I know some people get properly savage about this, and also that it’s early days, and also that it was only a pre-season friendly, but…
…based on the performances of Llorente , Lamela and Moura against Roma the other night it looks like we might have 3 refreshed, fit, system-savvy, ready-to-go players on our hands.
Just to preface this by saying that I have not watched the whole match back, so I’m going on highlights and reports written on here and various other media. Nevertheless, here’s a few thoughts on Handsome Fernando, It’s a-Moura and Coco.
I was very happy when we signed Llorente. In my mind, he was exactly the back-up we needed for Kane (based on us needing someone who could come on with 10-15 mins to play and give us a different threat against teams that were defending on the 6-yard box). I never saw him as a replacement in case of injury; he’s so far from a like-for-like that this didn’t make sense. Poch would need to get creative (Son as the false 9) in case of a long Kane lay-off because there is nobody with his ability who could slot straight into the system and produce the same quality – whilst being happy to sit on the bench for 95% of the season. So we were always looking at a reliable goal-scorer with a better aerial threat (one of the reasons for Jansen’s failure). Llorente ticked all the boxes. Problem was that Poch didn’t use him properly. We had a Back 4 with Tripps and Davies either positioned incorrectly or not having the requisite skill to provide the kind of crosses that Llorente thrives on. We saw what he can do with the right service the other night.
Lucas Moura. What more can be said that Ron hasn’t already covered? To me, this guy showed his class last season and I absolutely believe we will see him nicking a starting spot ahead of our other AMs more often than not this time round. Awareness, touch, ingenuity…a willingness to be brave and direct. The bloke can even score with his head for the love of Yahweh. Most expensive teenager back in the day and first choice in a successful PSG side until Neymar and MBappe came along. Plus I love his attitude…which brings me on to:
Coco. Finally seemingly over his injury problems, which must have taken real mental strength to overcome (not least if he’d seen some of the disgusting slurs and vitriol aimed at him), I believe we’ll see a stellar season from him after the faith that’s been shown by the Club in giving him a new 4-year deal. Just for clarity, I don’t just mean the Lamela who motors round the pitch pressing like a demon but being a little bit underwhelming in terms of creativity. I’m expecting to see the player we genuinely thought we were buying for that chunky (att the time) £30m.
So there it is. Yeah, I know Levy-apologist, jam-tomorrow, happy-clapping nonsense. But that’s why you come here, right?