As one window closes so another season opens up
Last night saw the closing of the transfer window for 2006 and the Club ended a lengthy period of negotiations that has seen no fewer than eight new faces join the squad.
To re-cap, we started our business early and brought Dimitar Berbatov, Didier Zokora, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Dorian Dervite and Tomas Pekhart to the Club.
We have now added to those with the signings of Steed Malbranque and Pascal Chimbondaand lets not forget the return to the Lane of a fan favourite, Mido.
Scanning his new team sheet Martin gave us his verdict: "We have a squad that I am confident can improve on our performances last season.
"When I look down the list I can see many options and all the positions are covered by at least two players capable of playing them.
"We have four top strikers up front. Dimitar has opened his account and I know he wants to go on and achieve an impressive tally. He is very creative in the area. Mido, of course, is well known at the Lane - he is a strong target man.
"Much has been made of our need for a left winger. Yes, it would have been good to have secured an out and out left footer, but we did not want to accept second best and whats more, we dont need to - think about it, I now have Steed who can play on the left, Teemu, Reto, even Aaron can and I also have Benoit who has enormous potential and can bring play forward.
"Steed is so versatile he can play left, middle or right and he is the type of quality player that gives you many options. As an attacking midfielder he creates chances for the players around him. He joins a midfield of real strength and depth which now includes our other new signing, the world-class player Didier Zokora.
"Pascal adds that extra bit in defence not only is he solid, he is also an attacking player and I know his team-mates are going to thrive on having him in the squad.
"So, we have our team. I am impatient to get the lads back from international duty and to get out on the training ground. We have not had the start to the season we all would have wanted so we must start to gel and to get the best out of each and every player.
"The support the Board has given me to put together a squad which gives us a real chance to compete at the highest level has been total and I want our fans to know that there is a fierce determination to step up our performances."
Our Sporting Director Damien Comolli added his thoughts on the transfer window, commenting: "It was what I would describe as a tight window - options were few and when you know what you want it makes it harder because you are looking to fill a very specific brief - the better you are the harder it is to find the players to add that further improvement. But if things cant happen ideally then you have to be creative. Martin and I have had many discussions and the defining aspect is always that Martin should feel he has the players with whom he can compete. And Im pleased to say that we have achieved that.
"I am always grateful for the healthy scepticism our fans attribute to the speculation in the media. It has been rife this window and it would appear that we have targeted half the Premiership footballers, not to mention those abroad!
"We had two things happen which we ideally would have liked a different outcome for - Michael (Carrick) decided that he wanted to head north and Middlesbrough felt they did not want to part with Stewart Downing and we must respect both those decisions.
"At the end of every window we must ask ourselves - have we improved the squad? - and the answer is yes because we have added good players in positions we wanted to strengthen and so we have increased the overall quality of the squad. Additionally they are young, but experienced and have a real desire to be at the Club and help bring us success."
Martin Jol and Damien Comolli comment on our busy summer of transfer dealings.