As the international break tapers I figured it would be a good time to look at the early returns from our summer signings. Let’s just say they’ve been…. mixed. Or to be more fair, they have done as much to bolster our depth in the infirmary as they have on the sidelines.
So, I’m going to just shoot from the hip, not think too hard about it, and give some quick snap judgements heavily laden with my personal biases. Feel free to disagree and debate.
From best to worst:
- Andreolli: Look. He’s not the best center back. And I think some of us get frustrated that he sometimes boots the ball instead of finding a way to distribute it. But he stepped in with almost no notice at all. He has been poised and assured. Rumors suggest that the team might exercise the option to buy. Grade: A-
- Krohn-Deli: Saying he was immense against Barca might be an understatement. He was simply fantastic. He was absolutely overshadowed in the off season I think because we signed him so early and with so little fanfare. Attention turned towards the other signings of young guys with potentially higher ceilings. But MKD was great at Celta and after a somewhat quiet start in his first few appearances, I think he has settled very well and looks to potentially be a very important player going forward. [Full disclosure: He is so underrated that I somehow forgot to include him in the first draft of this post. Or maybe its that he’s now so well adjusted I didn’t think of him as a new arrival…. Thanks Mark for catching it.] Grade: A-
- Nzonzi: I’m probably putting him above where most others have, but I thought he’s looked pretty good aside from the game where he had just lost something absurd like 20 pounds from an illness. He was really good against Barca and I think is adapting more and more. Grade: B
- Konoplyanka: He was by far our most hyped signing. He still hasn’t really settled into the team. He has undoubtedly had some spectacular moments so far and has scored three goals for the team. Most importantly was his golazo of a free kick against Rayo Vallecano saving us all three points. But in the run of play so far I haven’t been overly impressed. I still expect very big things from him before the end of the season, but I’m still waiting for us to see his best. Grade: B-
- Rami: He looked very good at the beginning of the season. He’d probably get an A if he stayed healthy. But he didn’t. Looking forward to having him back soon. Grade: B-
- Mariano: He seems to have shown flashes, but Coke has been in really top form. I think the instability/inexperience of our CB positions has also made Emery hesitant to compromise any experience at RB and thus limited Mariano’s opportunities. I’m hoping he gets some more opportunities and shows us more of the attacking ability he has flashed. Grade B-
- Llorente: I was very hesitant about this signing. Its nice to have a different type of striking option, but from what I can tell Emery hasn’t figured out a system that works with what he brings to the table. Of course, that isn’t Llorente’s fault as much as Emery’s who has been constrained by huge numbers of injuries limiting his options. But what I have seen from Llorente has been very underwhelming. Slow and not particularly sharp. I don’t have any clue why he came on in the Barca game when we needed to apply pressure, have fresh legs, and finish off the game. Grade: C-
- Immobile: I’m not willing to give up on him yet. Monchi went after him hard in the offseason and I think there’s a reasons. He hasn’t had many opportunities, but its hard to say that he has deserved many given his performances. He’ll have more opportunities and I think he will be an important player by the end of the season, but he’s been a big disappointment so far. Grade: D+
- Escudero and Kakuta: Apparently these guys are on our team. Maybe they’ll get healthy some day and we can see how they actually play. Grade: Incomplete
Now, please tell me why I’m wildly wrong or off base.