Well we are in the midst of the mid-season transfer window when clubs have the opportunity to re-assess and make changes to their squads that will hopefully improve or consolidate on their league standings to date; whilst also improving on their chances of glory or progression in any remaining cup competitions.
Currently as I write, we sit top of the SPL table by 4 points, and remain in contention for both domestic cup competitions. We have also made additions to our playing panel this month with the addition of Swedish defender Lustig and Nigerian midfielder Ibrahim, whilst also actively seeking others to complement our current panel of players. January is a difficult month for transfer dealings as generally players on form are reluctantly released by their clubs, or teams that are pursuing honours do not wish to lose any of their squad, whether they be first team regulars or generally just squad players. No honours have yet been handed out hence why dealings in January can possibly either result in the dissolution of any trophy ambitions or propel the club on to glory. We all have our views as to the areas of the team that we feel needs addressed and are quite often opinionated as to whom is not pulling their weight for the cause, whom should be punted and dream of whom we should be replacing them with. But realistically there is not always the wealth of talent available in the January window. Many clubs and players prefer to move or do their dealings in the summer months, with January being a month largely favoured for loan deals. This is not to say that there is no talent out there in January. We have seen in the loan signings of both Craig Bellamy and Robbie Keane that players out of favour at other clubs, can use the opportunity to play regularly as a window for permanent moves elsewhere and can indeed bring vigour and excitement back to the club. Unfortunately for both aforementioned players we ended up without a league title come May, but there was no doubting that they were attempts which nearly reaped dividends in the pursuit of the SPL title. Another player who arrived in January 2011 and whom instantly settled into the team, scoring freely and cementing a starting spot was Kris Commons, however we must remember that other arrivals in January have not always delivered the expected success anticipated; none more so than Freddie Ljunberg. For whatever reason the move just did not work out and yet another title ended up going elsewhere. To win the league we need a squad that can cope with injuries, can offer various differing playing options when required, and show the mettle and determination to succeed when the crunch arrives during the title run-in.
Whilst our nearest neighbours will have their own problems this January, we must not let this affect our own dealings. Get our own house in order and everything else will fall in place. We cannot let the fact that we are sitting 4 points clear of the competition to give us a sense of complacency. Remember it was only just over 2 months ago when we faced falling possibly 15points behind in the title race so a lot can change in a small space of time. We must strive to retain key players of our squad – bids have been received for Gary Hooper and young James Forrest continues to be courted by English Premiership teams. The board must also show faith in Neil and allow investment where Neil feels is needed. It was only a few years ago that we failed to properly address our problems and signed only Willo Flood in a January window, and the result was that the title drifted across town as we stumbled through the title run in struggling for form and goals. Lessons have surely been learnt and the hunger and determination to yield a first title in 4 seasons must drive us on to ensure our league position does not change come May.
So Mr Lawell, let’s start with a bid for Messi to improve our attacking options, and a loan deal for Nesta to give our defence some help until Fojut arrives. The rest should suffice and I look forward to doing the hokey cokey up London Road as part of our title celebrations in May!