“I had him from the start” – The Dream Team Dilemma

by Vincent Ralph

I was this close to getting it right. This close to being the scout, manager and master tactician I’ve always claimed to be.

I was this close to putting Michu in my dream team.

I knew, was absolutely certain, he’d score goals. But I already had Hazard and Kagawa – because I knew, was absolutely certain, they’d score goals, too. And a midfield three who between them had never kicked a single ball in the Premier League – that was too big a risk to take.

Hazard, Kagawa, Michu – they’re newbies.

I remember Florent Malouda arriving with such fanfare at Stamford Bridge that I put him in that year’s dream team without so much as a scouting mission to Youtube.

He was a steal, they said. He’d take the league by storm. But he wasn’t, and he didn’t.

He wasn’t that bad once he’d settled. But that’s the important bit: the settling.

And that’s why I avoided Michu. He’d need time to find his feet. Even if he was ridiculously cheap…and he was listed as a midfielder although he plays off the front man…and he’d finished last season with 15 goals in Spain.

Turns out he knows exactly where his feet are, and they know exactly where the goal is. And I should have gone with my gut.

Because now, when the first transfer window opens and everyone puts him in, I miss the chance to say what any good dream team manager has said once or twice over the years: “I had him from the start”.

I said it with Phil Jones and Kyle Walker last year. And I said it with Dzagoev during the Euros.

Maybe I only picked the latter because a couple of papers said he was half decent, but I still had him from the start. By the time others clocked on, Russia were out and I could pretend I’d been scouting them for months.

So who did I pick instead of Michu? I picked the works-his-socks-off, chips-in-with-a-goal-or-two, consistent 7 out of 10er that is Ji-Sung Park.

Same price as Michu if you’re interested, and the man whose new team was utterly destroyed by Swansea and the player I almost had but didn’t.

It’s only one game. But something tells me he’s going to be a steal, that he’ll take the league by storm. I can only imagine how the real managers feel.

By Vincent Ralph

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