With three games in a week, Lambert decided to rotate the players a bit. It gave the fans the chance to see more of the new signings and the league cup should give us further clues.

What can we make of the new signings so far?

My thoughts are that Luna is good going forward but is he any better than Bennett, who is also better going forward than in defence? With Baker a more solid left back, how much value is there in Luna?

Jores Okore has had a disrupted pre-season but when he has played has looked rapid and has done very well for a player of his age.

I am expecting to see more of Nicklas Helenius in the cup game but he has some similarities to Peter Crouch perhaps – subtle touches and flicks and similar to look at. He is still a largely unknown quantity.

Aleksandar Tonev, I think, will add depth to the squad and cover for Agbonlahor and Weimann’s positions. He can be a substitute when they tire and take on N’Zogbia’s role, assuming he will not play again for us.

Jed Steer is a confident youngster but has only played pre-season. Shay Given is also expected to move on soon.

Finally, there is Leandro Bacuna. I always think these midfield types take the longest to adapt. He may need patience. Look at Delph and KEA. Westwood also got better in the second half of the season.

Overall, I was quite surprised: nearly all managers sign players to improve the team rather than add to the squad but it seems Lambert has signed some players who will not obviously nail down their starting role immediately. It’s another interesting facet of how Lambert works.

I am certainly going to enjoy the sub-plot of how the new players develop and bed-in to the manager’s side, especially as I am expecting a solid year without the threat of relegation.


Article by Alex Skerten.


  1. agree with all of that
    I’m sure he will improve but I found bacuna wanting and having seen delph finally blossom I wworry that bacuna is our new liability, of course to be fair 1 game doesn’t prove anything, haave been impressed with the battle in them, and few would ave predicted the way the last 3 games have panned out, so lets keep being fans and support the lads on the pitch

  2. At last someone who agrees with me about Luna, Saw him against Shamrock Rovers whose team is extremely poor and he was roasted all day he really is an accident waiting to happen. He seems to have no pace to burst past defenders and cuts inside onto weaker foot and slows attacks down. I hope Baker is back ASAP. Okore looks good and im hoping that he and Clarke will end up playing together.

    Bacuna’s MOM award was laughable at weekend, will need time and decision making poor.

  3. It does seem unusual to strengthen the squad and not really the side. We did need more depth though. Concerns over Luna and Bacuna, what did people make of early glimpses of Tonev and Helenius?

  4. “….nearly all managers sign players to improve the team rather than add to the squad but it seems Lambert has signed some players who will not obviously nail down their starting role immediately…” – what nonsense!! Managers sign players who they expect to be in the team and others for cover or development – Lambert is no different. Luna and Okore have already broken through and all others have already made debuts and will gradually get more playing time

    Far too early for an article of this type and anyone writing our new signings off after a few minutes of playing time needs to get a grip.
    I remember posters slagging off Benteke after half a dozen games last year

    Finally, Baker will never, ever, ever make a PL full-back – he offers nothing whatsoever going forward

  5. My opinion from what I have seen so far it’s difficult to judge based on a few appearances.

    OKore-Strong,fast and with fitness and experience will only get better I was generally impressed with him on Saturday.

    Bacuna-I think he was nervous saturday his decison making wasn’t the best and he did give the ball away a bit cheaply. However I think he could come good.

    Luna- Not convinced at all defensively a liability his positioning is very poor and teams will look to exploit our left side. Going forward provides a good outlet but definately needs work on his defensive side.

    Tonev- He has skill, pace and trickery no doubt about that however too lightweight easily bullied by bigger opponents needs to get physically stronger.

    Helenius- Nice feet and touch he’s intelligent with the ball but like Tonev very lightweight and will be bossed by bigger opponents unless he gets stronger physically.

    Steer- In pre season showed some promise looks a good shot stopper, but as we know it takes time to become a good all round goal keeper.

  6. I am not writing anyone off at this stage, but 3 games in gives us an initial impression. The article is even called “early thoughts…”
    Also, I have heard plenty of managers say they won’t sign a player unless they think it improves on what they have already. I just wondered how that applies to the likes of Bacuna and Luna. Of course any manager will assume any player they sign will play a big role in the side at some stage, but no manager can get it right all the time.

  7. It is too early to judge however:

    – Okore looks solid but have yet to see the lightning pace everyone’s going on about, he hardly got above a trot against Liverpool and did not look quick at all to me
    – Tonev looks dangerous, but where do we play him. Noone seems to agree with me on this but against decent teams he would have to play instead of Gabby or Weimann, we can’t afford an attacking midfielder who doesn’t defend when we have 3 upfront so unless we go 4 4 2….
    – Bacuna had a couple of nice moments but generally poor against Liverpool
    – I like what I have seen of the lanky one but too soon to tell
    – Not sure Steer better than Siegrist who is class
    – I like Luna but maybe I am being sucked in to the whole ony Moon cult, not an out and out defender


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