By Walter Broeckx
We are over the half way point of January and I notice some people getting nervous. And yes they are getting nervous about Arsenal not having signed anyone yet. I see again phrases coming up like: spend the f*cking money. And each name we get linked with and as usual there are a lot of names to be linked with they shout: buy him, get him, just pay for it.
And each and every name that gets mentioned is considered to be the ideal player to get us the title. If football only would be that simple…. Just buy one player and the title would be ours? Really….??
That might be true if you would buy a Messi or Ronaldo. Maybe. The latter combining again with Özil might be the answer to all our problems. Not that I see many problems with the players we have of course but that would be a transfer that I would say: okay, this is a league winning buy. But all the others? I don’t know to be honest if they would win us the title.
Am I against buying new players? No. And I never have been against it. But I am not the person to say who we should buy and state as a fact that he would win us the title (apart from Ronaldo for his understanding with Özil and thus slotting in without any problem I think). But I know all too well that Ronaldo (and Messi) are completely impossible to get to Arsenal. For the moment anyway. So no need to dream about it any further.
One of the names that is mentioned is Jackson Martinez who plays for Porto for the moment. The Colombian striker has confessed of being an Arsenal fan since his childhood and if we can believe the media (which is in general not a wise thing to do) has begged Arsenal to make a move for him.
Now I must say that his stats are rather good. In general in his career the 27 year old striker has a scoring average of 1 goal in 2 matches. At Porto this number is even higher over the last two seasons with almost 1 goal in every match.
So on the plus side we see a high goal scoring record and a player who supports Arsenal. On the negative side he cannot play in the champions league and possible 3rd party ownership and the fact Arsenal is staying away from those things as far as they possibly can.
Another player much mentioned is Diego Costa. A Spanish Brazilian, a bit like Eduardo was a Croatian Brazilian and he even has the same looks as Eduardo. He plays for Atletico Madrid for the moment and this season has been scoring lots of goals. But we have to be careful about that goal scoring record because this is the first season that the 25 year old striker can show such good numbers. 19 goals in 17 matches is of course an excellent record. But overall his record is somewhat of 1 goal in every 3 matches. Not bad of course but the numbers of this season cover up that before this season it was 1 goal in 4 matches.
On the plus side we could say (and hope) that he keeps his goal scoring form but it is not certain. On the negative side he can also not play in the champions league and we don’t know if he will continue his goal scoring at the same level as he does in Spain. And his situation with 3rd party ownership is also unclear for me.
Another name that is mentioned more and more is another player who has declared his love for Arsenal before. Julian Draxler the 20 year old German player has said before that Arsenal is one of his favourite clubs. A sign of intelligence of course and as Wenger likes intelligent players he is already having an advantage compared to others.
Now with Draxler the news has spread more and more over the last week. And I do admit that even in Germany the media are linking Draxler more and more with Arsenal. Our BFG talking about Draxler in glowing terms didn’t help to calm things down of course. The English media writing headlines like Wenger wanting to make Draxler the new Van Persie didn’t help either. That last headline left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth to be honest.
Now I know that lots of people have been urging Wenger to pay the £45,000,000 buy out clause for Draxler. If possible today and (time machine technology permitting) yesterday. And then we get again the “Wenger is dithering” phrases out again. The you-know-who is using this to launch another attack on Wenger. Wenger the ditherer and thus has to be replaced is the thinking behind it. They cannot attack him for the way the team has gone through the season so far, so they must use this transfer window to attack him. And Draxler is their ideal target to do this.
But should Wenger have already spent the cash (a considerable amount of cash by the way) on the 20 year old German international? First of all he is not an out and out striker. He plays more as an attacking midfielder. He only scores every 6th match in fact. But as he is only 20 years old this can still improve. We have seen it with Cesc in the past. We have seen it with Ramsey. And we might be seeing it with Jack at the moment. In the season before he had a 1 goal in 3 matches scoring record so much better. So this might be the usual blip that every young player faces after taking the big stage with much noise (and goals and assists).
The fact that he likes the other German players at Arsenal could be helpful of course. But £45m is a lot of money. And there is one big big problem. Draxler has been injured since December and he is far from fit to play. He has a partial tear of a tendon in his thigh and has been visiting the German national team doctor Muller-Wohlfart this month. He can start training again from next week but even then he will have to be very careful in the next 14 days to not have a relapse. He will certainly miss the opening matches on January 26 as he will have to go back to doctor Muller-Wohlfart after that date and then might get the green light to start in full training. And than you will have to add another maybe 14 days to get back to match fitness.
So all in all this would mean that at the best he might be back around half February. If all goes well. So saying that Wenger should pay it now and not dither is a bit unfair I think. I can imagine the same people shouting abuse if Wenger would buy an injured player and if he then would get injured again they would be out in full force saying what an idiot he has been in buying in injured player. So Draxler seems to be a lose/lose thing for Wenger.
And then of course the fact that Draxler also will not be able to play in the champions league is another big negative point. So in my opinion Draxler is a gamble. For the moment. A very expensive gamble. A gamble an oiler club could take. But can a club like Arsenal afford a £45m gamble?
So things are not that easy for the moment and certainly not as simple as just shouting: spend the f*cking money.
Meanwhile I am more interested in how our injured players are. At least the one who should return in the short future. I am more interested in Arteta. And Ramsey. And Monreal. As they are players that have proven to be up the task. And we already have two players back with The Ox and Podolski that we didn’t have in the first half of the season. And with Gnabry stepping up we could say that we have a third player making it in to the first team.
You know what. I will just look at the players we have, care about them, worry about their fitness if they get injured. And whoever is out there and is mentioned…who cares as long as they are not Arsenal players I don’t have to think about them or long for them. I will long for the day that Ramsey is back and hopefully can continue his fine form. That will be much more important than whoever we buy.
Footnote: Mr Wenger today said, on the injuries, “Ramsey and Arteta are both out for this game. Vermaelen too. I personally believe the three will miss the Coventry game as well and will be available after that.”