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Albertbarich

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Jul 4, 2020
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Lewis Ferguson is an interesting option. He usually plays as the most attacking midfielder for Bologna but is more of a box to box midfielder. His technique is perhaps limited but he's very efficient and effective at what he does and has linked play well for Bologna whilst also leading their high press. He has tremendous physicality and football intelligence. He quite often makes late runs into the box and has 6 goals this season on top of 9 last.
Sadly, he's picked up an injury that rules him out for the rest of the season and Euros.
I accept, there are more talented players out there but his physicality in attacking areas could make up for that.
I've not seen much but would a comparison to Gallagher be fair?
 

Ghost Hardware

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I have a feeling Joshua Zirkzee may be the striker we go for. Young, playing well in Italy, was at one point considered a pretty darn good prospect, and he just looks the part for me in this system.

Works hard, likes to be involved, mobile, putting together some really well-rounded performances in a good league. I could see Ange looking at him and thinking there’s a real diamond yet to uncover. I’m sure there will be a lot of competition for him, however.
I rate Zirkzee a lot and think he has a great potential but personally I think he would be an awkward fit for our current system. Zirkzee is a deep lying forward who regularly drops deep to get involved with the build up. Its not uncommon to see him even coming into his own half to pick up the ball. His biggest strength by far is his hold up play and in general he will drift between the midfield and defensive line where he will collect the ball and look to play it on to the WF's cutting in or the AM running ahead of him. Its why Orsolini is currently on 10 goals, 1 behind Zirkzee and Ferguson is their third top goal scorer with 6. Zirkzee is often not the most advanced player and even in the box will sometimes sit on the edge of it rather then getting front and centre.

Aside from that he really needs to work on his finishing, he is a bit erratic in that regard. He certainly not a clinical striker of the ball. Also despite his size he is poor in the air so doesn't really provide a reliable target for high crosses.

What he does he does very well, his movement is excellent. He is very good at drawing defenders away from their position so the other forwards can find space, he will drop deep or drift wide almost to the wing position to destabilise the opposition defence. His physical/technical ability on the ball is also very strong making him a constant thorn in the opposition side. As I said in general his hold up play is exceptional and he is a very hard worker without the ball and presses well. I think if we ether played with a 2 up top or inverted forwards cutting in then he would be an excellent addition. Even if we played with a 4123 with the two CM's essentially being attacking midfielders/shadow strikers moving ahead of him. Essentially to make the most of his skill set you need players ahead of him running into the box feeding off his play.

I do however think you are right that we will probably be looking at him because after all he is 22, having a great season and really there just aren't that many strikers on the market. But given the way we play I think we would have to ether hope he can completely change his game to that of advanced forward/fox in the box or we would have to change our tactics to have our WF cutting in. Hypothetically if we changed the role of our wingers so Johnson and Werner cut in, with their speed Zirkzee's hold up play could be very effective. But that would require a significant tactical adjustment.

Of course he might well be able to adapt to the role, there is every chance he could. He is only 22 after all and its not as is he never runs in behind. But having watched a lot of him and given his all round game I don't know if its really a natural fit given our tacts and the role he current excels at. If we had a fluid front three then i couldn't think of a better target currently available. He really is a very unique forward who is probably one of the most exciting deep lying forwards around. For a team like Inter who play with a two up top I think he could be deadly partnering a fast CF like Thuram.
 

Ghost Hardware

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Bologna are up to 4th which is very impressive as they are a relatively small team. A few of their players might be worth looking at.
If I could take one player from Bologna it would 100% be Calafiori. Problem is that he is likely going to Juve alongside Motta at the end of the season.
 

Nick-TopSpursMan

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@Ghost Hardware some really good points on Zirkzee and I share the same concerns.

He is such a big talent though I wonder if we could both tweak our tactics slightly and coach him to attack the box more. A slight tweak in both areas along with his natural talent could turn him in to a superb player for us.

I don’t know if it would work for sure but I wonder if Ange thinks there’s a player there and that he can mould him.

Tell you what though, he would significantly improve our hold up and link play in attack and would give us an attacker who can control the tempo of attacks better.
 

Ghost Hardware

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@Ghost Hardware some really good points on Zirkzee and I share the same concerns.

He is such a big talent though I wonder if we could both tweak our tactics slightly and coach him to attack the box more. A slight tweak in both areas along with his natural talent could turn him in to a superb player for us.

I don’t know if it would work for sure but I wonder if Ange thinks there’s a player there and that he can mould him.

Tell you what though, he would significantly improve our hold up and link play in attack and would give us an attacker who can control the tempo of attacks better.
Tbh I would quite like to see more fluidity in our front line in general as I think it add's a element of unpredictably to an attack. Whilst low blocks are always hard to break down, having players with good technical ability interchanging often causes positional disruption in a deep set defence. When you rely too much on recycling to the wide areas for a low cross or cut back your attacking patterns can become predictable and more straight forward to counter.

There is certainly a lot to like about Zirkzee, I completely agree with you. I think he is a big talent. I do think in general tho for a striker his finishing really needs improving but he has some excellent attributes, there is no doubt. The issue I have with him is do we go for a target that needs moulding or one that naturally fits the system. Its essentially a question mark because we don't know for sure if he can be as effective in the role we would need him for. This is why I would be a little surprised if he was our number one target even tho im sure we are considering him.

If we adjust our tactics as you say then im all for getting him, this isn't a question about talent. The areas he's weak in like finishing could certainly improve a lot given his young age. And likewise if we do get him then I'll be very happy as im assuming Ange would believe that he can play the CF role in our system. I just think the player he is now and the role he currently plays would not translate into our tactics at all without adjustments from one or likely both sides. For that reason, regardless of his potential, I just see it as an awkward fit at present.
 

guy

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May 31, 2007
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What happened to the Marcus Edwards links, he's the only decent club trained option and would be great wildcard. Two years left on his current deal come end of the season
 

Viking78

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Aug 21, 2013
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If I could take one player from Bologna it would 100% be Calafiori. Problem is that he is likely going to Juve alongside Motta at the end of the season.
Yes, Calafiori is looking very good.
Is also interesting that whilst he is playing at left fullback for Bologna he does also play as a left centre back in a three and is more naturally drawn to the centre of the pitch when attacking. That could fit in well with out inverted fullbacks.
He will arguably have a lot of suitors and could well end up at Juve like you say. If there is a chance he would be a great option.
One slight question mark with him is injuries. He had some very severe injuries as a youngster which is partly why he has only just broken through. He seems to be over that now but proper due diligence would need to be done by medical team if we did sign him.
From the point of view that he went away to Switzerland to get playing time, im not convinced he would want to battle with Udogie for a starting spot, as he a player that is probably ready to start for a top team. Having said that, we don't know how Ange feels and possibly be wants a player with more control where Udogie can be a bit on the edge at times.
 

kendoddsdadsdogsdead

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There is certainly a lot to like about Zirkzee, I completely agree with you. I think he is a big talent. I do think in general tho for a striker his finishing really needs improving but he has some excellent attributes, there is no doubt. The issue I have with him is do we go for a target that needs moulding or one that naturally fits the system. Its essentially a question mark because we don't know for sure if he can be as effective in the role we would need him for. This is why I would be a little surprised if he was our number one target even tho im sure we are considering him.

If we adjust our tactics as you say then im all for getting him, this isn't a question about talent. The areas he's weak in like finishing could certainly improve a lot given his young age. And likewise if we do get him then I'll be very happy as im assuming Ange would believe that he can play the CF role in our system. I just think the player he is now and the role he currently plays would not translate into our tactics at all without adjustments from one or likely both sides. For that reason, regardless of his potential, I just see it as an awkward fit at present.
I might depend on Son. He’s not an out and out winger. So someone dropping in to the hole, holding it up, linking play could allow him to make those out to in runs. Think we’re missing that kind of player then a pure goal scorer. I can’t see Son not playing next year so we’re going to have to adjust anyway imo
 

Ghost Hardware

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Yes, Calafiori is looking very good.
Is also interesting that whilst he is playing at left fullback for Bologna he does also play as a left centre back in a three and is more naturally drawn to the centre of the pitch when attacking. That could fit in well with out inverted fullbacks.
He will arguably have a lot of suitors and could well end up at Juve like you say. If there is a chance he would be a great option.
One slight question mark with him is injuries. He had some very severe injuries as a youngster which is partly why he has only just broken through. He seems to be over that now but proper due diligence would need to be done by medical team if we did sign him.
From the point of view that he went away to Switzerland to get playing time, im not convinced he would want to battle with Udogie for a starting spot, as he a player that is probably ready to start for a top team. Having said that, we don't know how Ange feels and possibly be wants a player with more control where Udogie can be a bit on the edge at times.
I find Motta's tactics fascinating tbh. He essentially starts with a back 4 but in possession one of the CB will push up into midfield alongside the midfielder whilst the two FB's will stay deep to create a three. Calafiori in this has been the primary starting LCB and has played there 26 times, he has actually only played LB 6 times this season. Last season at Basel he did play more as a LB tho. Really Its his ability on the ball that is the reason why he can play this role so well. Its also why I think he could in ours as ether a LB or LCB as essentially what the CB is doing in Motta's system, moving up into midfield, is what the LB/RB does in ours all be it from a slightly wider start. He's just and excellent, versatile ball playing defender and only 21.

In general Motta's tactics are all about fluidity, creating advantageous match up's and dangerous passing lanes. Its why Zirkzee is the perfect striker for him as he very good at dropping deep into midfield. Its also why Ferguson, who usually starts central as an AM or CM, will spend most of the game sitting out wide. Essentially creating space for the striker to drop and the CM and CB to push up. Its not unusual for Zirkzee to be receiving passes from the back line and neither is it unusual for one of the CB's to be in the final third.

I know what you mean about competition tho, he has had a fantastic season and he may want to go somewhere he is a guaranteed starter. I think he would get a lot of game time for us but he probably wouldn't be the first team starter when everyone is fit which he will probably want to be and probably deserves to be judging on this season.

That's the thing really, there have been quite a few reports that Motta has already agreed to go to Juve this summer and that they have already started talks for Calafiori who is one of their primary targets along with koopmeiners. I know Juve need to sell to make money but even so I can see Calafiori wanting to go to Juve especially if Motta is their. Motta will 100% make him an important part of that team.
 

Ghost Hardware

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I might depend on Son. He’s not an out and out winger. So someone dropping in to the hole, holding it up, linking play could allow him to make those out to in runs. Think we’re missing that kind of player then a pure goal scorer. I can’t see Son not playing next year so we’re going to have to adjust anyway imo
But then we would need to adjust our tactics to allow the WF to cut in which essentially compresses our width. Im not saying i disagree with what your saying but Ange seems very keen for our wide forwards to hug the touchline in order to keep the pitch as wide as possible, I would be surprised if he change it so drastically as to accommodate an inside forward coming central. The only logical way to do that is if you keep one of your FB's wide instead of inverting. Essentially its not a simple change and would require a tactical tweaking across the pitch.
 

Nick-TopSpursMan

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Aug 4, 2005
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But then we would need to adjust our tactics to allow the WF to cut in which essentially compresses our width. Im not saying i disagree with what your saying but Ange seems very keen for our wide forwards to hug the touchline in order to keep the pitch as wide as possible, I would be surprised if he change it so drastically as to accommodate an inside forward coming central. The only logical way to do that is if you keep one of your FB's wide instead of inverting. Essentially it’s not a simple change and would require a tactical tweaking across the pitch.

And if you want to see what it looks like when you stick an inside forward or playmaking AM out wide as the main form of width in a very rigid way, just look at Grealish for City. Doesn’t work for him and doesn’t work well for City either imo. He cuts inside every single time.

That is why I’m hesitant about going for someone like Eze and playing him wide left.
 

kendoddsdadsdogsdead

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But then we would need to adjust our tactics to allow the WF to cut in which essentially compresses our width. Im not saying i disagree with what your saying but Ange seems very keen for our wide forwards to hug the touchline in order to keep the pitch as wide as possible, I would be surprised if he change it so drastically as to accommodate an inside forward coming central. The only logical way to do that is if you keep one of your FB's wide instead of inverting. Essentially its not a simple change and would require a tactical tweaking across the pitch.
Dont think Son can play as a central lone forward or a go on the outside winger and can’t see him not being here or even not starting next season so I’m sure we’ll alter things a little.

Don’t think it’s drastic change. Even now when son or even Werner play wide they stay wide for the first phase but both tend to come inside onto there stronger foot particularly Son. Don’t think the movement and combination play with the central forward is clicking though when that happens.

having a full back going on the outside won’t be too much of a problem for the players imo. It’s something that will come naturally when they pick up the movements. Think Ange said at the start of the season, players bring different attributes to a position so I don’t think he’s set in stone on both wingers going on the outside. I think we’ll look to try and get Son more shooting opportunities next year so I think a top hold up/link forward is going to be really important
 

kendoddsdadsdogsdead

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And if you want to see what it looks like when you stick an inside forward or playmaking AM out wide as the main form of width in a very rigid way, just look at Grealish for City. Doesn’t work for him and doesn’t work well for City either imo. He cuts inside every single time.

That is why I’m hesitant about going for someone like Eze and playing him wide left.
I don’t know if Doku is more effective than Grealish for them. not convinced personally and City don’t really have an overlapping left back either. Udogie could definitely do that job for us(don’t think he’s actually been that effective coming inside in the final third. His biggest strength is ball carrying from deep.

Son is also different from Grealish who’s more about ball retention where Son will try and get a shot off from that inside left channel. The problem for alot of this season has been the combination football with the centre forward/inverted full backs and working enough space to get shots off.

think Eze could do well as a 10, LW with Udogie altering the way he plays slightly or even an 8 in some games. If there is an issue with Grealish is that he vary rarely takes players out of the game anymore not that he comes inside. if you beat players you’re still opening up gaps. Saka comes inside 90% of the time but he commits players. Someone like Olise is similar. Eze has the ability to do that too.
 

Ghost Hardware

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Dont think Son can play as a central lone forward or a go on the outside winger and can’t see him not being here or even not starting next season so I’m sure we’ll alter things a little.

Don’t think it’s drastic change. Even now when son or even Werner play wide they stay wide for the first phase but both tend to come inside onto there stronger foot particularly Son. Don’t think the movement and combination play with the central forward is clicking though when that happens.

having a full back going on the outside won’t be too much of a problem for the players imo. It’s something that will come naturally when they pick up the movements. Think Ange said at the start of the season, players bring different attributes to a position so I don’t think he’s set in stone on both wingers going on the outside. I think we’ll look to try and get Son more shooting opportunities next year so I think a top hold up/link forward is going to be really important
Thing is if you move the FB wide then you have to account for that in the centre of the pitch especially when you loose possession. It’s not as simple as getting the FB to go on the outside whilst the WF changes into an IF.

Likewise if you keep your WF wide in the middle build up phase but then cut in in the final third then you would sort of need your FB to underlap but cross over in the final third to continue to provide width. This has actually happened at times but more with Porro and usually when we are chasing a goal towards the end of a game. In general tho If the FB remains inverted alongside an IF then you’re just going to crowd the middle of the pitch whilst also having no wide cover.

Not that it can’t be done I just don’t think it’s as simple a change as it might seem due to the importance of the inverted FB’s in the press. It would take bit of tactical adjustment to get it working right imo.

Thing is when Son was at his best he was running the channels but primarily sat in the left half space. That is the position currently taken up by Maddison and Udogie all be it not as high up, If Son was going to move back there with Udogie going wide he would have to take on the pressing side of that position and i really struggle to see him and Maddison doing it effectively enough. You would have to make further tactical adjustments further down the pitch.

Ultimately Son will be 32 in July and I’m not sure he will have the stamina to comfortably play wide in this system regardless. I do agree tho that the attack in general needs improving and probably tweaking tactically. At the moment it is at times too one dimensional and lacking creativity imo but I also wonder if we had more dynamic wingers then we would look a lot more threatening. In general there can certainly at times be a lack synergy across the front 4. Ether way I think we all agree it’s an area that needs improving and adjusting. As does our back line tbh.

Whilst I’m not sure we will start seeing inside forwards instead of wide forwards next season I do think there will be small tactical changes across the pitch plus new players who will be better suited to implement said changes.

Anyway to get this back on track I personally see us going for more of a Sesko or Vlahovic style striker then a deep lying forward like Zirkzee. I also just saw Milan have him as one of their top targets for the summer. If they manage to keep hold of Leao that could be a clever move as I think Leao could feed off his play very well. I think Zirkzee could elevate Leao’s game a lot. I would however be surprised if Leao stays next season.
 

kendoddsdadsdogsdead

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Thing is if you move the FB wide then you have to account for that in the centre of the pitch especially when you loose possession. It’s not as simple as getting the FB to go on the outside whilst the WF changes into an IF.

Likewise if you keep your WF wide in the middle build up phase but then cut in in the final third then you would sort of need your FB to underlap but cross over in the final third to continue to provide width. This has actually happened at times but more with Porro and usually when we are chasing a goal towards the end of a game. In general tho If the FB remains inverted alongside an IF then you’re just going to crowd the middle of the pitch whilst also having no wide cover.

Not that it can’t be done I just don’t think it’s as simple a change as it might seem due to the importance of the inverted FB’s in the press. It would take bit of tactical adjustment to get it working right imo.

Thing is when Son was at his best he was running the channels but primarily sat in the left half space. That is the position currently taken up by Maddison and Udogie all be it not as high up, If Son was going to move back there with Udogie going wide he would have to take on the pressing side of that position and i really struggle to see him and Maddison doing it effectively enough. You would have to make further tactical adjustments further down the pitch.

Ultimately Son will be 32 in July and I’m not sure he will have the stamina to comfortably play wide in this system regardless. I do agree tho that the attack in general needs improving and probably tweaking tactically. At the moment it is at times too one dimensional and lacking creativity imo but I also wonder if we had more dynamic wingers then we would look a lot more threatening. In general there can certainly at times be a lack synergy across the front 4. Ether way I think we all agree it’s an area that needs improving and adjusting. As does our back line tbh.

Whilst I’m not sure we will start seeing inside forwards instead of wide forwards next season I do think there will be small tactical changes across the pitch plus new players who will be better suited to implement said changes.

Anyway to get this back on track I personally see us going for more of a Sesko or Vlahovic style striker then a deep lying forward like Zirkzee. I also just saw Milan have him as one of their top targets for the summer. If they manage to keep hold of Leao that could be a clever move as I think Leao could feed off his play very well. I think Zirkzee could elevate Leao’s game a lot. I would however be surprised if Leao stays next season.
Good points. Definitely food for thought. Id say though for me it’s not really any different to a traditional full back. Sometimes coming infield in the build up going on the outside in the final third. How we built up with rose and Eriksen/Son coming inside(in different ways). Every system/formation can work but also be exploited. sometimes we can over complicate things. I reckon players pick things up pretty quickly.

I’d definitely be happy with Sesko. He looks like he’s got a bit of everything. Think Zirkzee could give the team some missing ingredients as well. Don’t think we’d see two inside forwards but could see 1 with tho other wide player being a more direct threat high and wide
 

ItsBoris

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Jan 18, 2011
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I rate Zirkzee a lot and think he has a great potential but personally I think he would be an awkward fit for our current system. Zirkzee is a deep lying forward who regularly drops deep to get involved with the build up. Its not uncommon to see him even coming into his own half to pick up the ball. His biggest strength by far is his hold up play and in general he will drift between the midfield and defensive line where he will collect the ball and look to play it on to the WF's cutting in or the AM running ahead of him. Its why Orsolini is currently on 10 goals, 1 behind Zirkzee and Ferguson is their third top goal scorer with 6. Zirkzee is often not the most advanced player and even in the box will sometimes sit on the edge of it rather then getting front and centre.

Aside from that he really needs to work on his finishing, he is a bit erratic in that regard. He certainly not a clinical striker of the ball. Also despite his size he is poor in the air so doesn't really provide a reliable target for high crosses.

I think this may be more in the mould of what we're looking for though. When we were at our best this season, Richarlison was dropping pretty deep to get the ball, and often we had Maddison and Sarr breaking forward in front of him. I feel like it's more important in that position, with the way we play, to have players who can hold the ball in really tight spaces and find passes to others. Otherwise with effectively a 2-3-5 formation in attack, if you have forwards who don't have good hold up play and don't keep the ball well, then you're super exposed to counters like we saw against Newcastle.

I'm still not 100% sure what Ange wants in this system from each position, but there's a lot of interchange obviously, and the wide forwards stay very wide until the last few moves of attacks, and that to me suggests the need for a forward that's more of a false 9 than an out and out striker/fox in the box. And the players we've been linked to also suggest that's the kind of profile we're after imo.
 

ItsBoris

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Jan 18, 2011
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Good points. Definitely food for thought. Id say though for me it’s not really any different to a traditional full back. Sometimes coming infield in the build up going on the outside in the final third. How we built up with rose and Eriksen/Son coming inside(in different ways). Every system/formation can work but also be exploited. sometimes we can over complicate things. I reckon players pick things up pretty quickly.

I’d definitely be happy with Sesko. He looks like he’s got a bit of everything. Think Zirkzee could give the team some missing ingredients as well. Don’t think we’d see two inside forwards but could see 1 with tho other wide player being a more direct threat high and wide

I might be a bit naive here, but we have fullbacks who can come inside or overlap, while we don't really have wide forwards that can do both roles. However, if we could do both (ie invert fullback and keep forward wide, or overlap fullback and have forward cut inside), then I think it would be much harder to handle for opposition teams, if we're capable of adjusting the system like that. So if we could get wide players capable of playing both ways I think we'd be a lot more dangerous. And then like I said previously I think a forward who's more of a false 9 or at least good with the ball at his feet is a better idea than a poacher.
 
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