Re-Ranking the Newbies

Back in mid-October I wrote a post on the progress of our new signings.  For context, I believe this was right after we beat Barca.  Here was the gist:

  1. Andreolli: A-
  2. MKD: A-
  3. Nzonzi: B
  4. Konoplyanka: B-
  5. Rami: B-
  6. Mariano: B-
  7. Llorente: C-
  8. Immobile: D+
  9. Kakuta and Escudero: Incomplete

Looking back at these…  What do you think?  Let me give a quick re-grade with some thoughts.

  1. Rami: A.  He was docked in the earlier version for health reasons (which in retrospect seems a bit harsh).  He’s firmly established as our first choice CB and improves with every game.
  2. Nzonzi: A-.  Maybe I’m just feeling sympathetic since he lost his opportunity to play in the CdR final, but over the last month he’s gone from a spotty rotation player to seemingly top class.  He’s winning balls defensively, distributing well, and charging forward.  Hopefully this is a real trend and we’re now seeing the real Nzonzi.
  3. MKD: B+.  I think his grade was inflated on the heals of his Barca masterpiece.  He then had a stretch of being meh, but has now reasserted himself as a reliable member of the team.  I think good, but not spectacular (though he’s certainly had some good moments).
  4. Mariano: B+. I think most on here feel that he should be the first choice RB.  But for some reason, he still isn’t.  He’s seemingly improved steadily through the season.  I’d just like to see him get more opportunities in bigger games.
  5. Escudero: B.  He’s a capable replacement when he rotates in for Tremoulinas.  He’s a similar player to Tremo too from what I’ve seen.  Happy to see him continue progressing.
  6. Andreolli: B.  Its unfair to drop his grade so much.  Its just that he’s basically lost to us with his horrible injury.  I’ll be surprised if we exercise his purchase option.
  7. Konoplyanka: B.  I’ll nudge him up slightly, but it might just be because my coffee is kicking in and I’m in a good mood.  It’s true that he has gotten a few goals and assists.  But he’s also had extended stretches of invisibility when given opportunities.  He’s not committed to defense.  He seems greedy to me while attacking.  Undoubted talent, but there’s a reason MKD has beaten him out as a first choice player.  I’d LOVE for Kono to now realize his potential and grab that LW spot back.  But he is yet to seize the starting chances he’s been given.
  8. Llorente: C-.  And this is generous.  I’m not at all happy with Llorente.  Clumsy with the ball.  Not as dominant in the air as he should be.  Doesn’t fit our team strategy.  Immobile (ironic that probably his most defining characteristic is the name his departed competitor for the second striker spot).
  9. Immobile: D.  Bye bye.  I wish you’d been given more of a chance (see Llorente).  You fit better with our team than he did.  But you didn’t.  And you didn’t seize your chances.  For whatever its worth, in Turin he has a goal and two assists in six appearances…
  10. Kakuta:  Incomplete.  Bye bye.  Tell Stephane “nǐ hǎo” for us!  I wish you’d had a chance too (you showed a few flashes) but you didn’t.  Good luck!

Let me add this.

  • Monchi: B+.  You’re never going to bat 100%.  He had some hits with those top four in my opinion.  But Ciro Immobile and Llorente have been big misses especially given the money we paid out and are going to continue paying out for them.  Konoplyanka remains a big disappointment for me as well (though he still has time to prove me wrong.  PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG!).  This would look worse if Gameiro didn’t suddenly catch fire, helping us to overlook Monchi’s failure to find another capable striker to rotate in with him.  But if Banega or Gameiro go down at any point.  We remain in BIG trouble.

Too nice?  Too harsh?  Thoughts?