So, no. 19 is in the bag, and the future looks rosy. But are we really a young team?
Around 28 years is when a footballer hits their prime. Obviously there's a bit more leeway for goalkeepers, and to a lesser extent, defenders.
I posted the above because a few times I've heard this is a "young" team. I don't buy that. It isn't old by any stretch of the imagination, but it's not what I would call, young. There's some gas in the tank of course, and even at 30 to 32, players are still capable of tearing it up. Nobody is panicking just yet, but over half our first pick XI are 28 (prime) or older. I didn't include Milner because he's never going to get old
What do you think?
Good discussion topic.
First I'd say, we are young enough for next season.
Maybe for the next season you start to look at Henderson and Gini. If one or both of them start to drop in standard due to Father Time, you would ID Curtis Jones as one possible option. I fully expect at some point either Trent or Neco to play more in central midfield, so that may be an option. Leighton Clarkson is another promising midfield player although still quite young. But maybe by then we do identify an established midfield player who does the kinds of things Hendo and Gini do, with the quality and commitment they bring to the table (again, depending on the aging process for Hendo and Gini). Fabinho and Keita should be 2 of the 3 first choice midfielders day in and day out by then.
The front three should be good as first choice at least for another season. Minamino will be one option, with Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott others to keep an eye on. But by 2021-22 season, I would think at least one more established forward would be coming in to at least share that first choice role. I don't think Divock will be more than a backup for us, but he might stay through his contract.
So yes, time marches on (for all players and all teams), but clearly any revision of the team lineup will be bit by bit, and there won't be any major changes to the roster this summer minus a few players going out and maybe a free transfer or two coming in to fill depth roles for those departing like Lallana.