Threadbare Arsenal Desperate For Signings?

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
Aug 18th, 2014

Threadbare Arsenal desperate for signings. Or, Arsenal need 5 players to compete. Or, Wenger neglects glaring holes in his squad, AGAIN!

These are the sort of headlines the perpetually tumultuous thrive on as it fuels their spumescent fury and re-hydrates them after a session of vehement finger flexing on social media.  Some people are never happy and whilst Arsenal could do with a few additions it’s madness to write us off so early and especially before the window closes.

Arsenal are heading to Turkey with a tattered defence and many are worrying about our Champions League future. A sparse looking defence coupled with an unconvincing performance against Crystal Palace seems to be enough to push a few over the edge. How fragile they must be to have been taken to the limit by these two things, especially after the summer we have had, is probably a discussion for another time but my brief tuppence is these are clearly people who do a much better job of winding themselves up than Arsenal, I, or any other person, possibly could.

Surprisingly, Arsenal has a pretty stocked team with lots of depth all over the pitch and one or two more signings will have the team fully stocked. I think the bone of contention for many is not how many players we have but who those players are. In essence, Arsenal does not have the players those people want.

Depth has been an issue at Arsenal for a long time but no so much any more. Depth isn’t just about having three specialists in every position, or possibly more as so many seem to bemoan a lack of signings they approve of by pointing to injuries that have happened or injuries that may happen without a cursory thought to the logic of the solution they are proposing to a problem they have entirely invented themselves; having unlimited players for each position.

Squad depth at Arsenal isn’t just about having specialist players in every position, it is also about having players with the versatility to play, convincingly, in other roles as and when required. In that respect, Arsenal are doing quite well.

Outfield options for Arsenal are better than they have been in almost 10 years and it is no coincidence that it has coincided with Arsenal’s improved commercial deals. Here is a quick breakdown of our outfield positions and the players capable of occupying those roles divided into specialists and auxiliaries:

Full-Back Specialists: Debuchy, Chambers, Bellerin, Gibbs and Monreal
Full-Back Auxiliaries: Flamini, Coquelin and Koscielny (yes, Laurent can play RB if required)
Centre-Back Specialists: Mertesacker, Koscielny, Chambers and Miquel
Centre-Back Auxiliaries: Monreal (not ideal but I’ll come to that)
Deep Midfield Specialists: Arteta and Flamini
Deep Midfield Auxiliaries: Chambers
Midfield Specialists: Ramsey, Wilshere, Diaby, Rosicky and Oxlade-Chamberlain
Attacking Midfield Specialists: Özil, Cazorla and Rosicky
Wide Forward Specialists: Podolski, Walcott, Sanchez, Cazorla, Campbell and Gnabry
Wide Forward Auxiliaries: Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere and Rosicky
Centre Forward Specialists: Giroud and Sanogo
Centre Forward Auxiliaries: Podolski, Sanchez, Walcott and Campbell

There are, of course, youth players we could add to that but I think that is enough to be getting on with. We have 8 players who can play as full-backs, 5 as centre-backs, 3 as holding midfielders, 5 as central midfielders, 3 in the hole, 9 wide and 6 through the middle.

This versatility aids Arsenal during matches as players can disrupt opponents by switching things up but also when there are injuries or suspensions to contend with.

Looking at that list tells me we could do with one more player who can player centre-back and one more who can play deep midfield and it makes complete sense that they could be one player. Rumours of Carvalho seem better tailored to our needs than rumours of Khedira because Carvalho can play deep midfield and defence whereas Khedira is more in the central midfielder-cum-Arteta-role mould.

Our current predicament highlights how quickly things can change for any club and it is only the fact that the gap between the World Cup ending and the season starting is so short that this is even the focal talking point for supporters. It is a price you pay for having World Cup winners in your squad.

If Mertesacker was ready to play tomorrow then we would have no issue. Positively for Arsenal though, Mertesacker has retired from international football so when the September break comes around we’ll have one less player to worry about losing to a friendly.

Getting through the next two games is Arsenal’s only concern and even with a makeshift defence we shouldn’t be worrying too much about Besiktas. If our midfield does the job and controls the game then the elastoplast defence won’t have much to do.

The Everton game is the real worry but it’s Monday! We have 2-3 more days to sign another player and we may even have Mertesacker back by then. He takes really good care of himself so it’s not inconceivable for him to be closer to a return than our other Germans.

One more player – in the Carvalho mould –  will, for want of a better word, complete this squad in terms of depth and my money is on Arsenal securing such a player. Talk of needing four or five players in order to compete is, in my opinion, utter bilge.

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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.

15 Responses to “Threadbare Arsenal Desperate For Signings?”

  1. Grant says:

    Yes it’s all good and well naming all the players that make up our squad. But ask yourself the question are they the required quality in each position to mount as serious challenge on several fronts. Has Wenger fixed the claring holes in the positions that desperately need fixing in order to maybe win the EPL. If you think he has addressed these issues and that we have 2 world class, two quality players for each position then mate go start a blog about something else because we will not win the EPL whilst Chelsea and Man City have much stronger squads then our simple.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Like I said in the blog – some people just aren’t happy because we don’t have the players they want. I trust the manager, I trust the team and I have no time for giving up on the league after just one game so I’ll leave that to you.

  2. LeBigMac says:

    I think you speak for much of the fan base Daniel, The neigh sayers will always rise to the top as they shout the loudest even if no one wants to hear.
    Its simple common sense. When you are happy with things, on the whole you don’t go shouting about it otherwise people think you a bit demented. However, when you are not happy with things, you are more vocal.
    Well thats my experience anyway.
    I have no issue with what we have, to be honest I am more excited about this campaign than I have been since we left Highbury, so much so I have arranged myself several matches through the season.
    I’m pretty certain I would not do this if I were at odds with my Arsenal.
    However, that said, we do still have some issues.
    For my money, we need a forward as Sanogo is not in anyway ready for the Premier League.
    He is often “leg tied” for want of a better word and cannot get the ball out from his feet. This will come with games I am sure. The boy has talent and a football brain – let’s face it you don’t score 4 goals in one game unless you know where the ball is going to be.
    I would be happier sending him on loan for the season and bringing in an established player rather than what I think will happen – Giroud starts and Sanogo gets 30 minutes a game to get his sea legs (but only when we are in front, or not for that matter)
    As for the rest of the squad, yes a centre DM would be good but why give MA the armband if we are doing that. We also need CB cover.
    We have been promised more bodies and I am sure they will happen, but lets not just make them bodies hey Arsene?
    I am with you Daniel. We don’t need them because the loudest shout people say we will fail without them. We need them as the squad will be too threadbare without them; And with that being the case, why not buy the best available and continue lifting the squad.
    After all, doesn’t cream always rise to the top…..

  3. Jihad Paul says:

    Infidel Mr Cowan. This is outrage to my family.
    I think that 3 player is needed, my friend.
    3 player and we will take over the premier league, and maybe the world. It all depends on Israel bastards.
    We need CB, DLM, and CF, or the Westerners will take our land and oil.
    You must agree with me, or die.

  4. Jason says:

    Sorry Daniel but you are living in the same cuckoo land that Wenger is currently living in.
    The transfer window has been all smoke and mirrors.
    Last season it was apparent to everyone that knows anything about football that Arsenal needed to add a quality centre back, defensive midfielder, and striker to the current squad this summer.
    Well so far we have added a back up goalkeeper to replace a back up goalkeeper. We’ve added a good right back to replace a good right back. We’ve added a 19 year old back up right back to replace our back up right back.
    We have signed a great player in Sanchez, but to play out wide.
    Absolutely nothing has been done to address the for mentioned issues.
    Yes Chambers may well turn out to be a quality centre back, but he is still very much unproven.
    With TV also departing we are left with just six first team defenders, with two of them injured. We now go into the biggest game (money wise) of the season with a bare four first team defenders.
    Yes, so in so can play here, and so in so can play there, but this is Arsenal Football Club, we should have first team players who DO play in those positions. It’s like a Pub team rallying around on a Sunday morning for players.
    How Wenger can leave us so short at the back and do nothing to address our glaringly obviously squad weaknesses beggars belief!!!!!

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Vermaelen is injured so he’d be no good to us tomorrow. I also find it offensive that you infer I am crazy for having belief in my team. You might not but that doesn’t make me crazy. Wenger, the crazy old codger, managed to get us a trophy last season and finish a mere two game swing away from being champions. That’s pretty bloody close and we didn’t fail because we lacked a striker, defender or DM – we failed because we couldn’t cope with the loss of Walcott and Ramsey. The Walcott issue has been addressed and then some with the signing of Sanchez.

      I hate the term “anyone who knows anything about football” being used to enforce a personal opinion because I could easily say that anyone who knows football knows that we don’t precisely need a “defensive midfielder” as another box-to-box player in the Ramsey mould (like Khedira) would work just as well because a “box-to-box” midfielder attacks and defends and if you have two intelligent ones then one sits whilst the other attacks – as evidenced by Khedira and Schweinsteiger.

      I could also say that “anyone who knows anything about football” knows you don’t necessarily need a striker who scores 30 goals on his own if you have the right people around the team to contribute. And that is what Arsenal has. In the years of RvP we had nightmares about him getting injured because who would score for us if he was out? Nowadays we have 6 players who are almost guaranteed to score 10+ each and maybe 2 more who could weigh in with around 10 each. That is a much healthier position to be in but “people who don’t know football” think a striker has to score all of the goals and doesn’t see the value in a player like Giroud and wonders what an idiot like Wenger who has somehow lucked his way to 30+ years in top level management is doing putting his trust in a moron like Giroud.

      The summer isn’t over – some players don’t become available until very late on (as we saw with the merry-go-round that led to Özil’s signing) – and the game against Besiktas is over two legs. If we smash them with our depleted team people will wonder what the worry was about. If Mertesacker was fit and playing tomorrow we wouldn’t even be worrying about it.

      I’ve watched football for over 20 years and I like to think I’ve earned the right to an opinion and have some decent ones. The man who is best placed to judge what our issues are has done a good job this summer in making sure we get the right players and will continue to do so until August 31st.

      I’m confident in this team, even with the injuries, albeit concerned about tomorrow and the weekend (but you seem to have skipped the part where I mention that and have assumed this post is about me claiming we have the best players in the world when in fact it is about saying we are one player away from where we need to be rather than five – which is not to say we couldn’t use five because you can always use new players if they are better than what you have) – if you choose not to be confident then that’s your decision but I won’t say you are mental for it – just pessimistic.

      And in reference to what you said about players who do play in a position as opposed to those who can play in a position, I covered that in the blog and the only option to make people with that logic happy is to have a never ending supply of players because you can have three top quality players per position but if, say, all three left-backs got injured and you had no-one with the versatility to play there you’d be fucked. Versatility can only be a positive thing but I doubt that will be enough for some people until this team has won the league – which I am confident they will do if they get that one extra player – and then, I’m sure, they’ll proclaim they always believed in the team and never called me a nutter.

  5. Jason says:

    Calm down Daniel, I didn’t call you a nutter or crazy. I was merely trying to point out that you have far more faith in Wenger than I do. Yes of course you are entitled to your opinion, (as am I) and I’m sure yours is far more valued on here than mine.

    However, The “anyone who knows anything about football” comment was based on the opinion of most so called experts, and one I do happen to agree with (right or wrong)

    However, what led me to my initial frustration (hence the comments) was with regards the defence. No, TV wouldn’t help as at present, but starting the season having only six (first team) defenders, in my opinion, is taking an unnecessary risk with a massive champions league game coming up. Having six defenders to cover four positions, yet nine (not counting Couqelin) covering three in midfield appears to me to be a very poor distribution of resources.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I’m perfectly calm Jason but maybe you should consider what your words infer because “Sorry Daniel but you are living in the same cuckoo land that Wenger is currently living in” suggests I’m crazy – unless the meaning of cloud cuckoo land changed and no one told me.

      Like I said in the post, it’s clear we need another defender. I agree with you but like so many that don’t have faith in the team or the manager you’ve chosen to ignore the fact that we agree on something and turn it into a discussion on the failings of the manager.

      And once more, I disagree that anyone who knows anything about football knew we needed a CB, DM and ST last season because that isn’t what changed our season. Injuries changed our season and it seems Arsenal’s most important summer signing may prove to be Shad Forsythe.

  6. Philbet says:

    I am getting pretty fed up with all these so called Squad judges going on about us needing a Defensive midfielder do any of them think that a blocker/thug midfielder would be a liability when WE HAVE THE BALL….. when on offence we would effectively have a man down as this fabled DM is just there to break up opposition attacks I am aware that not conceding is important but is not scoring unimportant, 75% of our opponents at The Emirates will come to play for a draw, this much needed DM that they talk about, would rarely be needed, still talks cheap and if someone reads something in the media, then they may think its cleaver repeating it as often as possable because being able to think football for them selves is clearly beyond them.

    • Jason says:

      Maybe “defensive midfielder” is the wrong terminology. Maybe its a player with a “bit of steel” ie, a Roy Keane, Patrick Viera, or Yaya Toure that is required, especially for the big away games that we seem to struggle in. I don’t remember them being a liability when their team had/has the ball.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      That’s why I’m a fan of another quality B2B player as if they do their job properly we will have two players (Ramsey & new) who can attack and defend when required.

  7. Twivil says:

    Art and Caz cost us the title last year. They nearly lost us the game on Sat and they will lose us the title again this year. Watch the movement, the postional switching and the third man running, the closing down and the covering of Chelsea’s midfield and you will see why they will beat us this season. Arsene is great but trying to win the Prem with players that can’t pass and move is impossible. If Arsene let Fabregas go in favour of Cazorla it will come back to haunt him and ruin his legacy. My heart bleeds for Ramsey. How fantastic he would be with Fabregas, Ya Ya and Oscar to pay with instead of Art, Caz and Jack.

  8. Grant says:

    OHHH for the love of god… It’s sad to say but I think if we had played Chelsea or Man City as apposed to Crystal Palace the score line would of been different. When you look at our signings we have only really replaced players with players that have left. I agree Sanchez will be and is a great signing but I don’t think he’s the CF we require and Giroud is just not good enough to win the league he is very good in the built up lay but misses far to many chances although I do see him having a better year this year. You wait and see Costa will score 25-30 goals and Cesc will out assist Ozil. Once again FOR ME Wenger has not addressed the issues we are week through the spine of the team if you look at the power and strength Man City and Chelsea have I just do not see Arsenal being there at the end. We were top of the league last year for 21 weeks and then Man City power and depth came to the fore. I’m optimistic but also realistic I have been following Arsenal for 25 years and would love nothing more than to win the EPL but I just cant see it we just haven’t addressed the issue from last year there is a reason the top sides scored so many against us last year POWER PACE QUALITY AND STRENGTH time will tell.

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