I think we need to have top four as a target. What we don't need to do is sack everyone in sight, should we fail to reach the target. From last season, I think only the Academy staff is intact. The rest is new. That's not the way to do it. But we need to aim high and then see where we need to strengthen. Much better than aiming for 6th and then celebrate when we get there.
I disagree that we have done a "Newcastle". IMO, we haven't even started. All we've done is scratched the surface a little. We've done the easy bit that required next to no work at all. It's Kuyt, Maxi, Aquilani... Not saying it was wrong here, just saying it was the easy part. Next?
For example, we need to question if we should continue to pay Carra and Gerrard some combined 200k/w. Carra is no longer first pick and Gerrard played half of the league games last season. Worth it? Add Cole and Carroll. Adam. Downing. Now we're talking close to 500k/w or 25M/year. How about Reina? He's 30 this month. If we want to sell him, the time is now. How about an injury prone 33-year old Bellamy? How many of them do we want as first picks? How many of them can fill that role and do what's required of them?
My point here is not to debate individual players!
My point is the depth we need to go to. We should go through every single player. We can't do all changes at once, but I think we are far off having gone through all players. All I see is us having done the easy bit. And that won't be enough.
On "realistic target", we are on agreement here. What I meant is that indeed fourth is not a realistic target in a manner that heads would need to roll if we fail to achieve it. Finishing sixth is pretty much what the squad together with the new manager should be realistically achieve. Fifth, and the new set-up got a flying start, and fourth we seriously overachieved.
But yes, fourth should be the target everyone should be running their socks off to achive.
As for getting rid of players who do not fit the new model. I often need to type things out to get me head straight. The end result for my little rambling was that I was quite happy what has been achieved so far. On this we seem to be on a different opinion. While I agree it is not about players as such, we have got rid of so many false signings or players who simply do not deliver.
Gerrard is an icon and his shirt sales alone make up for his wage I guess. Carra is on his last year isn't he, so that is soon settled. I am not a particular fan of his type of leadership, but he is a local lad who's given it all to red shirt so therefore I am sure he does not send a wrong message out.
Adam, Downing, Carroll, I should give them this season to either settle or be sold. It is not like they are on obscene wages are they.
Bellamy seems to be leaving, I would have not minded him seeing his contract of but either way I am fine. We agree on Cole, but my conclusion was that if we are down to one overpaid pro well it could be so much worse.
Pepe can last another five - six years easily and is one of the core players we should deffo keep. Suarez we need to tie down to a longer contract.
Agger is a world class defender, but my head is starting to sway. Maybe it would not be too bad to sell him for the alleged £22M. But I noticed Rory Smith was among others who were concerned of the message it sends out. Agger is definitively of captain material together with Lucas, once Gerrard hangs his boots. (As much as I love Pepe the old fart that I am I do not like to see a goalie as a captain...)
So yes, easy bits are done. Some of the more difficult as well IMHO. The transfer season remains open so let us see what else happens. Loans in and out are being considered (Shelvey for an example), so what is left come September could actually be very much a new beginning. Once again.