My Idea of a ‘Perfect’ Transfer Window for Arsenal by HairyCustard
With the signing of Xhaka done and dusted and Wenger supposedly scouring the market for additions to the squad, it’s hard not to get a little bit excited. Could it finally be the year when Wenger actually spends money in the right places and gives us a shot at the title next season? Although finishing 2nd seems good on paper, it was somewhat due to the fact that we were the best of a bad bunch, and a mention goes to the Leicester saga, which was an amazing, yet likely unrepeatable event. Looking ahead, it is clear that there are areas of the squad that need strengthening, be that due to players leaving or underperformers in their respective positions. Based on watching some of the players I mention, and the basic research I’ve done, I have decided on what my idea of the perfect transfer window would be for Arsenal.
Starting from the back, we can look at the goalkeeper position. It is safe to say that Cech will retain his position as our #1 keeper, and I think Ospina is a great keeper to have as back up. Aside from a few errors, you can’t find much fault. He is young (in goalkeeping years) and if he stayed he could revert back to first team keeper once Cech retires. However if the rumours are to be believed, he has attracted interest from the likes of Besiktas and Fenerbahce, so we may have to find a replacement. We could promote one of our young keepers (which is potentially risky) or we could go for an affordable goalkeeper from Europe; Simone Scuffet from Udinese and Mattia Perin from Genoa would be good options.
Moving on to the defence, we currently have 3 definite starters: (surprise, surprise) Laurent Koscielny and our fullbacks Nacho and Bellerin. The second centreback position is still very much in contention. Although I like Mertersacker, he has aged and this I fear is affecting his already sluggish pace. His positioning and awareness is generally better than that of Gabriel but his inability to keep up with defenders is a huge problem, particularly since we spend most games playing high up the pitch, where we are vulnerable to counter-attack. Gabriel is a good defender but he is still adapting to the Premier League which has been shown in the form of some costly errors, which is also somewhat due to a lack of confidence. What I like about Gabriel is that he is fast for a defender, and when Gabriel and Koscielny partner up I feel like we are a lot less vulnerable to counter-attacks.
That being said, I still feel that the centre-back position needs plugging up and for that I would suggest a player who we have all heard much about, and that is Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. He wouldn’t come cheap, but I feel that he would add the necessary steel to our defence that I think we have been missing since the likes of Sol Campbell. Koulibaly is tall, imposing, fast and very versatile. He is decent at passing, so we would retain our strategy of playing quickly out from the back. If it is to be believed that EPL teams are snapping up players like Aubameyang and Ibrahimovic then we would need a defensive rock to put in the right tackles and ensure our defence doesn’t get bullied. There are already imposing players in the league who have caused issues for us and I think Koulibaly would be the ideal player to put an end to this. I’m smiling internally just imagining a towering Koulibaly frustrating a thug like Costa.
In the central midfield region I think we are sorted as we have more than enough players. IMO a central duo of Xhaka and Cazorla will provide steel as well as the ability to play from deep in our own half. Our number 10 position should be filled by the Öbvious player. Our left wing, again is a position we need not worry about. The right winger position is also still in contention, although for the life of me I cannot understand why Campbell is not played. From his short string of performances mid-season I saw a brilliant player with the ability to pass, dribble and shoot. I think the lad will be a sublime player in a few years but for some reason has fallen out of favour with Wenger, who instead opts for the likes of Walcott. Seeing as the banishment of Campbell is not likely to change, I think there are a few players that could be brought in, but I will only mention to the two biggest names (and ones you also know all too well).
The first is my personal favourite, the Armenian all-time top goalscorer, Henrikh Mkhitaryan. He’s had a scintillating season and I have always rated him at BVB, even when he fell out of favour a year or two ago. He can shoot, use two feet, has great pace and is the assist king of the Bundesliga. At the age of 27, he isn’t too old (Sanchez and Ozil are also both 27) and he would provide another source of chance creation, meaning we are not relying 100% on Ozil’s form to win. If we signed Mkhitaryan then we would have 5 starting midfielders who are all brilliant at passing, meaning that even Giroud “should” have little trouble scoring.
The second option is Mahrez. The Leicester winger has also had a brilliant season, being one of the main driving forces behind Leicester’s title win. He’s younger than Mkhitaryan and probably more skilful, and is decent at passing. I would be pretty chuffed if we got Mahrez too although I have a feeling that his next season will not be as great as this one. This is just a hunch however; he could become the next Messi for all I know. Mkhitaryan and Mahrez would both cost around about the same, but my personal preference would be to go for Miki.
The final, and most hotly debated topic is that of our centre forward role. I think that Giroud has been massively scapegoated this season, and with the French fans booing him too, he must feel that the whole world’s against him. Saying that, I don’t think he is good enough to be our first team striker, particularly since he has a tendency to dry up on the goals front. He is a good back-up though, as he offers a distinct style of play that could be effective when playing against teams who sit deep. In terms of striking options, I’m not going to consider every striker we have been linked with, because I don’t think neither you nor I have the patience to go through half of the world’s centre forwards (ranging somewhere from Ibrahimovic to ‘Dave from down at the pub’). I’m going to instead narrow it down to three options, ordered from most likely to least likely.
The first is Janssen. I think he’s a great youth player, and could be something big for the future. He wouldn’t be likely to come in all guns blazing and provide us with 30 goals but I still think he’s a great option. I know it’s been said, but his style reminds me somewhat of our last Dutch striker. He would probably need a season or two to adapt, but there is no way that 32 goals and 7 assists is a fluke, even though he plays in Eredivisie. Apparently he is soon to sign for the Spuds, but I think we could go in and hijack the deal. The second option for me is Lukaku. He will not come cheap at all, but I think that he can suit our style of play. He’s tall and strong like Giroud, but he’s also fast and has a good shot on him. I think he would flourish, especially when his through balls are coming from Sanchez, Ozil, (Miki?), Cazorla and Xhaka rather than the likes of Barry and Cleverley. He also has bags of Premier League experience, meaning he is more likely to hit the ground running. The final and most costly/least likely is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. His pace is tremendous (matching Walcott’s) he’s tall and strong and he has an eye for goal. His fee, like his ability, is likely to be astronomical, but I think that if we are serious about competing with the big boys, we need to splash that kind of cash.
It’s sad that football has turned into a game of ‘who’s got more Arab money to spend’ but sadly that is just the way it is. We can’t change anything about it, and with United paying gargantuan money for players like Bailly, and (if I’m honest) Martial, then we can splash the cash for a player of Aubameyang’s quality. Man City have been said to be close to signing him, but again, nothing confirmed. Addressing the most recent Jamie Vardy chronicle, I personally believe that he is not the right signing for us. His style is different to ours and he’s edging on 30, meaning that his pace (one of his main attributes) will likely start to diminish soon. I hope that Vardy stays at Leicester – he’s loved and respected there and it would be good to see him help them try push for a Champions League place. If he does come to Arsenal, however, I will certainly get behind him and hope he helps push us to the title.
In conclusion, I think that in order for us to have a perfect transfer window, we need to sign a centre back, a right winger and a centre forward. My ideal line-up for next season I think should be as follows:
Bellerin – Koulibaly – Koscielny – Monreal
Cazorla – Xhaka
Mkhitaryan – Ozil – Sanchez
I think that this team is more than capable of competing with any of the European teams. However, I doubt that all three, if even two (or any at all) will happen, but I think that these players would be the necessary investment to bring us the league, and who knows, maybe even further. The three transfers would cost us around £100 million, which is a colossal amount of money. If we were to sell Walcott and Ox this would be offset slightly, but if it brings us the league then it is a necessary amount of money. Again, either way this goes, I will put my support behind any player/s Wenger brings in, and hope we push for silverware this year. Come on you Gunners!