Lambert’s transfer policy: Right idea, wrong club?
During the summer transfer window, after the initial joy surrounding Lambert’s arrival had subsided, there were already a few murmurings of discontent when we were linked to, and ultimately signed a number of players with no experience of playing in the top flight of English football.
It worked extremely well for him at Norwich, and despite personally wanting to see a few more ‘established’ signings made, we’d appointed Lambert on what he achieved at the Canaries, so really it was of little surprise when we signed a certain type of player. Add to that the desire to bring the wages down at the club, and Lambert did well signing the amount of players he did for around £20 million in total.
Looking at his signings individually, and most have done well. El Ahmadi looks more than comfortable on the ball, and keeps us ticking along nicely, though he looks like he needs help at times. Lowton for the most part has done well, and even though Bennett hasn’t quite reached similar heights on the opposite side (he’s also played less), you can see he has quality. Benteke could have scored five or six already, and when he finds that clinical streak, he’ll be fine. Ron Vlaar has been up there with our players of the season, so no complaints there, and Westwood and Bowery haven’t really featured enough to comment.
After last year though and how we struggled, was this type of transfer policy what we needed? We’re a side in desperate need of some Premiership nous and know how at times, and we lack real top flight experience throughout the team. You look at the players that have left, and although it’s much easier said than done, we haven’t replaced a number of them (This goes for players like Luke Young, Reo-Coker etc, as well as the more obvious ones). Here is the starting eleven for our last game against Fulham, with only a small number playing a decent number of games at the highest level in England:
Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett,
Ireland, El Ahmadi, Delph, Holman,
In that side it’s only really Ireland, Bent and Agbonlahor who have played in the Premiership for a number of years, and I think it shows at times. It’s tough to not sound hypocritical writing this post, because like I said individually the players signed by Lambert have by and large done well. I felt at the time though we needed more experience, and I still think we do, which will make January’s transfer window pretty interesting.
Of course experience isn’t always a good thing, with Hutton, Dunne, Collins, Warnock and others all lambasted by a number of fans last season. The right player can make a massive difference though, and I wonder if Lambert will continue with his transfer policy going forward. As established club policy certainly has an impact, but I wouldn’t be opposed to a few familiar premiership faces heading to Villa Park.