By Tony Attwood
Santi is out for three months, during which time he will have an operation and now the news has broken the media is packed with speculation, because speculation is what the media does worst (at least in terms of predicting the future).
In essence there are three possibilities over what to do.
a) Buy a replacement this January
b) Bring Jack Wilshere back from the seaside
c) Utilise the many midfielders that we have in a different formation.
It is interesting that the injury to Santi is seen as such a dramatic loss and in need of such immediate fixing, because his purchase was not really rated as being a solution to Arsenal’s problems at the time.
The summer of 2012 was a transfer window in which Arsenal sold Robin van Persie and Alex Song to Man U and Barcelona respectively. In return we bought Santi Cazorla – coincidentally for about the same price as we were given for Alex Song. The media, as I recall it, were not impressed.
But who got the better deal? Santi has played 129 times for us in the league making Arsenal the club he has played for more than any other. Having played 138 times for Arsenal, Song played 39 times for Barcelona, 40 times for West Ham and has now made nine appearances for Rubin Kazan.
But these past matters are details, and the fact that no one recognised just how good Santi was (except that is for Mr Wenger) should never be allowed to stop anyone saying what a disaster it is now he won’t be here any more.
“Whatever happens, it’s clear Arsenal need a plan” shouts the Metro, and their plan is the obvious one: buy a player. Indeed they say they have identified the various players Mr Wenger “must consider to fill Cazorla’s boots”. (No compliments to Mr W for having spotted Santi in the first place, you will notice).
They go for Marco Verratti of PSG, Isco from Real Mad, Hakan Calhanoglu from Bayer Leverkusen and Joe Allen of Stoke, all stout and worthy young men I am sure.
Then in an amusing twist they say “If Wenger is keen to avoid any panic-buying, a temporary deal for a player of Isco’s quality could go a big way to filling the void left behind by the injured Cazorla.” But what would buying a player in January who at best would be replacing Santi for two months be, if not panic buying?
Their next alternative is to bring back Jack although they clearly have no idea if Jack has a contractual get-out clause which would allow him back. If not you can be sure that Mr W will be blamed for not foreseeing the need for Jack to return. The Metro proclaims:
“The England international has looked a lot better for playing regularly in the Premier League this season, and on his day he has that Cazorla-like quality to dictate play from deep with his composure on the ball and the quality of his vision.
“If not this January, then Wilshere surely has a future at Arsenal starting next season, with Cazorla’s injury perhaps set to prove a surprise lifeline for the 24-year-old’s Emirates Stadium career.”
So, despite failing to predict any of this summer’s actual transfer dealings for Arsenal, the Metro is telling us once again what Mr Wenger absolutely must do.
The third alternative is to use a combination of players from those we already have:
That gives us a total of six combinations that could be used:
- Coquelin / Elneny
- Coquelin / Xhama
- Coquelin / Ramsey
- Elneny / Xhaka
- Elneny / Ramsey
- Xhaka / Ramsey
Will one of those combinations really not work? Personally I think several could work, and buying Elneny first and then Xhaka, is all the proof you need that Mr W does see several combinations that could well do the business.
Of course, I don’t really know, as always. But I was most interested to find out today that in seven out of the last 10 seasons, the manager who has won the League Cup has been sacked within a year. That is what the Guardian says anyway. Those winners were
Anyway, its not all about Santi or the league cup today because the Telegraph tells us that it is time to abolish the rule that says that games that kick off at 3pm should not be on TV.
Which is pretty much a re-run of the Untold Arsenal article from January this year “Destroying the game”.
What is exercising the Telegraph is that because of the 3pm no TV rule people in the UK can’t watch Real Mad play the Tax Dodgers. Or if you prefer, the child traffickers play the child traffickers. Which is all a bit odd.
Anyway life is a bit odd, so I guess we should let them get on with it.