'Arry puts his faith in Papa
I do not think that there are many of us out there who would do so, but Harry Redknapp is prepared to put his faith in Papa Bouba Diop this season - or is that will continue to put his faith in him?
The fella maybe comes in for some overly harsh criticism, but on the whole warrants it. However with the pending departure of Pedro Mendes - we have confirmed an offer has been accepted, Sulley Muntari having gone, Richard Hughes not having the quality to play week in week out and Sean Davis frozen solid it looks as though we have no other option but to use Diop alongside Lassana Diarra for the foreseeable future... Lest we forget Arnold Mvuemba of course though, who I feel we feature much, much more this season and could be a surprise emergence for us this season...
To be honest I think selling Mendes is a mistake, but what can you do. But in doing this Davis - who I do quite like as a player it must be said, and was fantastic before his fall from grace last season - needs to be put on a rapid defrost now as we will need him. The problem is the 'frosty relationship' between manager and player is not likely to improve as Redknapp rarely changes his mind on a player, and this is at his own admission.
As a squad player I am happy to have Diop - who we 'claim' has attracted attention from others, with 4 bids rejected! - but as a regular, and a potential key component in the midfield I am a little uneasy... In fairness the fella had a cracking game against Manyoo in the charity shield but he cannot pass for toffee! He has power and strength that Mendes lacks, but has absolutely no creativeness about him at all. He will chase the ball down and power his way through but he has absolutely no idea what to do when he is on the ball. He does not have the ability to work an opening and more often than not is caught in possession of the ball when looking for an outlet - in fairness to him though if we have no wide options, or movement he cannot do a lot can he, but if he is limited anyway he can do even less!
Maybe things will work out and if he can hold his discipline and mop up the midfield he can still allow Diarra off the leach as Mendes does, but you just cannot see any outlet or creativity coming from the middle of the park with the big Senegalese man in it can you? Well I cant anyway!
As touched on before Mvuemba looks as though he might have a bigger role to play this season. We must remember that the fella has played alongside Diarra for the French at under 21 level I believe, with the pairing something pretty special by all accounts.
This Jordi Lopez fella looks like he will come in, but you have to ask the question why has a 27-year-old played less than 100 games in his career? Most teenagers have at least a hundred, a fair few a good couple of hundred under their belts these days by the time they leave those years...
Am I worried by the midfield?
To be honest not completely, the diminishing quality is a concern, and I am disappointed that we are willing to cash in on Mendes as we will miss him. The fact that we are starting to look a bit think in an area that was almost certainly our strongest area a month or so back is also a slight concern but we will be ok! Remember Younes Kaboul can be used in midfield too... At the end of the day, when all is said and done Redknapp is the manager and he knows what he is doing, he does not often steer us in the wrong direction does he...
Just a note on Jerome Thomas though, who has been conformed on a season long loan.
This fella could prove a better signing than people might suspect. Yep, I know I said this about Glen Little - who I still feel will be - but in Thomas we have some genuine width, pace and ability - if he can find his true game - and better still a left sided option, which we needed. So if he gets it right, we have an outlet.
On the thought of him getting it right, if he does then we might have the possibility of seeing Niko Kranjcar utilised in the middle of the park, behind the strikers in that 'free role' that he would excel in...
PLAY UP POMPEY!