By Tony Attwood
It is a while since we did anything much on transfers, what with the FA Cup final and end of civilisation as we know it, but no matter if one turns away for a day, a week, or a month, the news is the same. We need three players if we are going to challenge.
Arsène Wenger says he doesn’t really think we need anyone, and each time in response all the papers say we need the same three people: defensive midfield, goal keeper, forward.
Interestingly, there is no reference in any of these commentaries about how the players will fit into our 25, and who should be displaced. And no talking about how players are able to play different positions – Theo on the wing, Theo centre forward, Alexis ditto, and so on and on…
Take defensive midfield. We have Coquelin and Arteta who play that position, and then Jack who can play that position. Coquelin came close to winning man of the match in the Cup Final, getting 8s and 9s in various newspapers for his display. But still we need to replace him with…
Geoffrey Kondogbia of Monaco.
Now according to the increasingly unbelievable Daily Telegraph, “The French side…” well, hang on there, they are not actually a French side. They play in Ligue 1, but they are within the Principality, not France. It’s a bit like calling Swansea “The English side” on the grounds that they play in the Premier League. Mind you, this being the Telegraph, they probably write the Swansea address as Swansea, Wales, England.
And my thought is that if they can’t get a detail like which country someone is in, are they really likely to have an ear to the ground in terms of transfers?
Anyway, the, as I say, increasingly unbelievable Telegraph claim that Monaco “have slapped down a £25m price tag”. Slapped eh? Did it hurt?
The Daily Mirror says Inter have made an enquiry and Arsenal retain an interest. Oh and Mr W has “followed Kondogbia since his time as a teenager at Lens and during his spell in Spain.” It makes it sound like stalking.
But what about
Morgan Schneiderlin of Southampton
He’s been on the list forever. But no, apparently Manchester United want to pay him more than we do.
Anyway, not to worry about that because
Nabil Bentaleb of Tottenham
is going to get a better contract but Arsenal are putting in a bid anyway. However the ever desperate Telegraph says “Bentaleb wants to stay at Spurs, continuing to grow alongside fellow Academy graduates like Harry Kane and Ryan Mason.” And anyway PSG and Juventus are interested too, so no chance for us.
Still, if we are losing out on some players don’t panic! There is always
The Metro says talks are underway over a £42m transfer. Untold was caught once by this so we’re not going down this route again, at least not until he is spotted at Heathrow and …
Anyway, there is also
Petr Cech who is going to tell Chelsea he wants to join Arsenal this summer. He was going to join a club in Turkey but then he realised that the club in Turkey was actually in Turkey and he wants to stay in London which isn’t in Turkey.
The Metro, (ok yawn away) says PC will cost £10m
Actually what this all comes down to is a build up by the press in which it is said we are “Three players short of challenging Chelsea”. Or did I mention that already.
In one sense this is true, but only in the sense that we didn’t have complete cover for the billions of injuries we got at the start of the season. So what we need are better and more back ups, not old timers.
Arsenal’s growing maturity means Mr W does not need to embark on a major spending spree to challenge Chelsea for the title next season. We have a team that played wonderfully through most of this year, and just tailed off a little in the build up to the FA Cup Final and when it was clear we were ok for third, but with no chance of first.
In one very real sense we gained a player at the end of the season who we hadn’t had most of the time: Theo Walcott. No one that we want to keep has made noises about running away in the fashion of RVP, Sagna, Clichy, Nasri and the like. And although we have rarely seen him, we have another centre back in Gabriel, and a further possible in Chambers who is going to play centre back when we get him back from the under 21s.
Jack Wilshere made an interesting comment recently about just how long the core of the team has been together – reflecting the step by step approach of Wenger which of course gives the squad a much stronger point to start from each year.
The ideal situation indeed is to buy players this year, who then get introduced slowly through the year. I know both Ozil and Alexis made an immediate impact, and of course you can’t buy a £35m player and not play him, but the introduction of Gabriel stage by stage is much better overall.
The reality is that money doesn’t equal performance, for if it did Coquelin would be in the fourth division and Ballotelli would be quite good.
But still, day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day we get, “The three most obvious positions where Arsenal require an upgrade are goalkeeper, centre-forward and defensive midfielder. In goal Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina have had too many jittery and unreliable moments. Up top, on days when Olivier Giroud has strained to make an impression, the need for an alternative who can help him or be a more predatory option looks obvious. In the midfield heartland Wenger’s admiration for Morgan Schneiderlin, who can do the work of a Francis Coquelin and more, is well known.”
That was Amy Lawrence who also suggested our top target is Petr Cech but we might end up with Asmir Begovic of Stoke.
Looking back to last year we actually got two of the best deals of the summer:
- Alexis Sanchez £35m
- David Ospina £3m (the keeper with the best win ratio in the PL)
But what about attempts to steal our players? Surely there must be some of those around…
The Welsh manager, a Mr C Coleman, said Aaron Ramsey is good enough to play for Barcelona, and the Independent said that Barcelona are putting in a bid for him, even though they are banned from buying anyone. (Actually they didn’t mention the ban – maybe they forgot).
Personally I love our current team, and would be best pleased to see another three or four players arrive who are back ups to the current team in case of injury, plus another two players from the youth system come through as Bellerin did this year. No mucking about with loans, straight into the squad.
Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910