Arsenal Need To Buy Big, First They Must Bargain Hunt

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
May 17th, 2012

Okay let us imagine that we are super lucky and manage to sell all of our “dead wood” (see my post on end of season fire sale) which I personally don’t think we’ll be able to do.

For arguments sake I am going to say that we sell Almunia, Mannone, Squillaci, Denilson, Arshavin, Park, Bendtner and Vela.

Our squad will then consist of:

Szczesny, Fabianski, Sagna, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Santos, Djourou, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Song, Arteta, Frimpong, Coquelin, Wilshere, Diaby, Ramsey, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lansbury, Walcott, Gervinho, Ryo, Chamakh, Podolski, Campbell, Afobe, Van Persie


7 of these players do not need to be registered and probably will not be.

Of the remaining 21 players only 7 are “home-grown” therefore we need one more or we submit a smaller squad.

I think we could lose Fabianski this summer and that would take our squad down to 20. I believe that Afobe will be loaned out next season and we could potentially see Campbell back out on loan, then we’ll only have 3 strikers; RVP, Podolski (who will mainly play on the left) and Chamakh.

I have a feeling that Lansbury will be signed permanently by West Ham if they are promoted (and for the purpose of this blog I will assume they will be promoted).

We are now down to 19 so can sign 4 players. Who should those 4 be?

Everyone talks about M’Vila as the answer to all of our problems but even with his off the pitch antics aside I am not convinced; I will explain briefly why. Ligue 1 is miles behind the EPL and whilst it was a ripe picking ground in Wenger’s early days I now do not believe it produces enough transferable talent. Sure there are the Cabaye’s but there are also the Park’s/Chamakh’s. Every league has good players but that doesn’t mean those players will perform in another league.

That is not to say M’Vila is not a good player and he is good on the international scene but international football is very different from league football.

Is he really all that? For €22m... not for me.

If he joins, great, if he doesn’t I won’t be screaming that Wenger doesn’t know what he is doing.

For me a better option would be Biglia because he is more experienced, the Belgian league isn’t much different from the French league (Championship to Premiership) and would be much cheaper leaving more money to spend on other areas.

However I appreciate that Wenger needs to make some “token” big name signings to convince Robin to stay. I personally do not think that M’Vila fits the big name mould yet at 21 years of age but I will accept that he is a big name on popular consensus.

I personally feel that Kagawa could be classed as a big name because he is proven in a big league, probably the closest league to the premier league in style. I would prefer Dempsey personally but I think Kagawa ticks all the right boxes.

So let us say that M’Vila and Kagawa are going to be our big signings. Popular reports would have the two of them costing us €35m (about £28m)

Better than our current #23 & Fulham's... although I prefer Fulham's for now

Wenger is not going to spend £28m net, I will be generous and say that he will spend £10m. Although I personally feel that although we have the money to spend big this summer before the new commercial deals kick in I believe that Wenger/The Board will be looking to make a profit in this window where possible.

Are we going to get £18m for the “dead wood”? EASILY!!! I hear you say.

I say; don’t get your hopes up. If we want to sell all of those players we will have to sell really cheaply because I feel their large wages will put a number of clubs off. If you believe the papers then Bendtner could have gone to Lisbon last summer but didn’t because they couldn’t afford his wages.

If we get an average of £3m for the players we can charge for we should consider ourselves lucky.

So we have two spaces left to fill but no money left to buy anyone.

Well two potential signings I want to bring to your attention are both free transfers and both would improve our squad in my opinion.

The first being Craig Gordon. We are going to need a new keeper and 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

The second I have already received a bit of stick for on Twitter but it is Michael Owen.

Benchwarme. Injury-prone. Can’t play more than 10 games. Would be the worst signing ever. Would be an insult to Arsenal fans. Not going to make RVP stay.

These are all the reasons not to sign Owen that I had thrown at me.

Here is why I think we should consider him.

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. Would accept a pay-as-you-play deal. Most 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 only 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

Strength in depth is something Arsenal have seriously lacked over the years and how many of us can honestly say we fancy Chamakh or Park to get a goal when they come on? Owen has a history of doing this and has done so very well at United. Sure he didn’t play much this season but when you have a younger version of Owen like Hernandez hardly getting a game because the Welbeck/Rooney partnership is working 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.

Owen doing what he does best... finishing a chance

So if we want to buy “big” players like M’Vila and Kagawa we need to strengthen the other areas of the pitch with bargains like Gordon and Owen.

Feel free to agree/disagree 🙂 All opinions welcome.

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.

9 Responses to “Arsenal Need To Buy Big, First They Must Bargain Hunt”

  1. mzeey says:

    nice but we need to do better owen gordon good but after sceuring more and selling more like diaby,ramsey and chamak should be add, why do we think our club is not going to do bussnis in the coming weeks
    i see arsenal signing yannvila , dembsey a defendr not sure hwo bring a loaney like yossi i hope like i heard Maxi Rodrigues is one and if they see them selfs a mid class club like fulham or west brom then they will just stay the same .

    2010\2011 we almost did it but a weak bench and a bite tired\injurde strting 10 lost us the .P.leauge (wenegr speaks of the invincbels ok boss start signing)

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      As I’ve been saying, even with selling loads of players we won’t have many squad spaces because of the 25 rule so can only really sign 3-4 players. I think Owen & Gordon would strengthen the squad and allow us to spend our transfer money on better players like M’Vila and Kagawa whom so many Gooners want.

      Diaby will not be sold, Wenger rates him too highly. Ramsey will also not be sold and nor should he.

      Maxi Rodriguez isn’t good enough for Liverpool, an 8th placed team. Owen has been released by a team who are much better than us so wouldn’t be a bad addition.

  2. Nana Kojo Tieku says:

    i agree with you on michael owen, he is much experienced in the premiership and scores when he wants.

  3. Domhuaille MacMathghamhna says:

    A good article and well thought out but I feel Lansbury will go out on loan again, since Westham are not offering him enough premier League opportunities, IF they go up.
    Owen is a gamble with his injury record but I do agree he could offer the impact player option we need as he is definitely a fox in the box type player. Would he come cheaply…with Manure you never know but Gordon is definitely on Wenger’s radar as he ticks ALL the boxes we need; talented, skillful, reliable and we once did bid for him if I remember correctly, plus he is British I recall.
    The deadwood is definitely worth about 18-20MEuro as follows:

    Almunia (on a free)
    Mannone (2-2,5M)
    Squillaci (.5-1,0M)
    Denilson (1-2,0)
    Arshavin (8-9,5)
    Park (1-2,0)
    Vela (3 -4m)

    So between 18 and 25m if we are lucky. If not, maybe about 15m in all?

    We will see what Arsene does but rest assured it will be economically viable.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I don’t think we should try and guess what our players could be sold for.

      Owen is available on a free transfer. That is why I recommended him.

  4. uttaran chowdhury says:

    I think del piero and hoilett are good options! Dey’ll cost nothing and their wage demands will be low as well

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Del Piero earns over £100k a week, i think his wage demands would be high plus he is almost 38 years old and has no experience of our league. When Suker arrived the premiership was a step down from La Liga so it was a slightly easier transition. If Del Piero came from Serie A it would be a couple of steps up so I think it is fair to assume he may find adapting a bit hard.

      Hoilett is a good player but I think Kagawa would be better for the team

  5. G says:

    Very good comment, I agree that wenger will not splash the cash (unless RVP demands conditions to stay, even then it would be a push), owen would be cover if rvp (1) podolski (2)were tired or rested, but only on a pay as you play basis,looks like we will miss out on hazard, but staying in belgium (cheaper) what about midfield, in Axel Witsel, or steven Dafour, both better than diaby,ramsey, if its forwards how about Lukaku ( similar play to drogba) or Dembele ( check him out, very henry like, in my opinion)I agree about Gordon.!!

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Good points G. I was thinking of Owen on a PAYP to replace Park who I don’t think is ever going to get a proper shot in the first team and as such is more of a waste of wages than Bendtner or Denilson who we at least put in the shop window. Owen would be available on a free plus on a pay as you play deal he would be relatively cheap and his goal record for United was 1 in 3 games which would be great for us and worth the money we would end up paying him plus he is a master at pulling defenders out of position which would help our others players score more. That type of work would go unnoticed by the average fan but is something we do not have and badly need.

      I’m glad that we will miss out on Hazard because he is a total mercenary and until most other players we’ve sold recently we may not be able to make a decent wedge on him when he eventually pushes for a move.

      I think Belgium have some fantastic players at the moment and am surprised that they are not in the Euros. Lukaku would be expensive as he already plays for Chelsea but his performances for Chelsea have been poor so I’m not that interested in him.

      Witsel, Dafour and Dembele are all technically gifted players and I wouldn’t look any of them in the mouth if Wenger tried to sign them. I don’t think we’ll make many moves in midfield because Wenger really rates Diaby and whilst I agree with Wenger that he is extremely talented I think he is a waste of space because of his chronic injury problems and unlike Van Persie who plays upfront he shouldn’t be given more patience because he is a midfielder and if you are constantly injured or out of form them it affects the team more than a player who will probably see the ball less than 20 times in a match (strikers). Ramsey looked the real deal before Shawcross broke his leg and I feel that he has never really got back to form and in a season like this one where the fans are quick to turn on players he has had any confidence he had shattered. I think he will come good in the end but I think that Wenger should have completely dropped him out of the team about 10 weeks ago just so he could get his head together, work on the basics in training, get out of the spotlight and try and get back to form in pre-season away from fan pressure.

      With regards to Dembele, I think he will eventually end up at United and I would prefer his team-mate Dempsey because he is an experienced and quality player and with the 25 rule we need some older players for a couple of seasons or we will be forced to lose some of our best youngsters when we can’t include them in the squad because we have too many 23-26 year olds.

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