It’s a few days before the close of the transfer window and I honestly thought that Arsenal had learnt lessons from last year and that I would be able to watch deadline day unfold in a state of complete relax.
Our early summer business gave me belief that this would happen but it seems as though I may be up on Friday night nervously waiting to see who Arsenal sign if we indeed sign anyone.
A lot, it seems, depends on who goes out and unless we can get the exit door swinging I doubt we will sign anyone. Wenger’s degree in economics and our clubs long-standing view on “sustainability” tells me that Wenger would not see the likes of Bendtner, Arshavin and Squillaci paid to do nothing but train just so he could bring in a few more players. It’s not what we as Arsenal fans want to see or hear, many Gooners would be happy for the so-called “dead wood” to be paid to sit in the stands if it meant their squad spot going to a new signing but I can’t see it.
Wenger is only allowed to name 17 non home-grown players for his Premier League squad and at this time we have 17 and can we realistically see Wenger buying any established English or Welsh players?
So it is clear that bodies need to be moved on before we can bring any in if we agree that we’re not going to pay players who don’t make the squad however much we may or may not feel that decision is wrong.
I see a lot of calls on twitter for Arsenal to sign another striker, a defensive midfielder and a defender. Now I don’t necessarily disagree that these additions would be welcome but I certainly disagree with some views that we desperately need a striker because of two goalless draws and the most idiotic of statements that Giroud is “crap”.
I find the assertions that we need a new striker because “Giroud can’t score” even more ridiculous because all the suggested strikers are all playing in other leagues. Would spending £35m on Falcao automatically make us scoring machines? I don’t think so.
The problem is not the shooting, it’s the loading of the barrel. The size of the goal is the same all over the world so when a striker from any league gets the ball and has sight of the goal it doesn’t matter where he is from or what league he is playing in. The only thing that can stop him, if his hits the target, is the keeper.
Our main barrel loader is now Cazorla and whilst he has excited he is not in sync with the rest of the barrel loaders and the guys taking the shots and vice versa. (Note, this is not a criticism of Cazorla or any one player). The build up to scoring a goal is like a production line in factory, if the parts or workers aren’t all working at the same speed then things get messed up. That is what is happening to Arsenal at the moment.
Our players aren’t on the same wavelength and our runs don’t match our passes and vice versa. It’ll come though and when it does we are going to be extremely dangerous. At any rate a new striker would have the same issues Giroud is having and that is adapting to the pace of the league as well as syncing up with Cazorla. When Giroud starts making blind runs to get onto Cazorla’s blind passes (like Cesc, Theo & Song instinctively knew where that Dutch geezer was) he’ll show exactly what I mean when I say the goal is the same size all over the world and all he’ll need to adapt to is the pace and power of the league but I don’t think that will be an issue especially after the way he handled Stokes rugby tactics as though they were run of the mill challenges, in fact I believe he completely dominated Shawcross statistically and won every aerial challenge.
We’re not scoring but the defence is looking extremely solid and I’ve been particularly impressed with them because playing against teams like Sunderland and Stoke who are very physical, soak up pressure well and then hit you on the counter-attack is difficult and Arsenal would have lost those games last year.
I put the improvement in the defence down to a number of factors, Steve Bould’s influence, better team discipline, greater understanding between our defenders and in my opinion, the emergence and improvement of both Jenkinson and Mertesacker. I know Jenkinson gets a lot of stick but for a lad of his age and earlier league experience he has acquitted himself very well so far and Per has been exemplary. His positioning, reading of the game and clean tackling has been a huge asset against the physicality and counter-attacking nature of Stoke and Sunderland. I personally think that Per and Koscielny are our best pairing and am coming around to the idea of Vermaelen maybe taking the defensive midfield spot which I’ve previously been against and have dismissed quite often but it could fit well with us potentially bringing in another defender but then again I don’t think that’ll happen.
I think a couple of goalless draws plus the loss of that Dutch geezer and Song (who was never given any stick for lacking defensive discipline) has made a lot of people nervous and desperately wanting a defensive midfielder and a new striker.
Supposedly Dick Law is in Germany and may be negotiating a move for a new addition from the Bundesliga or maybe a move out for one of our fringe players. There are many players in the Bundesliga that I’d be happy for us to make a move for like Schürrle, Schweinsteiger, Großkreutz or Piszczek (if we were to go for another RB I’d want this guy) but I don’t think we have much chance of getting any of those or rather there is a lack of interest from us especially in the last two.
I’m quite nervous about the looming deadline day because I really don’t see where we can add true quality in the next few days.
In terms of a new midfielder we have been linked with Fellaini, Cabaye, Tiote, M’Vila and Capoue in recent times and I think the first three are off the cards because of the ridiculous money Everton and Newcastle would ask for those players. M’Vila I have never been convinced we would buy nor that he would be a massive improvement on Song but now that Song is out of the picture it’s a different story but I still don’t think that one will happen despite all the ITK types saying it will so that just really leaves Capoue. Of all the players we’ve been linked with in that ball winning position he is the one I’d prefer. I’m not convinced by his passing ability but if we want an enforcer he could be it or there is another name we’ve been linked with but not for a while and that is Mavuba. He’s not a regular for France but then again Arteta has never represented Spain so we shouldn’t dismiss players based on their international appearances (nor should we build them up on it à la M’Vila).
Striker wise I’m not convinced we are in for anyone or that a new striker would make much of a difference considering my earlier point that we need time to sync up. I probably would have said I’d want Dempsey because of his versatility and 17 goals in the premier league last season but I’m not so sure where he’d fit now. If we are going to buy a striker I think we should buy from the premier league and I’d make a concerted effort for Hernandez.
With so little time left I don’t really think anyone we could bring in would make a significant difference bar a new ball-winning midfielder and with the defence solidity we have at the moment and players to return as well as the anticipated improved understanding between our new signings and the rest of the team I’m not so convinced we need to.
Some will say that this sort of attitude is accepting mediocrity and enabling the club to just keep scraping into the champions league but to those I say this. Do you really think just getting into the Champions League is the quintessence of what Wenger considers success? I refer you to my esteemed colleague Poznan In My Pants who quite beautifully said, don’t confuse our minimum goal with our maximum ambition.
So if come Sunday when we line up against Liverpool our squad is largely unchanged don’t be too disheartened as our team is looking good and the goals will come sooner than later.
Call me too positive, say I enable mediocrity, tell me I’m deluded and this team will win nothing, I don’t care. I’m confident those who feel differently from me will be eating their words come May and hopefully will be happy to do so. If we sign a ball-winning midfielder and that’s it by Saturday I’ll consider myself lucky and our business to have been taken care of even if it’s conclusion was left a little late for my liking.
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