be a direct attacking team. Those are the 3 main ways to play, and we do none of them. On top of that, his setup in terms of players doesn't make any sense either. Everyone would agree we're primarily a possession team, yet we only have 2 central midfielders, and both play as 6s which means there is a lack of freedom to move and create space. Our formation is geared more towards a defensive approach than a possession one, but then why do we take forever to transition from defense to attack? These players should be perfectly capable of playing counter attacking football (Young and Valencia did for years under SAF, Martial is a lightning quick striker, Memphis did it at the WC, Lingard and Herrera are fully capable of doing it), yet for some reason they don't. So then maybe he wants us to be a direct team, but there are also problems here even though the formation (4-2-4 is what I'm calling it) suits it. First of all, any direct team uses attacking fullbacks, not defensive ones, and lightning quick wingers who can beat their man and score or assist. Yeah, nothing to explain here really because it's clear we don't have that. Not to mention, direct teams are pretty balls to the wall in terms of getting forward, and we've been anything but that.
All of that is just to say, I have no frackin clue what LvG is trying to accomplish, and I think he's completely lost the plot because most of it makes absolutely no sense.
Madrid fans are the worst. What kind of fanbase attacks their players' cars? Ugh.
Yeah Pep does some crazy ish. Mostly I don't like it, but it is effective at beating teams worse than his. He's a bit of a minnow stomper (compared to Bayern, which is pretty much everyone but like 4-5 clubs). The thing is, he often gets a bit too tinkery with the big games too. Oh well, I can't deny he's gotten better at exposing teams' weaknesses rather than just blindly playing his own way.
Naaa I think Blind will be in the midfield as Carrick's replacement eventually. The guy is tailor made for being the prototypical deep-lying playmaker/holding midfielder hybrid like Xabi Alonso. As long as he has someone with legs and bite beside him to hunt down players, he will do great in midfield IMO, especially against smaller teams who we'll likely suffocate with possession.
Germany is pretty thin on LBs ATM. In terms of CBs, I don't really like Mustafi but he's been doing well at Valencia I've heard. I think he isn't that great though. Hoewedes would still be a solid choice for us, and he's a real, proven leader in the back. Joel Matip is actually a pretty great defender, and at 24 he still has room to grow. He doesn't play for Germany, but he was born in Germany. Jonathan Tah at Leverkusen is promising. He gives slight Boateng vibes. Of those, Hoewedes ofc can fill in at LB, as he did in the World Cup. Shaw looks certain to be our starting LB for years to come, so we'd really only need extra cover or a deputy. Really can't think of anyone right now.
Damn, I didn't know that about Park Joo Ho. He's been impressive when I've seen him play for BVB this season, but Schmelzer's been in the form of his life so I'm not surprised he hasn't played too often. "The Second Coming of Park", now we have to sign him! lol
BTW, my brother and I always joke around that the reason he doesn't play often is because him and Kagawa fight it out in the dressing room, and Kagawa messes him up so bad he can't play. As soon as they're both on the field we start joking that they'll forget the match at any moment and just start fist fighting. "You son of a bitch, you didn't pass to me! *throws a punch*" "I'll never pass to you, you Japanese scum!" Yeah... we have a lot of fun with that.
Yup definitely simpler without girls lol
Yeah those are Negan's boys. Dwight is an important character. Correct me if I'm wrong, but we didn't really get to see his face or anything, right? Anyway, I was slightly disappointed too, but all I really care about is seeing how they pull off Negan. The guy says stuff like "Fuck! My dick's so fucking hard right now I want to wrap some fucking barbed wire around it and call it Lucille 2 [Lucille is the name of his baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, the one he bashes Glenn's brains in with]!". How the hell are they going to say golden stuff like that on the show?
Wait, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is in Supernatural? Does he have a big role?
And man, I always thought his name was pronounced like Megan, just with an 'N'. Instead they call him Negan like Vegan. I don't like that. It'll be hard to adjust.
Oh, you don't like creepy shit? Have you ever played the first Bioshock? Now that was a creepy ass game lol.
Social life, what's that? I see my "in person" friends once a month or so. I play online with my IRL friends who I don't see more than once or twice a year. I talk to you guys on here. That's my social life lol. It's kind of sad really, but work is just kicking my ass. I've also got a natural tendency to be a bit hermity though.
Let's see, which episodes haven't we talked about.
I.... can't remember much of what happened that episode. It was the one where Rick starts teaching the Delsin Rowe lookalike how to shoot a gun, right? Hmmm... From what I remember, that kid pisses me off, Enid pisses me off, and Morgan pisses me off. Deanna's son also pisses me off. They should have let him die. Oh, and I found it a bit hilarious how Tara (is that her name? the pregnant one) was hanging off the side of the wall shooting a pistol one handed and getting sniper headshots off. That's some superhuman aim right there lol. Usually I just let things like that slide, but the fact that the actress is pregnant just made it so much more wtf. Like, why not just have someone like Maggie do it instead, who's also just a bit more hardened and practiced, and not pregnant.
The season finale was a bit of a bore for me. Everyone else seems to think (my brother and sister excluded, we all watch together) that it was really intense, but I thought there was only real tension in the beginning when the walkers just broke in, in the scenes with Carol and Morgan (damn you Morgan, you fool! and Carol, just shoot him next time!), and then the at the very end. Carl should have fucked Delsin up too. I'm thinking his actual name is Roy, or Thomas, but I'm not sure. He's just the guy who looks like the guy from Infamous Second Son to me. Anyway, I woulda shot him in the back of the head in that bedroom, no questions asked. Oh yeah, that little kid? He really pisses me off. I hate him. I hope gets munched on. So annoying and useless. Sack up child, there's death afoot! Besides, Rick's chosen his woman and he has no need for new children!
I can't fackin believe they ended the midseason on a cliffhanger like that though. It's just so... cheap. Who the hell wants to wait MONTHS to find out what happens in the next scene. Ugh, don't do that to us!
Good points about the Watford match. I can't remember much of it now (my work hours kinda fry my brain, 10am-11pm on monday 10am-10:30pm today, only(!) 8 hours on tuesday haha). I can't really remember much of anything past like 2 days ago these days. Mata did look like a spectator after Herrera came off, I remember that much. And that whole rant above about our formation and system and ish, that was pretty much my analysis on the Leicester match. It was just so bad. Glad that Bastian scored though!
Now, granted, we could have won had we converted our chances, but still, it seems more like we create by our chances by luck rather than skill, and luck runs out eventually. I need to see some real plan and goal being worked towards, or frankly I'll want LvG out this summer in favour of someone with a plan (even if it means Guardiola).
BTW, you hear about G. Nev at Valencia? If he does well, offer him the job!
Oh crap, it was my turn to reply. I was kinda waiting for you lol. At work on my phone now, I'll get back to you later. Probably not tonite though because Rainbow Six Siege...
Alright, after 2 days and ~22 hours of work, I am now actually free for a day. Huzzah!
Glad you want to check out the books. The latest one (book 6) came out on... Monday, was it? Tuesday maybe? I finished the book on Thursday night. To put that into perspective, I regularly take about a month to finish a book because I never really just sit down and read, it's more of an on the toilet, waiting for someone/something, or before bed thing.
So the Watford game. It was a rollercoaster for me. The starting 11 had me instantly elated. That front 4 looked like it would cause a lot of damage, and it didn't disappoint. It seemed like a 4-2-2-2, but also not really. I would say the best way to describe the formation was something like a 4-2 and a free attacking 4. None of our attacking players looked to really have a set position, especially early on when Herrera was still playing, which is why I feel a 4-2-2-2 doesn't really do it justice.
The movement off the ball was delicious. For the first time all season really, we had players playing who were aware of the space around them, and who tried to create space for their fellow attackers. Memphis not so much, but Herrera and Mata, and Lingard especially. I love that about him. It was organized chaos up front and Watford couldn't cope.
Then Herrera got injured and it all came crashing down. LvG made another match day management error, IMO, by changing the formation at that point. Pereira is a similar player to Herrera, and he should have been brought on to replicate what he'd been doing. The way we were playing, Watford would have been put to the sword, no doubt about it in my mind. Our attacking play couldn't be coped with. Another option would have been to bring on a RB (Jones to RB with Rojo at CB, or Darmian) and push Young forward. His central play is, IMO, his best quality, which is a shame because we rarely see it. But the way he can spot a run from central positions is probably the best in our squad. He's also shown himself to be quite good defensively, so I would have felt comfortable with him helping to cover the midfield from an attacking position like Herrera does.
Instead we got a 3-5-2, which was a damn shame. It was like LvG was okay with the 1 goal and wanted to sit on it... with 70 minutes on the clock. That, IMO, was a massive mistake. With 2 defensive midfielders and a defensive-minded back 4 we have more than enough cover, and Watford were not crafting any chances while our attack was blowing them away. No need to reshuffle that so early on.
Anyway, the 3-5-2 was okay, not great, but we really felt the loss of an extra attacking player up front. Memphis and Lingard both did fairly well, Lingard especially IMO, and defensively we held strong for a while. It's pretty inexcusable though how we allowed Watford to get so many good chances. Our players are quite clearly more comfortable in a 4 man defensive line so I'm not sure why LvG opted to switch it.
Rojo bothers me too. He is just so rash for a CB. He has quality and talent, but he's an accident waiting to happen.
What'd you think of the match?
Also on my phone right now. Just wanted to quickly say the original front 4 we had practically made me wet. It was exactly what I thought it would be when I saw the lineup. So much movement, so much position swapping, so much goodness. Then Herrera got injured and my fantasy got cut short after 20 minutes. The universe can be a real bitch sometimes.
Btw, do you read as a hobby? If you do, you MUST check out the Undead World series by Peter Meredith on Amazon. The e-books are super cheap, and I would qualify that series as the second best zombie related uhhh "thing" ever. The Last of Us is the undisputed number 1, Undead World is number 2, TWD is number 3. I think you'd like it because it's very similar to TWD, and it's got some of the best characters ever.