Dembele Once Again Linked With Saints But Armstrong Set To Stay
Friday, 29th Jul 2022 09:05
Ralph Hasenhuttl has publicly stated that he wanted to sign two strikers in the transfer window and he is half way there with the signing of Sékou Mara, but manager is keen to increase his striking options not decrease them.
Last season Saints effectively had four options going forward, Che Adams, Shane Long, new signing Adam Armstrong and loan signing Armando Broja.
That was reduced down to two with Long leaving the club after 8 years and Broja after his loan spell ended.
That has left Saints supporters worried about where the goals will come from next season, that has been placated a little with the arrival of Sékou Mara, but his is only just turning 20 and like Broja he has undoubted talent but it is raw.
The signing of Joe Ariba also offer an attacking option with the former Glasgow Rangers man able to play as an attacking midfielder or as a second striker, so in many respects we are back to where we were a year ago in the striking department.
If that is the case then Ralph seems comfortable, Che Adams is a steady performer who will get you a reasonable amount of goals for a second striker as well as assists, but we need the main striker to get into double figures.
That didn't happen last season, Broja despite a promising spell in the 2nd quarter of the season did not live up to his billing in the second half and only scored twice after Xmas in the Premier League.
Adam Armstrong was a disappointment, he started the season well by scoring on the opening day at Everton, but would only score one more goal although it was a stunning strike against Villa that gave us all three points.
In truth Armstrong was not as bad as some would have you believe, in the first quarter of a season he looked to be forming a good partnership with Adams, but although he was coming close, he just couldn't seem to go on a goalscoring run.
So his demise as a first choice striker was not so much his own form, but the rise of Broja's, in truth Armstrong should have got more of a chance in the final third of the season, but Hasenhuttl persevered with Broja even when it was clear he needed to be taken out of the firing line.
Whether this was a ploy to try and convince the Albanian from Slough that his future lay with Saints we will perhaps never know, what we do know though is that the goals did not flow for Broja and Armstrong never got the chance to show what he can do.
But Adam Armstrong has not complained and he has worked hard, he has looked good in preseason and scored twice and it could be that he is now ready to kick on.
Last season I think his problem was that he found it hard to adjust to the pace of the Premier League, he was taking an extra touch and not getting his shot away, that was the case away at Newcastle where he could have scored, but luckily before he shot he was fouled for a penalty and James Ward Prowse scored from the spot kick.
Likwise away to Manchester City he was right through and brought down, a penalty was avoided, VAR seemed to show he was fouled, but the referee's original decision was still reversed.
Armstrong was then snatching too much at chances and struggling and up stepped Broja.
But now he seems to be back on form, OK it is only friendly matches, but for strikers it is a confidence thing and they like to put runs together, hopefully the run can continue. Certainly Ralph seems to be thinking he can kick on in his second season.
“I think this is the most important season (second season) because when you are coming the first year it is always tough.
“This season he should get more chances to play and chances to score.”
But although he would perhaps be comfortable with the options he has got and he will be looking at Armstrong to play more and certainly score more, Ralph Hasenhuttl has the money to spend and it looks like there will be another striker on the cards, Moussa Dembele.
The whispers are growing again about Dembele, at 25 he is entering what should be his peak years, but he has taken time to get there and his 19 goals for Olympique Lyon last season have thrust him back into the spotlight again.
If Saints don't get him or indeed another striker then I am confident that we can improve on last season's goal total of 43, which although not great was far from the worse in the division, in fact it was 13th best whereas our defence was 18th best, so the real issue was not up front but at the back.
We need our strikers to net 20 goals + between them rather than the 16 that the quartet from last season managed in the Premier League, surely that should be achievable with what we have got now, but an experienced striker would be a help and it seems that Ralph thinks he has improved the defence and now he is focussing on attack.
He could be right, the only known scorer at Premier League level is Che Adams, the rest including Joe Aribo merely have the potential to score at this moment in time, so it might not be before the Premier League season starts, but by the end of this transfer window we might yet see another striker in the fold.
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 31 bloggers
The U'sual Ramblings #3 by wessex_exile
The U’sual Ramblings #3 comes on the back of an imperious victory at Portman Road, our first there since 13th October 1951, when Jimmy Allen’s U’s won 2-0 courtesy of second half goals from Vic Keeble and Fred Cutting in front of 19,275. This was back in the old Division Three South days, and the U’s would finish the season 10th, with our Suffolk neighbours down in lowly 17th place. Needless to say, some of the gloss of Tuesday’s backs to the wall defensive masterclass was tarnished by the behaviour of a mindless minority in the away end, though the CUFC Police twitter account has since confirmed these were not regular day in day out supporters of Colchester United. Let’s hope investigations identify the culprits, and that they never darken our doorstep again. Our reward is a second round home tie against Premier League Brentford, and whilst it won’t be on the TV, assuming Brentford sell out their 2,000 allocation, it should be a decent crowd and an excellent atmosphere at the JobServe.
The U'sual Ramblings #2 by wessex_exile
The U’sual Ramblings #2, and the U’s first home match of the season. Much has been written on our narrow defeat away at Northampton Town last Saturday, not least that if they are the yard-stick for promotion contenders, we can take plenty of credit (and hope) from most of our performance, which really should have earned a point. However, we’ve seen these false dawns before – remember away at Notts County, and at Bradford, in recent years, where we thought we were playing contenders, and they turned out to be whipping boys for most of the season. Still, I don’t expect that of Northampton, so stout hearts faithful…and wasn’t it great seeing Nouble bombing down the wing doing what he does best again!
The U'sual Rambling #1 by wessex_exile
Here we go folks, are we ready for another rollercoaster of joy and dismay? Right now, I’ll probably take an even mix of both if it guarantees a solid midtable finish, but why stop at that. I agree with Durham in his excellent match review, given how well we finished the second half of the season, ignore the bookies perennial struggler tag – we can do this! For the new season, the blog has slightly metamorphosed into The U’sual Rambling, though largely the same format as last season, albeit perhaps less labour-intensive in content. In my case, pertinent for Saturday given I am missing the opener at Sixfields to dog-sit the beautiful (and high maintenance, super ridiculous, energetic etc.) border collie Reggie.
When Monday Comes #37 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes and we reach the end of a topsy-turvy season, much of which hasn’t been that much fun if I’m honest, though latterly considerably improved under Wayne Brown. If I can, I always like to do the first and last game of the season, but sadly a trip to Hartlepool just wasn’t on the cards, not if I actually wanted to get home again tonight, so I had to console myself with a pretty enjoyable trip to the JobServe last weekend – not quite the victory the U’s deserved over Walsall, but a great day out anyway. I know it’ll be too late for the Player of the Year awards, but wouldn’t it be nice to see a Freddie Sears hat-trick this afternoon to round off the season.
When Saturday Comes #36 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes tomorrow, and I will be on a train heading over to God’s own county for my last U’s game of the season. That should have been last Friday’s trip to the Principality, but as posted elsewhere I was more than happy to be pre-booked to dog-sit Emma’s collie Reggie that night and had to be content with one of Nadine’s ‘downstreams’ on iFollow. Given both the performance and the result, whilst I was sorry to miss it in person, I was more than happy with how Friday night turned out in the end. Tomorrow will be a gathering of the clans for us, with at the last count at least 8, possibly more, of the family gathering for the match. Ironically, I’ll see them all again on Bank Holiday Monday for a family birthday, but I’ll be driving over for that one.
[ Vote here ]