It has been some transfer window so far. We have signed a world-class versatile striker who can play on either wing, an international right full-back who has been ahead of our former full-back in the pecking order for his country and a goalkeeper who gave a string of fine performances at the World Cup. And, according to reports, a fourth signing – a versatile defender Calum Chambers – is on his way to Arsenal. Let’s not forget our fifth new (or sort of) player – Joel Campbell has shown he can shine at the highest level.
DAVID OSPINA (semi-confirmed)
The Colombian had been the first goalkeeper to catch my eye at the World Cup before Keylor Navas and Manuel Neuer stole the show. His crucial save against Greece was immense and it prevented any possibility for dramatic finish of the game. He also saved a huge chance against Uruguay with a well-timed dashing.
Perhaps he doesn’t have impressive height (at 1.83 m he is among the shortest goalkeepers on the big stage) but his reflexes and explosiveness can make up for that. He will provide decent cover and competition for Szczesny.
At 29-years-old, Debuchy is hardly a long-term purchase. He has experience as he has been a league champion (with Lille) and he has been a starter in the French national team under Deschamps. His Premiership experience should make his adjustment at Arsenal go smoothly and having his compatriots Koscielny, Giroud, Flamini, Diaby and Yaya Sanogo around won’t harm him either.
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His link-up with Walcott sounds exciting and we might get more final product from our full-backs with Debuchy in our ranks. It’s time for one ex-Lille player (Cygan, Gervinho) to actually succeed at Arsenal!
It might sound weird but whenever people mention Alexis Sánchez, I say that he is our greatest defensive reinforcement. Why? Well, he can play on the left flank, he is aggressive and can pressure the opponents’ full-backs who will think twice before overlapping while Alexis is around, ready to punish any type of poor defending.
Last season we suffered some terrible defeats and in each one of them, the disaster exposed our left side with Nacho Monreal especially looking out of depth and it might have had something with our lack of natural wingers in front of him – Wilshere, Podolski and Cazorla respectively are not left wingers. Now, with Alexis in our front-line things should look much better in every possible way.
Of course, the Chilean brings a lot of attacking qualities as well. He is a great dribbler who will give us an extra-option of finding space in the final third. We have been pinging the ball in the final third without players capable of beating their marker ever since Nasri left (well, Gervinho did pull a few dribbles of his own but it rarely ended well).
Also, we needed a striker that can decide a big match and Alexis is a player that gives his best in big matches. Just take a look at his performances against Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid respectively at Nou Camp last season. In “El Classico”, Alexis scored a magnificent lob from outside of the box against Real Madrid to secure victory for the Messi-less Barcelona. In the title-decider against Atletico, Alexis scored an opener with a strike that was preposterously good – his right-footed strike found the only possible route to the net but Godin’s equalizer that won the title for Atletico deprived Alexis of deserved praise. His World Cup performances for Chile were just cherries on top – his class has been known for years.
Now, this lad deserves a chance to prove his quality at Arsenal. His performance for Costa Rica against Uruguay was brilliant – he scored an equalizer and set up the third goal for his team with a perfect slide-rule pass. Granted, he didn’t repeat the performance until the end of World Cup, but I think we can be satisfied with what we might have noticed in the match against Greece. His team went down to ten men after an hour and there was an hour of battling against the resilient Greeks. Campbell was a lone striker who fought against the Greek defenders totally on his own. And, he managed to pull another excellent slide-rule pass that nearly gave Costa Rica victory before the penalties but his team-mate failed to score.
His composure – which he had shown before in the match against Uruguay – was in for a heavy test during the penalties. Campbell looked exhausted, it seemed like he would fall over the ball but instead he placed a composed finish into the net. Moments like that say a lot about a players’ character. Campbell can play as an inside forward on the right side of the attack and as a lone striker (a false nine?).
CALUM CHAMBERS (still not confirmed)
The young Englishman would fit into our team and join Jenkinson, Gibbs, Wilshere, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott as a member of our “British core”. Chambers is a versatile defensive-minded player – he can be used as a right full-back, a central defender and a defensive midfielder. He would be a long-term investment, that’s for sure.
So, should we expect more signings or be happy with the aforementioned newbies? Personally, I’m very, very happy with the purchases we have done this summer and perhaps it’s time to return the wallet into the pocket. We have a very strong team and a very strong squad with a lot of versatile players that will give Wenger a lot of options.
Our options might look like this:
Wojciech Szczesny, David Ospina* – goalkeepers;
Mathieu Debuchy, Carl Jenkinson, Hector Bellerin, Calum Chambers* – right full-backs;
Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Thomas Vermaelen, Calum Chambers*, Ignasi Miquel, Isaac Hayden- central defenders;
Kieran Gibbs, Nacho Monreal, Thomas Vermaelen – left full-backs;
Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta, Francis Coquelin, Calum Chambers* – defensive midfielders;
Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby, Tomas Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mikel Arteta, Gedion Zelalem – central midfielders;
Theo Walcott, Serge Gnabry, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joel Campbell, Alexis Sanchez – right wingers;
Mesut Özil, Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere – central attacking midfielders;
Alexis Sanchez, Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Özil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – left wingers;
Olivier Giroud, Yaya Sanogo, Joel Campbell, Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Lukas Podolski, Chuba Akpom – strikers.
Seems good enough to win the title to me. And how about you Gooners? Feel free to comment below!