Something just popped into my head a while ago.
It’s a bit cliché I know, but I wonder if our squad can actually become ten times better on Premier League experience alone. Let me elaborate…
Tim Krul, Danny Guthrie, Jose Enrique, Jonas and even James Perch all have one thing in common. They have all significantly improved since we’ve signed them, admittedly at different rates. Obviously, the main factor for their improvement is good old fashioned experience. When Krul first came into the first team he was known to have potential but was hardly seen as a number one, when Jonas and Jose came along it was extremely prevalent that they had no Premier League experience whatsoever, and when Danny Guthrie and James Perch had their brief spells in the team last season, it’s safe to say they hardly shook any foundations.
Now look at them. One is our number one keeper and definitely one of the best keepers in the Prem. Two of them are now getting regular first team football (injuries have helped them out) with one of them even outdoing Tiote at one point in the season and Perch has, well, you know. Another is arguably our most consistent player and provides our key defensive cover as well as our attacking edge. The less said about Jose the better.
Now to think about who could be the next players that could “significantly improve”. Our new transfer policy means we are bringing in players with mostly no Premier League experience at all. Santon, Cabaye, Obertan (admittedly already a Prem player but without much game time), Cissé, Marveaux and in theory Ben Arfa all fall into this category. For them, this all a new experience and some have coped well(Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Cissé), whilst others have had a bit of a tough time(Obertan, Santon, Marveaux if being injured constitutes having a tough time). Can the players who’ve adapted well get even better? Can the likes of Obertan become the new Perch and have a complete breakout season? That’s the thing that needs thinking about.
Look at Tiote though, he adapted to the league straight away and is one of our best players but arguably hasn’t shockingly improved a great deal. The way players actually improve come into question as well, Krul improved after getting a massive amount of playing time whilst Perch just came into the team and was completely different, probably due to good coaching and just blending with the team in training.
So, given time, who do you think could get even better and plant his place on a first team spot?