Would you not agree Luke the strong possibility of us qualifying for the CL requires players that can compete comfortably at that level, not just two or three established internationals but a strengthening of the whole squad that will allow the team to compete in the Prem and the CL to an acceptable standard.
At this very moment if two or three vital players took the knock we would be in the shitty creek paddleless, if and when we do progress to the next level the situation will be magnified because obviously we will play more games and any weakness in squad numbers identified.
For one reason or the other we need strength in depth now, the diluting of the squad and venturing into the loan market has not helped one iota, the longer that situation prevails the harder it is to rectify.
One thing jumps out here Luke is that all of these solutions can be addressed by the same thing - money, our owners maintain their's is a long term strategy for the stadium issue and the strengthening of the squad, again the same solution applies - money.
Their refusal to back BR adequately coincidentally also entails the same entity.
I agree 100% mate and the only bone of contention for me is where the responsibility lies. I fear that if this same squad tried to compete next season without addition we would fail on all fronts simply because the modern game requires a certain level of fitness per game to compete and that can't be maintained over a full season from such a small core. Either that or we could just concentrate on one competition and be happy to limp out of the others relying on the fringe players.
It is exactly why I think this point has merit in discussing. While it will be fantastic to achieve our dreams and lift the title or what now appears the minimum of qualifying again for the CL, like a newly promoted side it only really counts if you establish yourself there and that's what our aim will be. With that in mind and if we do accept there is a problem then personally I look towards the root cause. Now for you Stuey, correct me if I'm wrong, but you feel that the owners should shoulder the largest percentage of the responsibility for our current weak squad? I actually think the problem could be a bit more complex than simply money. While endless funds will generally get what you want in football, you do actually have to buy players of a certain standard to be able to coach them to success. The 2 from 16 comment was DLS's and while it may seem slightly harsh to some, they are the only genuine upgrades I can see on the players they've replaced.
To examine that point for a moment, Sakho, he essentially replaced Carra, a difficult task and a good replacement he could well be, but there are still doubts about his ability and to say he was an upgrade on Carra would be a stretch in anyone's book. That case could be looked at as exceptional as we had a retiring legend, well we're going to have that problem again soon enough in Gerrard and no matter how hard it is to replace them if we replace our best players with worse players there's only one way we will go. Cissokho, he's done a squad job and really done what he was brought for, but an upgrade in his position, not for me. Allen could prove vital in time and there was plenty to like about his most recent cameo, but over the time he's been here it's hard to say he's been an upgrade on anyone we've played in the middle, Shelvey or Adam would be his best comparison and it would probably end up in the usual differences in that debate but I don't think there's much between any of them at the moment. Mignolet an upgrade, again it's debatable, not for me on the balance of all things, potentially but it's certainly not clear at the moment. So I can see where DLS was coming from with the 2 from 16 comment.
Now the point of all this is that we must, as you suggest, buy quality and improve on our first team players in the Summer if we want to move on to the next level. The current weaknesses in the first team must be pushed down to squad player status and everyone knows that is the most natural way to progress. So as I've said before, I've no doubts about Brendan's coaching ability but his transfers still remain a doubt for me.
I also agree with Scotia and it should go without saying that performances, results and trophies come first in the assessment of any manager. Then his transfers and finally as a minor point media handling, but that really should be blatantly obvious and anyone that thinks criticism of media handling is a snipe or suggestion to get the manager out is a complete moron.