Arsene Wenger has definitely been known for his frustratingly private transfer dealings, and lack there of, throughout the past couple of transfer windows. But there truly is no one better to manage the team that plays some of the best football in the world, so we dont need a new manager full stop, just hire allArsenal.com for a day!
With Arsenals financial position looking very stable, it has been rumoured that Wenger has approximately £60 million to spend on transfers this summer with the latest property deal, but we all know that the Frenchman won’t spend anywhere near that..
Firstly, players that are looking highly likely to follow Gael Clichy out the Emirates door include Nicklas Bendtner, Denilson, and other players that have their future cast in doubt are Emmanuel Eboue, Carlos Vela, Almunia, and of course Fabregas and Nasri. I’m sure many of us aren’t going to lose sleep if some of the earlier mentioned players leave, however I know we will get very apprehensive if the likes of Fabregas and Nasri move on and suitable replacements are not brought in. In order to gain silverware in the coming 2011/12 season some tweaking needs to be made to the squad, lets start with the goalkeeper:
Wojciech Szczesny looks destined for the number one shirt next season after a fine campaign after injuries suffered by his supposedly ‘better’ predecessors Almunia and ‘Flappy-hand-ski’. Even if Given or Schwarzer become available, we have a decent crop of ‘keepers that will suffice as backups and if Szczesny has another stellar season then he will be the Arsenal Number One for a long time.
With Clichy swapping North London for Manchester for an estimated £7m, we definitely need a decent speedy wing-back that can fill his boots as we cannot solely rest the leftback postion on the injury-prone Keiran Gibss. Although Wenger has stated that Gibbs is likely to take up the left-back mantle, a handy buy can be found in Newcastles Jose Enrique. The 25 year old Spaniard just experienced his best year yet at Newcastle and is now in a similar position as Clichy, in his final year of his contract. However the most ideal replacement, who will improve the squad, would be Englishmen Leighton Baines. He was in blistering form this season for the Toffees and has a decent dosage of experience, playing a solid 44 games all competitions, scoring 7 goals and providing 11 assists, and would be a fantastic mentor for Keiran Gibbs, who is still very young at 21.
Many fans have been debating whether Vermaelen should move across the backline and play leftback, even though he would be handy in this position, I feel he is a solid centrehalf and just needs to form a solid partnership with the likes of Gary Cahill or Christopher Samba. Koscielny has had a mixed debut season, he has performed well at times but he is very prone to making errors (Carling Cup final anybody?) as well as making rash challenges in the wrong circumstances often leading to red cards. He will definitely be part of Wengers plans but he still lacks experience and the extra bit of necessary judgement that will make him world class, similar for Djourou too, as they both are relatively young players. I definitely don’t see Wenger buying both Cahill and Samba as we have quite a few defenders already, but we will need one of those two to add solidity and much needed experience and composure into the backline.
The question now beckons, stick with 4-3-3 or revert back to 4-4-2? With the ever increasing likelihood of the departure of our main-man Fabregas can we still continue to utilise this formation that has pretty much been built around the Spanish maestro? Samir Nasri could essentially fill the ‘fab-gap’ as he has shown that he can do (notably his sensational performance against Fulham), same with Ramsey, however the Welshmen just isn’t good enough yet and still needs to develop more. We often forget that we have the likes of Diaby and Rosicky that can provide cover for Wilshere and Song in the middle of the park so our team is not that short on quality as some say, but IF Nasri or Fabregas leave, then we will need at least one replacement as we need another inspirational player that can fill in their shoes. This creative void could be filled by Juan Mata and/or Eden Hazard. Unfortunately Lille are refusing to sell Hazard this summer, who has excellent dribbling skills with great vision and is a well known talent tipped to become a world-class midfielder so for now our sights are better focused on the Spanish Under-21 champion Juan Mata.
Juan Mata, 23, has become hot property, and for good reason to. Only Xavi, Messi and Alves have more assists than Mata since the 2008/2009 season. Mata originally began his career at Real Oviedo before moving to Real Madrid’s youth ranks. But rather than waiting decades for his turn to make his debut for the first team, a confident Mata left the Spanish capital for Valencia in 2007 where he has been a regular in Mestalla ever since, missing just nine league games in the past three seasons. Despite his youth, Mata took on the responsibility of being Valencia’s captain last season – not an easy task at a notoriously unstable club – and chipped in to his club’s third-placed finish with eight goals and 12 assists. Mata is best playing on the left of a front three, but is a footballer that tends to cut inside rather than take the ball out wide despite being left-footed. However, the versatile forward player is often deployed as a second striker for his club – or even in emergencies as the main front man. A fine finish and a keen eye for goal when given the chance sees Mata with 33 league goals in his four seasons in Valencia. He would be a perfect addition to the squad and a player that can be a very effective versatile attacking player for Arsenal.
Should we sell Nasri? In a short answer yes. He’s fantastic and has come on in leaps and bounds this season, however if his heart isn’t at Arsenal then there is no need to have him. If he is in fact waiting to see Wenger’s intent in the transfer market then I have no qualms about signing him again, but if he still has not signed a new contract in the next few weeks then try and get as much money for him as possible. No player is bigger than the club and you may often find an average player who has the passion to play for Arsenal week-in week-out will often outweigh a great player who doesn’t.
Now to the Fabregas debacle. I’m a huge Fabregas fan, however once again he has had an injury plagued season. It would be worth cashing in on him for a very significant fee around at least £40m and acquire someone that can play more than 20 games a season (such as Mata, or deploying Nasri at centre-mid). Or my second preference would be to keep Fabregas for one more season to help us win something next year then cash in on him although this could be a risky proposition as a re-occurrence of his troubling hamstring injury may lower his valuation further.
With so much doubt over Nasri and Fabregas, the return of potential great Ryo Miyaichi would be a welcome addition to the squad. Having a successful loan spell at Feyenoord where he scored 3 goals and made 5 assists in 13 games, the addition of a successful campaign on Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Asia could lead to spot in Arsenal’s first team squad. Being dubbed ‘Ryodinho’ in Holland and often being called the ‘Japanese Messi’, the young star is already being lauded as a successful talent and definitely has the potential to reduce some of the damage caused by the potential loss of Fabregas and Nasri.
We here at allArsenal.com have seen many fans comment on the need for a new defensive midfielder, but we find ourselves baffled as to why. Song has had an outstanding season for the Gunners and his contributions on defense are immense, being one of the few players in the squad that will get dirty if the situation calls for it. As well as defense, Song has sufficient ability to contribute on attack with good distribution as well as chipping in with four goals last season in the premier league.
Lastly is the enigma that is Andrey Arshavin. Although his contributions on attack are usually exemplary it all comes down to passion as mentioned before and we, as well as many Arsenal fans, have witnessed Arshavin’s constant laziness in tracking back and defending on many occasions. While he has had an inconsistent season we here agree that Arshavin has a significant amount to contribute to Arsenal on his good days and still may be of use as an impact player off the bench rather than an out and out starting player, until at least he finds some of the form he had on his debut season at the Emirates. Saying this though, if a significant offer was made for the little Russian we would have no hesitation in letting him leave the Gunners, and use his departure as an opportunity to bring in Mata.
The Gervinho saga has been ongoing for sometime now, and still has not become official although is very close to becoming so. After a decent World Cup campaign, and a convincing 15 goals to his name last season, he could add some much needed quality and finesse to the front line alongside our top striker Robin van Persie. Being realistic his more direct play would offer more up front in comparison to the likes of Chamakh and Bendtner who play a much similar role to van Persie as holding strikers.
With Walcott looking to push on upfront, and Vela’s stay at the club this season, do we really need more additions to the frontline? Van Persie was in an unprecedented personal form this season bagging an amazing 18 league goals, of which nine were a Premier league record breaking nine consecutive away goals. He equaled the record held by Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry by scoring 18 league goals from the turn of the year to the end of the season. With Arsenal scoring the second highest amount of goals in the 2010/2011 season with 70 goals one feels it is not attack that needs significant additions, but rather defense and midfield (if Cesc and/or Samir leave).
With the potential losses of Nasri and Fabregas on the cards, we here at allArsenal have no doubt Wenger must be aggressive in the transfer market, as we would, to continue to attract top players or greatly risk irreversible damage to Arsenal’s reputation and ability to attract top-class players. The fact that players such as Clichy feel that Arsenal is not good enough to play for, surely proves that Arsene must strengthen the squad to prove simply we are not just a top four club. We have already seen Manchester United’s activity in the market as well as City’s, while Arsenal still bides its time. While I agree with Wenger’s view on making sure we pick the right players, there is also a need to show strong intent and commitment towards pushing for trophies next season and could be essential to attract key signings beyond that of next season.