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'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!

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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday August 15 2008

Time: 2:40PM

Your Comments

Niko is a like different player in the free role, this is where he started his career and he could be excellent in european games to unlock defenses. But Pedro will be a big loss for us, why do pompey always seem to sell the players who are most popular with the fans?
pompeysno.9
Nice one Rug - Didn't Joe Jordan suggest that this was an enforced sale? Either way I don't hink Harry will worry too much about having to rely on Diop. At least now he'' sit in central midfield which suits him best. Kranjcar? I don't see him playing behind the attackers if we play 4 across the middle. I think this will cause Harry all sorts of selection problems and might see Defoe being dropped away and Kranjcar playing behind Crouch in a 4-4-1-1
ChrisW
nice one rug, i also hope that davis starts playing again.
Gleams
has anyone else heard about Nadir Belhadj it seem like hes coming in according to sentanta so another fullback, but on the subject mendes will be sorely missed i think and if we have niko in the free role then diarras just gonna be tied up again and we know how good he is off the leash
pompeym@
Cant believe we sold mendes a player who tackles and passes the ball around and 100% commited to the club yet utaka is oppisite but we keep him what is going on with this club then we buy a charlton player ???
stfc ballboy
Four offers for Diop which we turn down, and then we sell Mendes, my brain cannot take it.
007
Mr Bond, I'm with you . However, we move on. More Mvuemba please
UKTony
generally agree with you rig, Diop pretty much dead weight and will have to do something a bit more than put the ball over the bar every game, where i CANT AGREE IS point, davis what game last season was he ever fantastic??? You can run around a football pitch a lot not knowing what your doing.
russellm
just imagine the difference mendes would make compared to Diop in a euro game, although even Papa quashieDiop wouldnt be as bad as Davis
russellm
russellm, what have you got agaisnt seany?? I agree with rug, he was a star contributor at the start of last season.
Gleams
davis was good at the being of last season i got to admit and he is more of a holding mid hmm could work with diarra can't be worse than diop tho
pompeym@
I would like to see Mvuemba given more chances in the centre with Diarra even as long ago as 2 seasons when he was on loan he had a great game away at Reading, Rug I agree I think this could be his time
pompeyyong
damn another who can score from range - did for Fulham against us :-(
merlin
I thought Mvuemba would play more last season, Gleams you tell me which games Davis has shined in because as Rug will tell you unless i'm working abroad i dont miss many and the more i see Davis, the less quality he seems to posess. Directionless runs accompanied by wild tackles are not quality and not what we need. He is not in anyway disciplined so i cant see him playing any holding role. i would love him to force a dish of the old humble pie on me but at the moment all i see is Pedro was the silver lining and Davis is still a cloud
russellm
haha, ermm fulham away!! ok fair enough, your points are valid, I think mabye some personal admiration clouded my judgement!
Gleams
russ i still think that davis had some good games at the start of last season - you will not convince me otherwise ;-)
pompeyrug
Harry must know what he is about - but I can't see why you would turn down 4 offers for Diop and mug Pedro away for 3M. Am very confused, but no doubt all will be revealed on Sunday!!!!!!!!
Gandor
Good article Rug, and addresses my main fears about lack of depth in the midfield department nicely. I still think Diop will come good given a fair crack of the whip this season, but I really don't like Arry's habit of playing him on the right of midfield at times - obviously leaves us far too narrow. Would be pleased to see Lopez come in if he's any good, hopefully Thomas will be the quality supplier of crosses to the forwards that we're crying out for.
Tantona
Diop like Utaka are in the last chance saloon. Davis & Nugent are there already!!!
storagematt
 

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