Thursday, February 23, 2012

Norman Hubbard: The £85 Million Team

Building a title-winning team often takes time and involves huge skill. It needs the ability to assemble a squad and to select the first 11, the organisational prowess to set a side up, and the coaching talent to improve footballers. It needs the tactical expertise to perm the right players and choose a suitable system. It requires the right personalities in the dressing room, an appropriate blend of youth and experience, with sufficient leaders but not too many egos. It can depend upon having the right personnel off the field, whether the chairman and chief executive or the scout and goalkeeping coach. But for the purposes of this exercise, it only entails money and the facility to spend it well. The task is to construct a side capable of lifting the Premier League trophy. The complication - because the taskmaster is neither Sheikh Mansour nor Roman Abramovich - is that the 11 men to take the field must come in for a total amounting to no more than the £50 million Chelsea spent in making Fernando Torres the costliest player in the country.

Goalkeeper: Shay Given (Aston Villa, £3.5 million).
Defence: Danny Simpson (Newcastle, £750,000), Younes Kaboul (Tottenham, £5 million), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal, £9.7 million), Jose Enrique (Liverpool, £6 million).
Midfield: Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham, £8 million), Scott Parker (Tottenham, £5.5 million), Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle, £4.3 million), Craig Bellamy (Liverpool, free).
Attack: Demba Ba (Newcastle, free), Javier Hernandez (Manchester United, £6.9 million).
Total cost: £49.65 million.

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