Why Arsene has a lot to do before he can consider buying any more players. by DW
Pre-season training will be in full swing over the next couple of weeks as we build up for another hard fought campaign. While Gooners everywhere will be eagerly awaiting the next big name through the Emirates doors. It may be worth considering some of the issues Arsene will be facing before he plunges back into the market for new outfield players.
First on Arsene’s to do list, will be to nail Theo down to another long term contract. He excelled before he was injured after ripping Sherwood and his sorry crew to pieces and his return was painfully slow, but once he returned he exploded into life for the last few games of the season. This included breaking the deadlock against the Villains in the FA Cup final. He has started to build into a big game player being as he is one of the only players in our squad who has scored against Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham. Having spent many a year watching and waiting for him to reach top level Arsene and us Gooners will not want to see him plying his trade elsewhere just when he gets there and Arsene will also want to avoid a repeat of the January saga he had last time when he finally managed to tie Theo’s signature down.
The second major issue for Arsene to contend with is the 25 man squad rule. Many will look to Arsene’s sale of Podolski and release of Diaby and feel like he could at least bring in someone. While this will help reduce our wage bill, Podolski was on loan from January and Gabriel has already taken his place. As things stand the number of players that fill the over 21’s on Arsenal.com shows that we currently have 26 squad players. Therefore Arsene must sell before he buys or risk wasting a player’s wages and his career, both things Arsene hates.
So he will be looking to sell or loan before he can decide where he can strengthen so most rumours at this stage will be just that, rumours I’m afraid to say, and it will be a good way through pre-season before he decides what areas will need to change but these are the things that he will have to consider.
Goalkeepers – With the signing of Cech we have a nailed on number 1 keeper but who will be our back up? Arsene will want to sit Ospina & Szczesny down and see how they react to Cech’s arrival. Reports say that Ospina wants out and Szczesny has been ‘lied to’. However both players have made contradictory statements to this, claiming that they are happy to stay. Then there is the forgotten Martinez who also takes up a squad position as he is 23 years old. I think that as long as Ospina is happy to challenge Cech then Sczezny should be loaned and Martinez sold.
Gabriel – Arsene has commented that this guy will be revolutionary for Arsenal this season but this will depend on how well he has developed his English and how well he can play alongside Koscielny, something which wasn’t experimented with much but looked good when it happened. However if it becomes apparent during pre-season that it isn’t going to work Arsene will not sell Gabriel but he may consider another option in the CB role.
Thomas Rosicky – Reports have materialised during this summer indicating that perhaps Thomas did not want the year contract extension that Arsenal triggered and that he would like to leave. Rosicky again has contradicted these reports somewhat by making a statement that he had always known that Arsenal would take this option. This however does not explain how he feels about this happening and I think that Arsene will want to know whether he wants to stay on knowing that he cannot guarantee that he will play other than in the cup competitions.
Santi Carzola – Santi has repeatedly stated that he is happy to stay at Arsenal but there was definitely a problem at the start of last season, when the reports of his unrest first materialised and whether it was the fact that he wasn’t happy playing out wide or the weather, the problem seemed to rectify itself eventually. With Atletico Madrid sniffing around and with a big bid a possibility Arsene may let Santi go if he asks, especially as this could give Wilshere the platform to become a more regular starter.
Mikel Arteta – he has just signed a contract extension so I do not think he will be sold but with a long term injury and his aging legs Arsene will want to see during pre-season how well Arteta can cope with the competition before he decides whether he needs a new defensive midfielder.
Flamini – If Rosicky’s chances of making the starting eleven come the opening game of the season, against the Hammers are slim, then Flamini’s are almost non-existent. It shows how far he has fallen down the pecking order now that Le Coq managed to stake his claim in the starting 11 in the first place. With links for him to return to France I think Arsene will want to discuss what Flamini will want to do and whether he can off-load him at no cost to Arsenal as his wages will surely be considerably reduced.
Joel Campbell – I still think this lad could play for us. He has pace and skill, self-confidence and desire but unfortunately what he lacks is patience or more to the point his agent lacks patience. Before we had even got to the end of September, his agent was digging Mr Wenger out for Joel’s playing time. Arsene will want to see if he and his agent’s attitude has changed but I fear that with Wellington Silva entering the fray he may not get the chance.
Wellington Silva – This guy has been dubbed the new Neymar and he has done nothing to make anyone question that label during his loan spells in La Liga, but Arsene has only been able to admire from afar waiting for his eligibility to become official. Arsene will want to get a closer look and only then will he know if he is the real deal or not. If he is, he will be like a new signing, if he is not then it will be a loan spell, hopefully to a premiere league opposition to beef him up and show him that he may not be allowed the kind of time and space in the EPL as you would in La liga.
Yaya Sanogo – I feel sorry for this lad. Arsene introduced him into a Baptism of fire where he looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Games like Bayern & Liverpool in the FA cup was somewhat harsh. His one goal finally came at the beginning of last season and we all hoped that he would kick on from there but in an Arsenal team that was struggling at the time he was shelved for the likes of Sanchez and Giroud. He didn’t fare much better on loan at Palace but again in an unlucky twist of fate Glenn Murray, who no-one had ever heard of before, came back from a loan spell himself in amazing form and pushed him out the team. While the majority of Gooners will say he is not good enough for Arsenal – Arsene will want to see what shape he is in during pre-season because anyone who has watched him in the U21 French team will all know that he has great quality in the right environment, it will be up to Arsene to decide whether that is with us this season.
The third thing that will affect his decision of when and where he will strengthen will be;
Long term injuries – At the moment we only have Danny Welbeck who has a question mark over his fitness following his injury at the back end of last season but knowing Arsenal there will be more. Ironically it was Giroud’s injury that forced Arsene back into the market for Danny Welbeck on transfer deadline day. Any injuries that look like they will run up until January will throw a curve ball at any plans Arsene may have.
You never know Arsene may throw caution to the wind and sign two world class players and play it by ear after but it doesn’t sound like him to me. Whatever he does I hope it is soon as the list of top draw players available for transfer is dwindling quickly.
By Darren Woolford.