It’s been interesting listening to Stuart Webber this last week. He freely admit that either Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons or Emi Buendia could still be sold if it suits everyone… which begs a question.
For me, Emi must be retained at any cost. And if you sell Aarons, you’re immediately looking for a replacement. That leaves Dereham’s Deco as the odd one out. Todd is a player that I love and I’d always have him in the squad, but, big but, we could be without Ben Gibson, Kenny McLean and Oliver Skipp (even if Tottenham play ball) going into the first game of the season.
That leaves Lukas Rupp as the only known central midfielder; it leaves us without a left-sided central defender; and Teemu Pukki and Emi as the only guaranteed source of goals. I really think it’s a Pandora’s Box of injuries.
The 4-2-3-1 formation takes sooooo long to refine (as an individual player learning the intricacies of their role) that to be without either of the core two, McLean and most probably Skipp, is going to exacerbate the concerns that were already established. 4-2-3-1 is an exploitable system unless there is explicit understanding from the entire matchday squad.
Caution, in the way of a more conventional defensive, out-of-possession shape, is a likelihood, and that means a possible change of base formation.
Likewise, at the other end, we know we lack variety in attack and distribution of goals throughout the team – two headered goals all season from the strikers – so I can’t help but think that switching to 3-4-1-2 is both the most appropriate and most exciting change that we could make: keeping Emi behind two attacking options and allowing both Dimitri Gianoullis and Aarons to play further forward as wingbacks.
Those subtle tweaks will allow for a simpler version of a central midfield unit. Simplicity will allow new signings to adapt quicker, albeit without the sensational intricacies that we’ve become accustomed to under Daniel Farke.
It will be a big ask for a new central midfielder to replace either McLean or Skipp, given the complex dynamic in Farke’s setup, which involves a lot of rotation and a lot of “double hatting”.
Either way, knee ligaments, ankle ligaments, a Spurs recall… surely Farke will be considering another viable formation option come August?
It’s an exciting summer ahead and best of all, come next season, hopefully, every one of us will be back in our seats on matchday, supporting the Championship Champions in their new Premier League adventure.