According to various web-sites including the Metro, Arsenal are ready to splash some cash on Portuguese winger Nani from Manchester United while there are also reports suggesting the Gunners are also ready to break the transfer record in order to sign Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain. The two players would go some way to strengthen an Arsenal side that secured Champions’ League spot on the last match of the season – a campign in which they suffered two unpleasant defeats to lower-divisions’ sides in domestic cup competitions.
Now, I would welcome both players to Arsenal, especially if Nani’s price-tag is indeed 8,5 million pounds (a fee that Galatasaray apparently found too expensive). The Portuguese international is a top-drawer winger that can be used on either wing, possesses brilliant technique, pace and a powerful shot that makes him hard to mark. However, his mental characteristics don’t match his technical and physical skills and that’s the reason Nani – despite being a very talented player – hasn’t become anything more than a poor man’s Cristiano Ronaldo (which is way more than most players will achieve though).
He didn’t have the best 2012-13 and has already been connected with a possible transfer to Arsenal in January, except an alleged price-tag was 17 million pounds. Given that Manchester United have Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and now Wilfried Zaha who can play as wingers, Nani might look for a regular first-team football elsewhere in order to be prepared for the 2014 World Cup (provided that Portugal qualify). It’s all up to David Moyes now whether he is ready to offload the Portuguese winger.
Nani would give us further options in attack by providing width and, what’s even more important, quality crosses for Giroud whose aerial abilities haven’t been used enough so far. The fact Nani has won the Premiership four times already and the Champions’ League 2008 should be considered as well – our players haven’t won too many trophies in their respective careers. With a proper manager and attitude on the pitch, Nani is capable of emulating Bale-esque performances on the pitch as his abilities – shooting range and pace – are similar to the Welshman’s. Sadly, Nani’s Bale-esque abilities include occasional diving which hampers both of their reputation’s (among other things).
One thing that could help Nani’s case is the possible departure of Ivorian winger-striker Gervinho. According to reports, Gervinho is on radar of Olympique Marseille. The European champions from 1993 would part with 12 million pounds and pay that amount to Arsenal. It would be a move that most Gooners would sanction. Gervinho, with all his skills, dribbling and pace, hasn’t exactly cut the mustard (it is very likely that he would trip himself while cutting it and injure Diaby in the process). Gervinho was one of the best players of Lille’s Ligue 1-winning-side in 2010-11 and would probably regain confidence and form in France.
Finally, it seems that Arsenal made a further step in securing the services of Gonzalo Higuain as we are apparently ready to offer 25.5 million pounds for him. There are very few bad words that can be said about the Argentinian striker – he has been one of the best finishers in the world for some time and he would add experience of a champion (he won La Liga three times with Real Madrid) to our current squad.
What bugs me in the reports that say we are about to spend 25.5 million pounds on a world-class finisher from Real Madrid is a lack of logic – if Arsene Wenger is ready to splash 25.5 million pounds on Higuain (which is exactly the same amount we got from Manchester United for Van Persie), why does he find 23 million pounds fee for Fellaini – who last season proved himself as the best all-round midfielder in the Premiership – too high? We need both players as we need a world-class finisher and a world-class defensive midfielder to compete for silverware next season.
Then, there is another thing: Arsene Wenger’s spending habits. Let’s not forget he has been reluctant to spend big in the past and the alleged fee for Higuain would be almost twice as much as Arshavin in 2009. If he spends a big amount on one or two players this summer, that would be a way to admit mistakes from the past (like losing Mata, Cahill or Schwarzer which turned out to be more expensive than their signings would be) and it’s not like Wenger – a rather stubborn manager – who likes to do that sort of thing.
Finally, stories about a war-chest that Arsene Wenger has at his disposal has been a part of our Groundhog Day-inventory for every Gooner since 2005. While one should acknowledge the fact we made a huge improvement in terms of sponsorship deals that inject money into Arsenal (which makes dealing with the debt for Emirates – among other things – easier), we should also not forget that the same stories have been told for a long time now.
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For instance, in September 2007, while our team was sitting on the top of the table, Keith Edelman claimed Arsene Wenger would have 100 million euros (more than 70 million pounds that has been mentioned this year) at his disposal for reinforcements. We all know what happened – it’s not just the we didn’t get the top-of-the-game players but also that we have constantly sold our best players (with an exception before 2010-11). Since Edelman said those words, we sold/lost on a free transfer: Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Gilberto Silva, Flamini, Hleb, Nasri (who was bought and sold in that period), Adebayor and Van Persie.
Of course, there are promising things as well and big sponsorship deals are just one of them. What is even more encouraging is the willingness and determination to clear the deadwood as the recent release of Squillaci, Arshavin and Denilson suggests the soon-to-come departure of Nicklas “the-world-best-striker” Bendtner is also a step in the right direction. All aforementioned players have been a financial burden for us and it’s good thing the club finally haveshown them the exit door. If only Santos and Chamakh would leave this summer as well…
The good riddance howevers suggest that there is a willingness at the club to get new players who deserve proper wage, so perhaps it might turn out this summer is going to be different than any other recently.
What do you think about possible arrival of Nani? Will Wenger finally overcome the fear of the snake that is obviously sitting in his wallet and break the record for Higuain?