3 Signings Arsenal Could Still Make. Reasons For & Reasons Against

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
Sep 1st, 2012

Transfer Deadline Day for most Gooners was a generally miserable affair. Many had hoped for two or three more players and ultimately we signed none (unless you count that 17-year-old Macedonian goalie).

I’m not going to lie, I too was disappointed, I had hoped for a few more players myself but only for numbers as a few injuries could scupper what this team is capable of achieving and my stance on that has not changed. I believe this team is capable of winning something this year, more than I have believed in other teams we have had since the Champions League final.

If we look at things rationally we can point to the sale of two starters and the purchase of three starters so we are technically one better depth wise and the other players we have moved on couldn’t really be considered squad players so we’ve done well to improve the team (in my opinion) as well as reduce the wage bill which will ultimately allow us to retain our best players and sign better ones too.

Our summer signings

I’m of the opinion that our squad is good enough, deep enough with a few tweaks to playing positions (more on that later) and generally better than last season (maybe not man for man in each position but overall) to do something this season but if we are concerned about depth there are a few players we can still sign despite the transfer window closing.

I’m going to get so much stick for this but before you ridicule me in the comments section, switch off from the blog and unfollow me on twitter (as happened the last time I mentioned this) please stick around for the explanations. I’m going to suggest players we could still sign and reasons for and reasons against. This is not an endorsement of any particular player, just suggestions of free agents who could bring certain qualities to the club now the window has closed.

The players are Craig GordonOwen Hargreaves and Michael Owen. Now I only mention these players because they are available on free transfers and based purely on technical ability they could bring something to the club as squad players. I must stress that this is about squad depth not about starters nor is it an admission that these players are the best available to us and ones we should buy. Right, now that’s out of the way let’s have a look at the players.

Craig Gordon
For: He is experienced and talented and would provide great back up and competition to Szczesny.

Gordon making the “best” save in 20 seasons of EPL

Against: I’m not convinced we need a new keeper, even for competition, as Fabianski is an excellent challenger and many who have watched both of our Polish keepers at their best would agree that Fabianski is the more talented keeper but lacks self-confidence and the ability to forget mistakes quickly which Szczesny has in bucket loads and what makes him the better keeper.

Owen Hargreaves
For: I don’t think any sane football fan would ever question the guys talent but they can rightly question his fitness/injury record. He was good enough for the Champions as a back up player and as a squad member on a PAY AS YOU PLAY deal (sorry for the capitals but whenever I mention PAYP people spout wage figures at me and wages are mostly irrelevant on PAYP. If they’re playing they get paid and that’s good because they’re contributing) so I think he would be fine for us as back up and could help out if we ever need to rest Arteta or if we lose him to injury. Coquelin for me is Arteta’s back up but an extra body wouldn’t hurt.

Against: Injuries. We could waste a squad place on a player who may get injured.

Michael Owen
For: He had the best shot to goals ratio of any United player whilst he was there. Has a big-game scoring pedigree. Has world-class off the ball movement and easily drags opposition players out of position which would be of benefit to Arsenal. Has a better games to goals ratio during his time at United (1 in 3) than Chamakh (1/5.25) and Park (1/6) have during their time at Arsenal. He is experienced and home-grown and would probably accept a pay-as-you-play deal. I see no reason why he wouldn’t take a PAYP deal with us over regular money elsewhere because he has plenty has turned down big money moves overseas and I think he’d like to look back and see his career was Liverpool, Madrid, Newcastle, United and Arsenal (all big clubs) than the first four and Stoke or Wigan (not that those clubs are in for him).

Owen doing what he does best… finishing a chance

More importantly he can actually finish. How many chances to Arsenal make in a game that go begging? How many times have we got the ball in the box and screamed at our players to shoot only for them to pass the ball again? Owen is a natural finisher and that is something you do not lose. I don’t think he’ll be a starter but someone to come on in the last 15 minutes of a game, stretch the defence and maybe tuck away a late goal is exactly what we need.

There are many logical reasons to take someone like Owen on and mostly emotional arguments for not.

If you think about ever needing a player to score an important goal for you is there anyone better than Michael Owen?

Sir Alex Ferguson on Owen – March 2012 (Yes, just a few months ago)

Strength in depth is something Arsenal have seriously lacked over the years and how many of us can honestly say we fancy Chamakh to get a goal when he comes on? Owen has a history of doing this and has done so very well at United. Sure he didn’t play much last season but when you have a younger version of Owen like Hernandez hardly getting a game because the Welbeck/Rooney partnership worked so well it’s no wonder. No-one creates chances like Arsenal do nor as many and hardly anyone has the finishing ability to put them away like Owen does and has done for years and recently.

Against: Injuries. Injuries again could be an issue but there is also another reason and that is I think we have the depth upfront if we move Theo across or at least utilise him there. Some say that he doesn’t deserve a chance upfront because he doesn’t do it on the wing but that’s not true. I know he’s one of those players who split the camp but I would suggest that it is precisely his position that stops him from scoring as much as we’d all hope for. As a wide-man though his stats aren’t that bad, only one other “winger” scored more than him and that was Bale. VDV scored 11 but he played a number of matches as a second striker. Theo has not been scoring like our wingers of the past but that’s a mix of being played out of position and the formation we play. Theo’s shots on target % is just as good as the top scorers in the league last season so that suggests that he’d be more dangerous as someone tasked with scoring more goals than creating them. It’s widely believed that if Walcott played as the main striker with a slightly withdrawn striker he’d score a lot of goals and I personally believe the lad deserves the chance to show if it’s true or not. His crosses that found a team-mate % was poor but I think that furthers the point that he is not a winger.

However, as a winger he has been generally quite good, in fact he stacks up against the “top” widemen in the league. Gareth Bale had a combined 21 goals & assists last season. Mata had 19, Theo had 18, Nani had 18 with identical scoring/assists figures (& many claim him to be better), Valencia had 18 (mostly assists and mostly from crosses which furthers my claim that Theo is not a winger), Young had 15 and Nasri had 14. We may feel Theo is inconsistent but his inconsistency provides results as good as anyone else so imagine how great he’d be if he got that consistency. For that reason I feel he deserves his chance upfront and I think he’ll get it. He was promised striker time when he signed his last contract and that may be a sticking point for this one or why he wants more money. I think he’s been re-promised it.

Deserves his chance upfront – ignore the giant penis in the background

Some have said that PAYP deals would still cost us a low basic salary but if we signed all three of those players and paid them all £10k a week plus their appearance fee we’d only be committing to £30k a week for forty weeks which is only £1.2m. We paid Almunia twice that and we paid Park 1.5x that. It’s not an insignificant sum but in the grand scheme of things it’s a very small sum for what I would call “insurance” players. Players we’d be signing for more depth and in case something happened. If they play they get more money but that’s okay because they’d be contributing and I’d rather pay a player to contribute than to just sit on the bench like we did with Park last year.

So those are for and against arguments for each player. If I’m honest the only one I’d actually want is Owen and I’ve said this for a long time. The others are available on free transfers too and as such are not restricted by the transfer window so are options for any club and options we can consider if we feel there is a need. Is there a need? I don’t think so.

Defensively we look strong and I’ve said for a long time that our defence will improve the more they play together and the more consistency we get in our starting back four and they’ve shown that against two very good defensive teams who soak up pressure brilliantly and counter-attack very well. Liverpool will be a sterner test but Liverpool have problems scoring themselves and they’ve been a bit suspect in defence so far this season. Man for man we have a top class defence in my opinion. We have three top class centre-backs, two class left-backs, a world-class right back and a very good back up. Jenkinson gets a lot of stick but he’s been sound so far this season and those that have picked on him clearly haven’t been watching and are just assuming he hasn’t improved.

In midfield we have a lot more options that last year and despite losing Song I feel we have greater balance as the return of Diaby gives us a real box to box player and Wilshere’s return will give us a boost and a new option in either attacking, box to box or pivot roles. Cazorla has looked sensational so far and will only get better the more he acclimatises to the league and to his new team-mates and he has excellent competition in the form of Ramsey, The Ox and the return from injury of the resurgent Rosicky. Arteta in my opinion was by far our best player last season and probably our most important too. He will boss that holding midfielder role for a few years yet and we have decent cover in Coquelin and Frimpong.


Our wide options will boast Walcott and Gervinho and we’ve since added the impressive and dangerous Podolski to that and we also can use Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Cazorla out wide and as of writing we still have Arshavin who is still a wonderful footballer and may have returned from his loan in Russia with an improved attitude.

Upfront we have Giroud, Podolski and Chamakh. Chamakh has had his critics too but let us not forget how well he started for us and how his drop in form and contribution coincided with the return to fitness of a certain Dutch bloke. Marouane may have felt that he had no chance of getting into the first team so maybe played with a touch of despondency. With that other guy out of the picture he may improve and be an asset again. I’ve already mentioned Theo upfront and we can add Arshavin to that if needs must and if things get really bad we have plenty of skilful players in our reserves and can recall one of our loanees if things get that bad or failing that it’s only 4 months until the January transfer window.

I’m not devastated that we didn’t sign any more players and I’m not any less confident in this team because of it. I think we have good depth and balance and I still believe we’ll be a force this season.

Things might not have panned out how many of us wanted but that’s no reason to feel any less confident about this season. Arsène Wenger clearly felt that there we’re no last-minute panic buys (let’s face it, most TDD deals are panic buys) that could improve the squad and that’s why he didn’t buy anyone.

Like the boss, I don’t believe we need anyone else but if we are that desperate there are options out there.

Thanks for reading. Please comment on this post, share with friends and follow me on twitter (@thedanielcowan)

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About "" - 509 Posts

I am a South London born Gooner now living in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex. I'm a husband, daddy, podcaster, trainer enthusiast and aspiring author. My work is my passion and for that I will always be grateful. Here is where I write my thoughts and views on Arsenal Football Club, the greatest team the world has ever seen.

22 Responses to “3 Signings Arsenal Could Still Make. Reasons For & Reasons Against”

  1. G says:

    not bad, have to agree with one comment, Owen, would be good backup. Once we get our first goal, i think things will start to click.

  2. RothbardRed says:

    Interesting to speculate. Of course its not going to happen that Wenger will take any of these players. Ironically,the Arsenal/Gazidis/Kroenke/Wenger cynics,who want Usmanov in would probably be even more incensed if we brought in Owen or Hargreaves than no one. The reasoning being that we have £30million but are going for players on the scrap heap, and we are buying these players that no one wants.

    I m happy with the squad. Will be fantastic if we can get a One-nil to the Arsenal tomorrow, with a great solid defensive display, without looking like conceding, and a goal for one of the new boys. This would be a better sign for the season to come than scoring 3 goals, perhaps conceding one, and leaking a whole host of chances. A one nil would show we can win the gritty games. When forward players are on an off day, if we do not concede, there is always a chance to score from someone, even on an offensively weak day. Think back to Chelsea 5-3 Blackburn 4-3, Norwich 3-3…conceding 10 goals in 3 games and taking 4 points is not bad, but it will not win us anything, but you become overly dependent a striker being in the best form of his life nearly everyday. RVP did save us last year, no doubts, and did cover up are fragile defense.

    My positivity and reasoning this year is that our defensive unit will help make up for the goals RVP scored.

    Too many idiots of Twitter going on about the team, creativity, not scoring etc…little do they realise a solid more balanced unit in defense and midfield will more than make up for scoring 10-20 goals less in a season. Still think we will start scoring once the forward players, wingers and midfield gel together which will only come with minutes on the pitch.

  3. Arse&Nose© says:

    No Arsenal fan should use quotes from red nose bacon face to further his argument!

    No Arsenal fan should refer to red nose bacon face as ‘Sir’, if you have to mention him call him Fergie or preferably Bacon-face.

    Otherwise an interesting read.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Haha. Well I am an Arsenal fan and I have used Fergie quotes before. I don’t like the man but I respect his achievements. His Utd squad last year was shit but they still finished above us. His full name is Sir Alex Ferguson, please take this up with the Queen if you have a problem 😉 (I would support you in this).

      Thanks for reading. 🙂

  4. cupsui loves kozzer says:

    you are an optimist Dan!! good work brother! cheered me up some after a little despondency. I like your talk of Owen he could be exactly what we need. He is at least very different option wise to Giroud, chamakh (who are quite similar) and even podolski…BUT i don’t know if Arsene is reading this. Has he thought of Owen? In regards to the other guys you mentioned, i agree not really needed. I do however like gordon and wouldn’t say no…

    anyway great read as always. I’m looking forward to the Liverpool game. will be tough but i think we can dust them!

  5. Mike Logan says:

    We can change our motto to…
    “We don’t buy good players, we make them…, & then sell them…!”

  6. Master J says:

    Honestly Dan, for the first time I have to disagree with you on the three players you suggested we would have brought in, and my reason is that, we have had players of such calibre in the past (Gallas, the return of Sol Campbell and now Squillaci) that doesn’t really worked out for us, in fact, some were catastrophic. I accept the fact that we don’t need any more signing rather than accepting your suggestions.

    Apart from this, the article is great.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Thanks mate but maybe you’ve missed the point or I’ve misunderstood your comment. I’m not suggesting we should have brought in these players just that as they are free agents and not tied to the transfer window we could bring them in if needed. The general point of the post is that we didn’t need to buy players so we didn’t but if we wanted to beat the transfer deadline & bring in a few faces to bolster the squad that there are options and decent ones at that.

  7. Good one Dan. I however don’t buy Craig Gordon and Hargreaves but I won’t mind Michael Owen. I certainly agree that he’s a better finisher than Cham-Cham (Chamakh).

    I also strongly agree with you on Walcott. It’s like you read my mind. I wrote about this after our game with Sunderland on the possibility of Walcott playing as an ST. A lot of people said he didn’t have the creativity for that. I however think he has the speed (like Tevez) and shot accuracy and since I consider being a striker less mentally tasking than being an MD, he should be fine after some drills.

    He could play as a fast striker or target man to run with the ball before the ‘shadow’ striker gets in (forgive my FM manager lingo, can’t help it). I think we’re more balanced at the back however, and we look like we’ll be conceding a lot less goals this season…we’ll also have to wait and see how the back five hold up against the lethal strike forces of Man-city et al.

  8. nazeer says:

    Good article. But wenger will never sign any of those even though Owen would be great. Wenger lives in a dream world where all your problems may go away of u close your eyes and wish hard enough.

  9. ZB20H says:

    I hadn’t considered Gordon. Could he be an improvement on the fragile Fabianski or the frankly quite poor Mannone? Not sure to be honest. We have a lot of midfielders so Hargreaves does not get my vote.

    Owen is a natural for us. I would really like to see this happen for the reasons you state and the paucity of the options we have, i.e. Chamakh. I do however disagree with your argument for not bringing him as regards the deployment of Walcott.

    There is no way that Walcott can play centrally in the system we have. He would not have the game intelligence to bring others into play and we have seen time and time again how easily he is physically and mentally intimidated out of games. In my opinion that is his biggest weakness over and above his technical deficiences.

    It is possible that Walcott could succeed as a striker in a Bergkamp-Anelka type relationship but we don’t play that way currently and nothing to suggest that Wenger would switch formations for someone who may well still leave and moreover is far from being a certain starter.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      We shall see re Walcott but I’m astounded by how many people think he could not play up front for us. His movement is excellent and his runs intelligent. His finishing statistically stacks up with any of the top strikers in the league and in Cazorla we have someone who can thread balls he can run on to. He would work better in a 2 man attack but he could still work in our current system.

      I think I may have put my point across poorly with regards to the players I’ve mentioned. I am not suggesting need them nor that I want them just that they are options. I believe the team is good enough as is but should we feel the need to bring in new face that there are players who can do a job at the very least until January but again I stress that they are not needed as things stand.

  10. Nir says:

    Sorry but dont think it makes sense to sign these players. First of all fabianski is better than what we have seen until now and mannone has shown he can play without errors as well. So we r good in gk department. Similar in dm position, we have a fighter n frimpong and technical le coq who is very impressive in case diady and/or arteta is injured. Rosicky, ramsey and even Ox can play this role as we dont really play with a traditional dm. We seems to lack a back up striker, but then again…owen? dont we have enough headache already with the history of injuries at emirates? If chamakh can lift up his game a bit and walcott is to play in central striking role, then we are ok for this season. I am not against signing players, but common, not the ones with medicines and x-rays in their bio-data!

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      That’s not the point of this blog post. The message is that we didn’t need to buy players and that our squad is good enough and big enough however for balance I included some players that we could sign who would add depth, now this word is important because I’m not talking about starters or even regulars on the bench but depth, depth of squad means more competition which should lead to better performances on the pitch and will allow us to rotate more effectively and keep our main players fitter for longer.
      I’m am not suggesting that we sign these players nor am I suggesting that we need them or that Wenger would want them but have pinpointed them as players who could offer quality as depth players who we could sign if needed as they are free agents or least were at time of writing.

    • Nir says:

      still……daniel, to mention michael (owen) hargreaves…sorry my problem but they r like tart for me.
      nevermind, cheers!

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      You’re focusing on your dislike of the players. What cannot be denied is that they have quality. Injury etc aside they have quality and the point is that if we needed to bring players in before January there are players out there than can help.
      The point of the article is to highlight that we did not need to buy any more players on deadline day because the squad is strong enough but also to highlight to those that moaned and moaned about us not buying anyone and that we missed a trick that just because the window is closed it doesn’t mean we cannot sign players. Sorry if the article did not make that clear to you.

  11. Nir says:

    When is the new article coming mate? Its being a long wait for me, a regular hunter of your site. Hope to catch up with your thoughts soon.
    best Regards

  12. george radicalgooner. says:

    these offlayers you mention make my ears bleed and who dares compare chamhak and giroud, Giroud needs a bit of time to adjust to the english game but mark my words that boy is going to be a hit song. back to owen guys are u serious, even the thought of looking through the skip bin of old trafford makes me sick as for the other two completley unnecessary even if we were being paid to take them they would only unnecessarily weigh on our wagebill, and daniel you keep defending yourself by saying you didnt mean we should get them i have one comment for you brother “how dare you utter out such abominations.” if we are going to thinking of buying anyone lets beef up our strikeforce in the quality of Llorrente and Falcao, or at least lets dream in that accord

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      You miss the point George. At the time of writing the window was closed so we couldn’t buy Llorente or Falcao, I was making the point that just because the window is closed it doesn’t mean players cannot join.

      You also miss the point about pay as you play deals so players would not be a drain on the wage bill if they were not contributing.

      How dare I utter such abominations? Quite easily, I actually watch football so base my opinions of players on their talent and contribution rather than media opinion or twitter frenzy.

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