Date: 19th July 2009 at 7:05pm
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Riera, Benayoun, Babel, Dossena, Aurelio, Leto and even Kuyt in the last year have played left side of midfield/forward but no one has made the place their own. In the past we have tried Kewell, Mark Gonzales, Riise and even Gerrard before we found his calling as a second striker but no-one has truly fitted Rafa’s job description for the left side.

Depending on the opposition Benitez has opted for Riera and Benayoun – against strong, in the air defenders he uses Benayoun and plays the essence of pass and move to unlock the door; against average defenders or keepers that are poor on crosses he prefers Riera drill balls into Torres or Kuyt coming in from the right hand side. So is this enough or does Rafa have someone up his sleeve………. or is it play it again Sam?

Earlier in the month we were linked with Ribery, who lets face, who would find a place for in any team but Rafa would never have signed him as he is too much an enigma/free spirit. We have also been linked with David Silva who would have no problem settling into the Spanish Foreign Legion but what we need is that x-factor but with English characteristics of commitment and work rate for the team – I give you Ashley Young.

Ashley Young Aston Villa 2008/09

You put Ashley Young on our team sheet and all of a sudden the opposition have more to think about than Gerrard and Alonso. He is comfortable with both feet, lightning fast and not afraid to beat a man and go for goal, something that we are missing in our squad. Now the next question is can we afford him with the overall current financial situation?

Personally, I feel that the same reasons that we paid over the odds for Glen Johnson apply here – he’s 23 years of age, breaking into the English senior side who will want to be playing the highest level with it being a world cup year, he is nearly the finished article and also as he is English, it will bring our squad nationality quota back into line with the future UEFA requirements. So do we gamble and put all our eggs in one basket on Ashley young or try and wheel and deal and bring in 3-4 players who might make the grade? I think this season its all about finding the missing pieces of the jigsaw.