The summer’s gone, it’s over. Meteorologists will tell you otherwise, so will all manner of druids and n’er-do-wells. But just as the cuckoo is the first sign of spring, the closure of the transfer window signals the onset of autumn.
And what an autumn, on the pitch anyway; anyone not excited by the return of the Champions League is one brick short of a hod. It’s the best club football has to offer. No, it genuinely is, even if you’re underwhelmed by the prospect of CSKA Moscow.
But to do well, we need a squad to cope. And I’m not sure the summer business left us in such a good position.
The headlines were saved until the end: Moussa Sissoko for £30m left me underwhelmed. On his day, he can be excellent but his days have been few and far between in the last few seasons.
Last term concerns me; Newcastle needed him and very few Barcodes claim he turned up for them. If he doesn’t have the mentality for a relegation fight, will he be able to battle for us when the heat is on? £30m is a lot of money for a player who only scores every ten games or so; I’m underwhelmed by his arrival.
Victor Wanyama comes with a big reputation. Highly thought of at Celtic, he was held in similar esteem at Southampton. He left under a cloud both times with neither club happy at his conduct. I don’t care. Eager to please on the opening day and too ‘robust’ in his tackles, he calmed down for the subsequent fixtures and looks a good signing.
Vincent Janssen should relieve some of the pressure on Harry Kane with goals although even my grandmother could score in the Dutch league and she’s been propping up daisies for thirty years.
N’Koudou; who knows what to expect. A lot promise – the same with Pau Lopez – but I can’t say I’ve seen much of either, certainly not any performances which left an indelible mark on my mind.
Which begs the question. Why was this such a poor summer? We needed a centre back; Dier can cover but experience is thin on the ground. Even Arsenal managed to sign one and they can barely sign cheques.
The midfield seems well-stocked but up front we rely on Kane and hope Janssen adapts quickly.
Why is this the case? Has Levy ring-fenced the cash or did he let Mitchell and Mackenzie make a pig’s ear of it. Certainly with the media reporting the former’s departure before the window closed, it’s hard to see how anyone other than Levy sanctioned the Sissoko deal.
Popular lore will no doubt blame the pair but in the current market, I don’t think we’ve overpaid on any deal other than Sissoko. The price didn’t change post-Euro 2016 so why was it left so late to sign him? Desperation is the only credible answer I can come up with.
Paul Mitchell’s departure is the subject of much speculation; I’m not sure if we’ll ever get to know the truth. Is it even necessary for us? If there are lessons to learn, we have to hope the club do so.
In the meantime, we look forward to the rest of the season.