I never like making threads like this but this has come to me in the last couple of days and I really feel the need to post it. I usually hate this type of thread as well.
Anyway, here goes, it seems that three of the four Africans may no longer be with us at the start of next summer (Yobo, Yakubu, Pienaar). All three have been linked with exits and two of them are now looking very likely, with Yobo also being a very valuable player to sell. I know these values may be a little off but here it goes:
Yakubu: £10 million
Pienaar: £10 million
Yobo: £5 million
That gives us around £25 million to spend on replacements, now I don't really know what we're going to do in terms of centre-halves but the easiest solution, unless Moyes has seen something he doesn't like, would be to bring Senderos in on a free given that he's young and probably won't command that much of a wage. I am still undecided on his quality but if needs be we could sell him in a few years for a bit of cash. I am not really a fan of selling Yobo either but he is the only one of our centre-halves we could sell for a profit.
The Hatem Ben Arfa links are growing now; he has said he wants to play in England and that the sport is more important to him than the money, his agent has said we've been after him for a while and it's certainly a possibility etc. Apparently, despite all this £40 million talk, he's available for around £10 million. I think that £40 million was just a hands-off warning, like when Bayern asked for £80 million for Ribery.
As I've said in other threads, I see Cameron Jerome as a very good idea for a striker. He has all the tools, in my opinion, to make the grade at this level. These days the game is all about pace, power, strength etc. and he certainly has all that. Look at Chelsea as they're the benchmark; strong, powerful team of athletes. Jerome is certainly an athlete, he can play as a target man, hold the ball up, use both feet and is good in the air. Given that Birmingham have just signed Nikola Zigic, who is a similar player, I can see Jerome being available on the cheap. Say we sell Yakubu for £10 million, I think we could get Jerome for £6-7 million, and I think with the right service he could be a goal machine.
That gives us around £8 million to work with and I suggest strengthening the right hand side. Charles N'Zogbia, for me, would be an excellent addition and would give us just what we need. He's young, quick, a hard-worker, can go both ways and has proven last season that he can make match-winning contributions. I doubt we'd be able to get him for £8 million but if we throw, say, James Vaughan into the mix as part of a swap deal, then that could possibly tempt them. Neither player would have to move house, N'Zogbia makes a step-up and Vaughan gets more game time at the JJB. Personally, I don't think JV will make it but if he can put his injuries behind him (or just play some more games!) he can be a very good striker. He's a superb talent when he's on the pitch and playing.
Ben Arfa: £10-12 million
Jerome: £5-7 million
N'Zogbia: £12 million
Net income: £25 million
Net spend: £27-31 million
Of course, these figures aren't really accurate but it gives you an idea of how we could go about replacing Pienaar, Yakubu etc. I don't know if these will come off but if one or two do I'll be a very happy chappy. Yakubu, Yobo and Pienaar are close to top-earners (Pienaar maybe a little less) but I doubt Jerome. Senderos or N'Zogbia will demand those sorts of wages so the wage bill will probably stay around the same, although Ben Arfa will be after a fair bit.
Next season though, that'd give us a potential first team of:
Neville Jagielka Heitinga Baines
N'Zogbia Ben Arfa
You're bringing the average age down massively as well.
Ben Arfa- 23