TRANSFER DILEMMA: TOP QUALITY PLAYERS AND GAME TIME by Uche
Hello there friends. I am sorry you are going to have to read yet another transfer related article that does not announce the signing of a new player for Arsenal. But something has been bugging me and I will like to share it with you. In our last two games of the 2014/2015 season, Arsenal clicked in a manner that earned them the title challengers tag. This team looked complete and flawless. From front to back, we were, slick, beasty and gave nothing away, especially in our FA cup final game.
So why am I worried? ….I fear that signing new players could cause us to lose that click factor we gained towards the end of last season. So far, no player of consequence is threatening to leave Arsenal and this is a huge deal. Just look at Liverpool. They have signed seven or eight players and yet all you hear is Raheem Sterling and the trouble he is causing the club.
Arsenal currently has so much depth in midfield and attack now that a good problem has gradually become an agonizing one. It wasn’t obvious initially until all our injured players recovered at the end of last season. We have a monstrous squad. Seasoned veterans like Arteta and Rosicky will not even make the bench next season. That is how deep our squad is. Of course we need more options in defensive midfield and attack but what do you do with Jack Wilshere if we buy Pedro Rodriguez? What do we do with Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin if we buy Morgan Shneiderlin or Arturo Vidal? What do we do with Theo Walcott if we sign Alexander Lacazette? Who gets played and who gets benched? Am I being sentimental? Theo still hasn’t signed that contract, has he? Why do you think that is? Walcott was on the bench for all of last season and refused to sign a contract partly as a result of this. So how is signing Benzema or Pedro going to improve our chances of keeping our best players? This is the elephant in the room, not money. So far we have had confirmed(ish!) bids of 45 million euros and upwards rejected for both Gonzalo Higuain and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang so the boss is certainly working behind the scenes.
We are at a stage in our club now where every player that comes in gives us more options while simultaneously creating big problems as well. Many will argue that this is a good problem to have and they are right. But ask Jose Mourinho about Peter Cech leaving for Arsenal and he might punch you in the face. I also know for a fact that nobody on this thread will like to see David Ospina go to Everton. But there is a strong possibility that he will leave.
Ospina is too good to sit on the bench when he can be playing regularly elsewhere. Imagine Jack Wilshere trying to force a move to Man City this summer or in the January window? It happened with Nasri, Fabregas and Van Persie and it can happen again. Nothing unsettles a team like high profile exits and Cesc’s exit took us several seasons to overcome. It has taken Wenger years to build another settled team of top quality and I can understand it if he wants to maintain what he has got.
Cazorla, Coquelin, Ozil, Sanchez and Giroud are the first names on our team sheet when fit – and for good reason. A settled eleven brings out the best in a team as well. So at the moment, if everyone is fit, our most potent forward formation features a front three of Sanchez, Giroud and Walcott. This then leaves Chamberlain, Ramsey, Wilshere and Welbeck on the bench. Imagine those four on the bench when they all know they can get games in other teams? Losing one or two of them as it stands is a real possibility and yet we have not even signed a player in their position this summer. Ramsey has spoken out in no uncertain terms about being played on the wings and Wilshere has made his comments about wanting to be wanted by Arsenal. This is usually the kind of talk that precedes an exit, especially when big teams like Barcelona and Man City come sniffing around. And there is yet another angle to this squad management issue that we don’t talk about. Walcott, Ramsey, Wilshere, Chamberlain, Welbeck, Gibbs, Chambers and Jenkinson constitute a total of eight British players who cannot force their way into our starting eleven in their home league. EPL is in Britain and Britain is their home. Brits everywhere are secretly fuming because of this and you can feel it in the perpetual media harassment of Arsenal and the way referees are biased against us. For all his achievements, Arsene Wenger will always be known in some quarters as that foreign coach that led the influx of foreign players which undermined the development of British talent. Folks rarely speak about this publicly for fear of being branded bigots but that is primarily what the FA’s home grown rule is about. Self-preservation.
Arsene has a lot on his plate. I don’t envy him. I want him to sign players but I honestly can’t tell him what to do with the ones he has got. We can sell Podolski, Campbell, Flamini and Sanogo without even coming close to solving this problem. Wenger has had to play Rambo and Jackie on the wings just to accommodate them. I dread the day that two of them will put in transfer requests and I fear that it could happen sooner than later, especially if we were to buy more players this summer. These are real challenges that Arsenal is dealing with – and we must remember this even as we stay frustrated by our lack of transfers. I want a striker and defensive midfielder but I am not prepared to lose Walcott or Wilshere to our rivals in order for this to happen.