Player of the Year-No. 3
BIG AUDIO DYNAMITE rather painfully reminded us of our line-up against Midjtylland in late July last year. Apart from a few players who were rarely seen again for us,we had a central defensive pairing of Stephen Welsh and Dane Murray. 21yo and 18yo respectively,and the latter is a central midfielder,not a central defender! The scale of the rebuild facing Ange and Dom was already clear to us all,and to them too. That team selection,from the players available to AP,emphasised it for all to see. The result,followed by a few other defeats in the following five weeks,magnified it so that nobody could ignore it.
So we brought in Carl Starfelt for £4.5m from Ruben Kazan in Russia. A Swedish international who,although he took time to settle into an unfamiliar left sided cental defender role,performed very well indeed for us as the season wore on. And at the end of the transfer window,we finally brought in a partner on loan for him,and from no less a club than Spurs.
It didn’t take long for us to do a bit of digging on this US internationalist. He was just shy of his 24rth birthday,yet had never played an EPL game for the club he had been with for five years already. He had plyed his trade on loan to various championship sides,playing a grand total of 125 games in those four years,and it seemed that none of them had been sufficiently impressed as to consider making Spurs an offer for a permanent transfer. Was I concerned that we had signed someone who would be out of his depth? You are darn tootin’ I was! We needed the finished article in those roles,and Cameron Carter-Vickers was far from that.
Or so I thought anyway. Not that it mattered all that much anyway,I consoled myself. The season was all about improving on the one before to the extent that we could be likely to mount a challenge the following year. Bhoy oh bhoy,just how much did I get wrong back then?!!!
Starfelt and CCV were as impressive a partnership perhaps since the heady days of Bobo and Johann Mjallby. And while I nominate CCV for third place in our Player of the Year awards,it was a marginal call for me over his partner. Starfelt,of course,is actually our player,while CCV has already returned to his club,hopefully awaiting developments on a formal offer from Celtic for his services on a permanent basis. And Starfelt is clearly more comfortable on the right of our central defence,a role which he can forget about if we sign CCV. None of which detracts from the obvious fact that we need to sign a left sided centre back. And they are like hen’s teeth,and it will be difficult to find one who is of a good enough standard but willing to be a third choice behind the incumbents. But how does a manager bin a combo which lost 18 goals in 33 games,out of our total of 22 in 38?
More to the point,how can we even contemplate not paying the agreed £6m to Spurs for someone who has settled superbly into our set-up,one who petrifies the opposition at both ends of the pitch? If he reminds me of any of our past heroes,it would be Paul Elliott-fast on the ground,strong in the tackle and immense in the air. He’s not a bad comparison to have on your CV,CCV!
You know it makes sense,get contract terms as good as you can manage from Celtic and sign on the dotted line. Even in three years time,you will only be 27yo,plenty of time to impress in the world’s foremost tournament,the Champions League,plenty of time to be comparing suitors for that big juicy contract to come.
If Cameron Carter-Vickers continues to perform for us as well in the future as he did last season,we will do well to even keep him that long. Which is a bridge we can cross when we come to it. In the meantime,give him what he is asking for and get him signed up. It will be a long time before we can ever again sign a centre back of his quality,never mind for such a paltry fee. And this time,don’t tell Southampton we are having a fire sale!!!
Cameron Carter-Vickers is my pick for the bronze medal in our POTY awards. He certainly deserves it.
Above article by BMCUWP