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Why no one signed top defenders this summer

I have reported regularly on how the Daily Telegraph, a right wing English newspaper, has been following up on Untold Arsenal stories.   Now they have gone even further and added a point that goes a bit beyond where we went.  And it seems highly relevant.

So, they’ve picked up on Walter’s articles about the decline of Premier League clubs in the Champions League, with the comment, “England’s four representatives have won five of their 16 group stage matches. For the world’s richest league this is a disturbing ratio.”

Then they lose their way a little by focussing on poor purchases:

” In Spain, Real Madrid and Barcelona target proven individual world-class talent to add to a strong base. In England, Spurs attempt to replace Gareth Bale with seven mid-ranking names and Liverpool fill the void left by Luis Suarez by gambling on quantity rather than quality. At £20m, Lazar Markovic is less laser than flickering candle.”

That’s not quite right because both clubs really wanted to make a couple of big name signings – Liverpool’s manager spoke openly about it and said he would not be buying quantity but one or two top players.

And it is also not quite right, because it ignores Barcelona’s long running expedient of child trafficking and Real Mad’s financial activities with the city council which are being examined in depth by Uefa.  But then, I’m back with them…

“In panic mode, United signed Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria, adding only Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo (after Luke Shaw) to a defensive unit coming out of the Rio Ferdinand-Nemanja Vidic era.

“The big clubs spend big and indiscriminately simply because they can. They gamble in the £10m-£30m range, mostly on forwards and midfielders, few of whom seem to see themselves as parts of an 11-man organism, attacking and defending as one.”

And now the killer point…

“No Premier League behemoth can say they have bought major defensive ballast, or supplemented individual world-class talent to the back line. City signed Eliaquim Mangala but after a bright start he developed culture shock. The less glamorous clubs can now see that Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal and United are no longer hard to score against.”

Now many people add to this the comment, why did we not keep Vermaelen?  The answer is that there was something wrong with Thomas.   He has got fit again, and he did play for Barcelona B against Indonesia Under 19s, and scored a goal, but when I last looked he hadn’t actually played for their first team.

So why did Barcelona take him?   Why were Man U desperate to have him?  Because there is a huge shortage of top defenders.

We know that Mr Wenger has spoken of the fact that everyone was looking for defenders in the summer, and couldn’t find them.   There are some there of course, but as I’ve said so many times before they have to want to leave, the club has to want to sell, the agent has to agree, and the price has to be reasonable.  If any of those are missing it all falls apart.

Of course there are some examples of clubs buying great high profile defenders but the clubs that have them don’t want to let them go, because they too know there is a shortage of these great high class defenders.

In the past we’ve been able to overcome this by bringing in lesser known players from overseas, letting them develop in the team, and then see them as great defenders.  Koscielny was an obvious example – he came to us after something like 35 league games with Lorient – and he came to us and got a lot of criticism but grew into a great player.

Now there are no Koscielny’s lurking around and the cry is “spend the fucking money”.  He actually cost £8.45m.

And that’s the point.  There is a shortage of players at the very top level, and now there is difficulty getting players who look as if they could come through from a more moderate level.  So everyone is buying anyone who might be able to play defensively, and finding that the results are not so good.

The stories in today’s press seem to be all about fans deriding their clubs’ managers and booing their team.  There is an interview with Adebayor reflecting on what it is like to have Tottenham fans booing their team at home all the time.  There is apparently huge criticism of Rodgers at Liverpool, and much of this season has been taken up with pictures of what Newcastle supporters think about their manager.

It is the new sport, but there’s another question: does it do any good?  Does changing managers actually help?   There is certainly very little sign of it.  Does booing your own team at home help?   No, I’ve never seen that be helpful.   Does creating something like the AAA and forming an alliance with the press actually help?   I think not – it doesn’t make the players feel good and for every Alexis who believes in the manager there is another who says, “I’m not going there just to be abused.”

Indeed the problem is worse than that, for I get the feeling (and of course I can’t prove it, it is just comments made here and there) that not only is there a shortage of players but a lot of top players won’t come to England now not just because of the over critical attitude of supporters, but also the highly intrusive media.  (You’ll know perhaps that the way the media behaves in England is not the same as it behaves in the rest of Europe – and certainly some players just say, no, I don’t fancy that).

So my point is that what is missing here there and everywhere, is a fulsome analysis of why the managers act as they do.

The AAA answer, over and over, is because our manager is useless.  Anyone else would be better.  But no, the whole issue is much more complex than that.

I’ve outlined a couple of reasons why some clubs are struggling this season with defences.  But there are of course many other side issues.  Let me give you one example: Sagna.  We wanted to hold onto him, and he wanted to go.  Man C took him, pay him, and…  last time I looked he had played in 3 league games and two league cup games this season.   In short Man C took him to scupper our situation.  That’s how it goes now.

If you really believe that if Arsenal had had another manager this summer we would not only have bought the players we did but also a couple more top quality defenders, then fine, hold onto that belief.   But I’ll still say, it takes the manager, the player and the agent to agree that the player can leave, and in a time of shortage, only desperate clubs allow players to go.  What’s more, once a player can go, if he is a defender he has a huge choice of where to go, and in my view, increasingly the choice to avoid the English media, and avoid English support.

67 comments to Why no one signed top defenders this summer

  • DR

    I agree, in general; there is a shortage of top, top CBs. Pretty sure there are ones available that would improve on Monreal at CB though, which is the pertinent point to us. Then again, I’d go as far as to say we’re playing a better CB than Monrael at RB right now whilst having a youngster that was largely impressive at RB in the few games he’s played. I really don’t understand that.

  • andy1886

    As it happens that’s only one side of the coin, the other side is that we let a number of defensive options go that we could have held onto if no replacements were available. Miguel, Djourou, Jenkinson to name three. Of those I would have kept Jenks, that was an odd one. Djourou wasn’t the greatest but would’ve been a better 3rd choice option than Monreal for sure. Miguel I will say didn’t impress me, but still better than no replacement at all. I do have high hopes for Hayden, I hope he gets fit soon and has a chance to play a few first team games before January, then we might know if he has a chance to make the grade. I like what I’ve seen of Bellerin which I hope will free up Chambers to play CD where I think he looks best suited. So perhaps if CD’s were hard to find we should have managed our internal resources better?

  • apo Armani

    So many prudent and accurate points!!!

  • apo Armani

    Djourou??? Miguel??? OMG!!!

  • AdrianInDub

    Excellent post and I agree, I think Man U’s current situation highlights your point exactly.

  • andy1886

    Apo, as I said I’m not Djourou’s biggest fan but he did have some talent. For example Arsenal didn’t lose a single league game in which Djourou played in 2010/11 (he played 20 times and then got injured at OT in March). He also had some good performances in the CL.

  • Waz

    fait enough, agree there is a shortage of supply. Although I’m concerned our academy struggles to produce central defenders but that’s a minor aside.

    What’s the excuse them for not signing a sufficient midfielder to help us better defend as a team and provide better cover in the middle of the park? That is an area where there is much more availability

  • Usama

    Signing a central defender is indeed totally different to other positional signings.

    Just like Tony mentioned Kosicenly was a regular in the Lorient side played 35 of 38 possible league games, and according to Wenger showed consistency throughout the season at the top level of French football and was of the right age 23-26 to reach maximum to potential with better trainning facilities.

    Same was the case with the signing of Mertesacker (Starter in the German National Team, Captain of Werder Bremen, extremely consistent throughout German League at an age of 27.

    and most of all these transfers involved the Agreement of both the clubs to negotiate about the transfer of the player and the decision of the player to leave and join the other club as well.

    Now just like Tony and Wenger has been mentioning throughout that defenders like that are
    1.hard to find
    2.hard to negotiate
    3.do the player wants to leave ?
    4.does the player even wants to join that club ?
    …. and more things that only the clubs know.

  • john

    I always thought Djourou was a good player, but I recall that he was one of those who were routinely and disrespectfully referred to as dead-wood, to be shifted off the pay-roll. When it suits the critics, they blame the club for allowing him to leave!

    No doubt Arsene will be criticised for letting Squillaci leave.

    Being a target for regular criticism by some Arsenal “fans” does not signify that a player is no good. The list includes Aaron, Theo, Jack, Flamini (first time round), Sczcesny, Fabianski, Giroud, Gervinho, Arteta, Ozil, Santi, even RVP at one stage. Don’t be surprised if Sanchez has an off-day and becomes a target.

    On a historical note: Jon Sammels, a talented member of the 71 Double squad, was driven out of the club by the booing of “fans” who destroyed his confidence. Their successors are still around.

  • Blaisehayest

    The problem with Djourou I think is he didn’t want to be here. Talk about being booed off a team. Something tells me he had a much easier time in Germany. Two points I often see time and time are buy someone, anyone followed by criticism of previous “dead wood” signings like Squillaci and Silvestre. It’s very hard to get it right especially when you can’t just throw money at the problem (see PS & Luiz).

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think one of the reasons why no real defenders moved in the transfer window is the strange story of Luiz from Chelsea to PSG for a rumoured 50M. 50M. 50M….. I repeat… 50M.
    Not even Kompany is worth that much and he is 10 times better than Luiz.

    This however had a side effect. Other teams dreamed of winning the jackpot with selling defenders and I think asked unreasonable prices. And of course nobody wanted to pay up such amounts for a defender.
    Paying 50M for Luiz….. I still cannot get over it and it makes me think that there is more than the eye can see involved in this transfer. But I don’t know what to be honest. But to me it smells…. and not to some Paris eau de parfum…

  • WalterBroeckx

    It also always make me laugh that people dare to say we should have hold on to him after years and years the AAA shouting that he is a useless defender and was in the range of Squilacci and Silvestre.

  • WalterBroeckx

    And finally the sentence: he should have got someone after selling Vermaelen. Especially after selling Vermaelen.
    For your information: Vermaelen has been injured the last 3 seasons at Arsenal sitting more time in the treatment room than being able to play. In fact we didn’t lose a fit player at all. We lost an injured player who continues his injury career at Barcelona.
    And as I have talked with Thomas and his parents in person in the past I feel sorry for him. But even if we would have held on to him he would have been able to play not even 90 minutes.

  • john

    I guess the 50 million fee paid was a device to help Chelsea off-set its losses for the sake of appearing to comply with FFP.

    The reciprocal benefit for PSG may prove hard to find

  • Dex

    We have never replaced Gilberto and are still suffering as a consequence. Hopefully in January we will get Debuchy and Koscielny back and make a transfer or two so we can make decent fist of finishing fourth, instead of having to fight til the last game.

  • Dex

    Walter

    Wenger stated he would sign a replacement if TV left. (we had already signed Chambers when he said this BTW).

  • WalterBroeckx

    Yes I know Dex. He could have asked Silvestre maybe? Don’t know if Squilacci is still playing to be honest.

    The point is I had it from good reliable sources that there would be no more of those from now on. Not even if the target they had in mind was not available. And that was not the word from the manager as I don’t know him in person. But that was the word from one of the top persons at our club who said this to me.
    So it would be the target or do it with internal solutions like promoting youngsters. Alas one of those getting an injury himself was not in the plans. Hayden I mean.

  • WalterBroeckx

    John,
    I think we will see that in a next transfer window or account year….

  • andy1886

    Walter, if you can quote me stating that Djourou was as bad as Squid or Silvestre please publish it. The only criteria required right now is ‘better than Monreal’ (a left back). See earlier, my description is an honest appraisal in that he isn’t the greatest obviously, but clearly a better alternative to what we have. Equally if we had kept Jenkinson then we could play Chambers next to Mert without having to resort to having two rookies in the back four. And you cannot lay the blame with Monreal who simply doesn’t have the physique to play the role effectively (too small, not robust enough). I’m sure that you recall that Monreal did play a game or two at CB preseason so you can’t say that AW hadn’t already considered that a viable option.

  • andy1886

    Walter, I like Hayden, think he’s a good prospect and I hope that if he gets fit in time AW will have the faith to play him instead of Monreal. If a youngster cannot get a game when we are short in position when can he?

  • Gunner6

    Again hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    TV out, CC in. Defender sorted. Hayden as no. 4 with Monreal a potential no. 5. I couldn’t see a defender CB shortage if there was one when the season started.

    So those so called experts now say Wenger is clueless when looking at the start of the start of the season, he has been anything but.

    As for moving CC to CB with HB playing right back, would those “experts” castigate HB if he fails to track an opposition player and a goal is conceded? HB is quick but his positioning is still a little naive at times. So who is to say he wouldn’t make the same mistakes CC made in the last 2 games?

    Wenger is playing experience because it is a fragile time for Arsenal. Some so called supporters have been unforgiving to experienced players who can handle criticisms, what more an yound inexperienced player?

  • Pat

    TV was injured playing in England – like so many others. And probably again irresponsible refereeing was a factor.

    Tony, I was very amused to see Adebayor shooting his mouth off again in the Daily Telegraph. Glad it’s not our team he’s disrupting.

    And finally, hidden in another Daily Telegraph article, an interview with Jurgen Klinsmann, there were several very complimentary paragraphs about Arsene Wenger from Klinsmann himself. Didn’t get any headlines in the paper but well worth a read.

    Just to put the record straight, the Daily Telegraph is right wing (like nearly all the rest of the British press), but it doesn’t mean everybody who reads it is.

  • Blaisehayest

    “better than Monreal” quickly becomes the next dead wood. Giving someone a multiyear deal based on short term need is something we can’t afford to do.

  • andy1886

    ‘6’ not sure where it becomes hindsight when AW made a public statement that if TV was sold we would have to find a replacement. That was after Chambers has already signed so no AW didn’t consider Calum a replacement for TV (unless you know better than the manager?).

    Blaise, when they are already at the club then we’re not adding deadwood are we? Don’t sell or release players until you have a replacement is a sensible strategy is it not?

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    The point is, a good result is like a good food on the table for the hungry ones to eat and be filled. So, when Arsenal does win regularly, the fans will also continue to have good food regular on the table to eat and be satisfy. And when Arsenal draw, there will be less food on the table for the her fans to eat. But they will manage the little food available. Having toiled up and down to the Emirates Stadium and to other away grounds, and Arsenal are seen about to lose. And sensing there may be no food on the table for them to eat to drive away hunger and have succour. They will start growing impatient. And later become hungry with anger as Arsenal eventually failed to win. And it has been said that, a hungry man is a mad man. And the issue could become severe if they found out that, there was actually food available in the store but was refused cooked. At Swansea, Monreal is suspects at CB and Chambers is also suspects at RB but could be trusted at CB. Bellerin better at RB was rendered redundant on the bench. And the hungry fans seeing they were deliberately denied food to eat become angry and starts raining abuses on their Chef. But I have good news for the AWMG – (Anti Wenger Must Go) and the AAA. I have been made to understand by the Chef who was briefing me this evening that, He has decided to put plenty of the fans choice of food on the table for them to eat after Man Utd have left the Emirates Stadium on Sat 22nd Nov 2014. However, I have also been briefed to inform all the AWMG and the AAA not make any complaint after serving them their choice of food as the Chef can not guaranteed their satisfactions.

  • JohnShaft

    WalterBroeckx at 7:49 pm

    Interesting your inside information and I would agree with that policy rather than handing a Silvestre a 3 year contract. We should have never let Jenks go though, particularly with Chambers identified as 3rd choice CB. Delighted to see Jenks showing what he can do in the PL though, very impressive.

    Regarding Djourou, he was arguably our best defender during the 2010/11 season when Vermaelan was out injured. Losing his place to Per and his run in the team playing fullback in 2011/12-the season when we had our 4 fullbacks out injured at the same time, cost him his Arsenal career

  • apo Armani

    ”I think he needs Matic from Chelsea, he’d be the perfect player to have just sit in front of the back four and that’s what he’s got to look at.

    “That’s what he’s got to look at, he’s got to look at that defensive midfielder, he’s got to look at another centre half and buy defensive players now and good characters as well who can really get into players.

    “I used to play in front of Lee Dixon and Tony Adams and when we were up against it they would put you in positions, exactly where they wanted you to be.

    “That’s where they’ve got to get better.” RAY PARLOUR.

    I guess he has THE KNOW-HOW to go and get that type of player/s…and for sure for less then 50M each!! Way to go Ray! 🙂 🙂

  • Gunner6

    @andy

    The point is, with CC coming in, selling TV wasn’t detrimental. Besides, as some mentioned previously, TV have been injury prone for the last few seasons. Whether Wenger had intended to use CC so much so soon, we will never know. But it would be reasonable to think that with CC, Hayden and stop gap Monreal means we go into the season with a good mix of experienced and young defenders.

    On the right, we had Debuchy and HB. Left Gibbs and Monreal. So all defensive positions are well covered. Having cover means he did plan for any eventuality. But I bet even the most pessimistic supporter wouldn’t have thought about how bad our defensive injuries would become. It is usually our midfielders or strikers.

    Your comment at 755, Hayden is currently injured. So your put down comment discredits your view about AW.

  • apo Armani

    All these ex-Gunners who make it seem so easy to just “go out and get” (like going to the corner store) THE PLAYERS, should be employed by AFC, to do just that – GO OUT AND GET – They know how to do it…no one else does ehhh!

  • andy1886

    ‘6’ Sorry, but Nacho isn’t really a great option. And Arsene prefers to play Chambers at RB anyway so that kind of makes your suggestion that he was cover at CD contrary to the fact. As for your last point please do try to stop manufacturing accusations of a put down, if you re-read that post I said “I hope that if he gets fit in time”, so yes I know he is injured and am not suggesting that Arsene left him out for any other reason, I just hope Arsene gives him a shot when he gets back. Is that really so controversial?

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    The point is, a good result is like a good food on the table for the hungry ones to eat and be filled. So, when Arsenal does win regularly, the fans will also continue to have good food regular on the table to eat and be satisfy. And when Arsenal draw, there will be less food on the table for her fans to eat and be properly satisfied. But they will manage the little food available to them to eat. Having toiled up and down to the Emirates Stadium and to other away grounds, and Arsenal are seen about to lose. And sensing there may be no food on the table for them to eat to drive away hunger and have succour. They will start growing impatient. And later become hungry with anger as Arsenal eventually failed to win. And it has been said that, a hungry man is a mad man. And the issue could become severe as they found out that, there was actually food available in the store but was refused cooked. At Swansea, Monreal is suspects at CB and Chambers is also suspects at RB but could be trusted at CB. Bellerin better at RB was rendered redundant on the bench. And the hungry fans seeing they were deliberately denied food to eat become angry and starts raining abuses on their Chef. But I have good news for the AWMG – (Anti Wenger Must Go) and the AAA. I have been made to understand by the Chef who was briefing me this evening that, He has decided to put plenty of the fans choice of food on the table for them to eat after Man Utd have left the Emirates Stadium on Sat 22nd Nov 2014. However, I have also been briefed to inform all the AWMG and the AAA not make any complaint after serving them their choice of food as the Chef cannot guaranteed their satisfactions.

  • Mandy Dodd

    There were defenders available, Liverpool signed one for about 20mil, but do have to mention, Lovren has been complete pants so far!

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    The point is, a good result is like a good food on the table for the hungry ones to eat and be filled. So, when Arsenal does win regularly, the fans will also continue to have good food regular on the table to eat and be satisfy. And when Arsenal draw, there will be less food on the table for her fans to eat and be properly satisfied. But they will manage the little food made available for them. Having toiled up and down to the Emirates Stadium and to other away grounds, and Arsenal are seen about to lose. And sensing there may be no food on the table for them to eat to drive away hunger and have succour. They will start growing impatient. And later become hungry with anger as Arsenal eventually failed to win. And it has been said that, a hungry man is a mad man. And the issue could become severe as they found out that, there was actually food available in the store but was refused cooked. At Swansea, Monreal is suspects at CB and Chambers is also suspects at RB but could be trusted at CB. Bellerin better at RB was rendered redundant on the bench. And the hungry fans seeing they were deliberately denied food to eat became angry and started raining abuses on their Chef. But I have good news for the AWMG – (Anti Wenger Must Go) and the AAA. I have been made to understand by the Chef who was briefing me this evening that, He has decided to put plenty of the fans choice of food on the table for them to eat and be satisfied after Man Utd have left the Emirates Stadium on Sat 22nd Nov 2014. However, I have also been briefed to inform all the AWMG and the AAA not make any complaint after serving them their choice of food as the Chef cannot guaranteed their satisfactions.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    The point is, a good result is like a good food on the table for the hungry ones to eat and be filled. So, when Arsenal does win regularly, the fans will also continue to have good food regular on the table to eat and be satisfy. And when Arsenal draw, there will be less food on the table for her fans to eat and be properly satisfied. But they will manage the little food made available for them. Having toiled up and down to the Emirates Stadium and to other away grounds, and Arsenal are seen about to lose. And sensing there may be no food on the table for them to eat to drive away hunger and have succour. They will start growing impatient. And later become hungry with anger as Arsenal eventually failed to win. And it has been said that, a hungry man is a mad man. And the issue could become severe as they found out that, there was actually food available in the store but was refused cooked. At Swansea, Monreal is suspects at CB and Chambers is also suspects at RB but could be trusted at CB. Bellerin better at RB was rendered redundant on the bench. And the hungry fans seeing they were deliberately denied food to eat became angry and started raining abuses on their Chef. But I have good news for the AWMG – (Anti Wenger Must Go) and the AAA. I have been made to understand by the Chef who was briefing me this evening that, He has decided to put plenty of the fans choice of food on the table for them to eat and be satisfied after Man Utd have left the Emirates Stadium on Sat 22nd Nov 2014. However, I have also been briefed to inform all the AWMG and the AAA not make any complaint after serving them their choice of food as the Chef cannot give any guarantee they will be satisfied.

  • Gunner6

    CC @ right back may be due to a number of circumstances. Who knows why CC is there rather than HB or even NM. Maybe NM is desperately hopeless as a RB. Or could it possibly be CC played there for Soton. Could be that HB is still raw and what we need now are experienced players to pull us through.

    The argument should be at the point when the season started because once the season starts, who knows what injury can hit a team. To me, at the start, there are sufficient players available in every position. To me, AW has done his homework.

    As for Hayden, I apologise as I missed the when he is fit part.

  • andy1886

    Hangeland was also available on a free this summer, okay as back up and you may have noticed him scoring against us on the opening day for Palace. Signed for them on a one year deal btw so not exactly deadwood who would have hung around for several years either.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Remember Djourou having a great game once in Barca

  • Gunner6

    Playing devil’s advocate re Hangeland.

    Would he want to come to Arse and sit on the bench or CP with regular football?
    Salary – would he get as much as at Arse or CP?

    Who knows why we didn’t (or maybe we did) bid for him.

  • andy1886

    No problem ‘6’, actually I want Arsene to play CC next to Mert and HB at RB but my assumption is that he doesn’t want two rookies in the back four in which he has a point. I think that Nacho is a decent LB and needed cover for that position as we know Gibbs has had many injury problems over the years. I’m in the school that believes players should play in their natural position unless there is no other alternative, a misfortune for a senior pro is a also an opportunity for one of our youngsters. Remember that we nearly sold Cole and he only got a starting spot when Sylvinho was found to have an iffy passport. Would anyone have predicted he’d become one of the best LB’s in the world? You never know unless you give them a chance.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    The point is, a good result is like a good food on the table for the hungry ones to eat and be filled. So, when Arsenal does win regularly, the fans will also continue to have good food regularly on the table to eat and be satisfy. And when Arsenal draw, there will be less food on the table for her fans to eat and be properly satisfied. But they will manage the little food made available for them. Having toiled up and down to the Emirates Stadium and to other away grounds, and Arsenal are seen about to lose. And sensing there may be no food on the table for them to eat to drive away hunger and have succour. They will start growing impatient. And later become hungry with anger as Arsenal eventually failed to win. And it has been said that, a hungry man is a mad man. And the issue could become severe as they found out that, there was actually food available in the store but was refused cooked. At Swansea, Monreal is suspects at CB and Chambers is also suspects at RB but could be trusted at CB. Bellerin better at RB was rendered redundant on the bench. And the hungry fans seeing they were deliberately denied food to eat became angry and started raining abuses on their Chef. But I have good news for the AWMG – (Anti Wenger Must Go) and the AAA. I have been made to understand by the Chef who was briefing me this evening that, He has decided to put plenty of the fans choice of food on the table for them to eat and be satisfied after Man Utd have left the Emirates Stadium on Sat 22nd Nov 2014. However, I have also been briefed to inform all the AWMG and the AAA not to make any complaint after serving them their choice of food as the Chef cannot give any guarantee they will be satisfied.

  • andy1886

    ‘6’ As he’d be our only senior cover at CD I suspect he’d know that he’d get a few games, and the lure of a possible CL appearance at the end of his career would probably swing it. I don’t think we’d have trouble matching CP’s offer either, after all it was a one season deal. One possibility is that AW had other options that didn’t work out and we ran out of time to find an alternative. We have a record of taking things to the wire and sometimes that ends up biting you in the backside.

  • andy1886

    Samuel, I think that we’ve got the message now 😉

  • Gunner6

    @andy
    I believe in that too i.e. play to your strengths, at least for defensive positions. But at this point in time, we don’t have sufficient mix of experience and caliber players. Also, with some supporters having a go at players who don’t perform (or perceive not to be performing) is it any wonder why AW is not risking young players at this moment in time? Maybe a more positive and supportive atmosphere may change his thinking?

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    The point is, a good result is like a good food on the table for the hungry ones to eat and be filled. So, when Arsenal does win regularly, the fans will also continue to have good food regularly on the table to eat and be satisfied. And when Arsenal draw, there will be less food on the table for her fans to eat and be properly satisfied. But they will manage the little food made available for them. Having toiled up and down to the Emirates Stadium and to other away grounds, and Arsenal are being seen about to lose. And sensing there may be no food on the table for them to eat to drive away hunger and be cheerful. They started to grow impatient. And later become hungry with anger as Arsenal eventually failed to win. And it has been said that, a hungry man is a mad man. And the issue was made worse as they found out that, there was actually some food available in the store but was refused cooked. At Swansea, Monreal is suspects at CB and Chambers is also suspects at RB but could be trusted at CB. Bellerin better at RB was rendered redundant on the bench. And the hungry fans seeing they were deliberately being denied food to eat, became angry and started raining abuses on their Chef. But I have good news for the AWMG – (Anti Wenger Must Go) and the AAA. I have been made to understand by the Chef who was briefing me this evening, that for once, He has decided to put plenty of the fans choiced food on the table for them to eat and probably become satisfied after Man Utd have left the Emirates Stadium on Sat 22nd Nov 2014. However, I have also been briefed to inform all the AWMG and the AAA not to make any complaint after being served their choiced food as the Chef cannot give any guarantee they will be satisfied with it there after.

  • andy1886

    ‘6’ And there lies the problem going forward (I hate that term, what other way can you go?). If Chambers has another difficult game against DiMaria or Mata next time out how will that impact on him long term either in his confidence or in the fans’ confidence in him? So Arsene has to decide if he sticks with the present line up, pulls Chambers out of the firing line completely, or offers him a chance next to Merte. Tough decision.

  • john

    We’ve never replaced Kenny Sansom or Liam Brady.

  • When I wrote the piece I was meaning to include defensive midfielders in the list of players in short supply. I think the club knows who it wants and hopes of getting him in January, but the same problems apply.

    Why didn’t we buy more? Because no one knew that we would have so many injuries in that department, and top players won’t come and play to sit on the bench all the time.

    A time capsule saying, “hey you will lose two key players from the back four, and Arteta” would have been useful in persuading some of them to sign for us.

    I wonder how Sagna feels knowing how many games he would have played for us – and seeing how rarely he plays for Man C. That’s the problem none of us can see the future.

  • Mandy Dodd

    If some of the latest press reports are to believe, the backroom staff have lost,faith in wenger, players want out and it’s all about to come tumbling down. In the Telegraph no less. Doom, doom, and more,doom.

  • Mandy Dodd

    A strange season, the so called clubs in crisis, us, Liverpool, spuds, Mancs, City not looking too great either are amongst the attacking teams in the league. There is an arguement to suggest that the art of defending is dying, but something is preventing the attacking clubs from doing so well, yet defensive teams seem on the up…….for now…..

  • Jammy G

    Ive got my hopes set on the German CB Antonio Rüdiger. Hes young, apparently Stuttgart are willing to sell and best of all; he says he is a Gooner! Ive seen the price 12mil being mentioned, so its easily within our price range.

    Any thoughts on Rüdiger?

  • Will

    Didn’t we sell a top class centre back?

  • Micheal Ram

    I would like to share my knowledge and experience on defenders. I can bravely tell you it takes more time, talent, practice and courage to become a defender than an attacker. Young boys as naturally attracted to the glamour and bliss of an attacker. The ‘less talented’, ‘less popular’ and ‘less show-boat’ usually thrown into that defensive line. But this is not logic because a team can afford an attacker to make mistakes or to miss chances to score as they are allowed again and again for that chances. And they will become instant heroes even if they converted one out of 30 chances. Not for a defender. The stakes are higher. One mistake, you are crucified, spat at and humiliated. The notion of big size boys should defenders is not logic too because it takes a quicker feet and mind to tackle than to shot or pass. Franco Baresi, Daniel Pasarella, Ronald Keoman, Charles Puyol, Fabio Cannavaro, Tiago Silva and Lothar Matthaus comes to my mind. None of these guys were physical specimens. They were the brains of their respective team. These legends gone through worst possible lessons of defending when they were young, but mentally strong to make it big time. Now the boys football scenario is being copied to modern football. Irresponsible management, thuggish manager, spoiled footballers and the worst culprits, the immature and childish football fans. With such environment, no defender will learn and survive without any damage done. No wonder we have so-called football pundits slagging off Arsenal because they have no idea on what situation, pressure or environment Arsenal players are playing. Paul Merson and Ian Wright were not defenders, they were showboats. No pressure and no responsibilities. We are lucky because such environment does not exist in Arsenal FC under Arsene Wenger. No, I’m not talking about Arsenal Universe. Kos would not be the defender coveted by Pep himself if proper chances were not given at Arsenal. And I would like the football purist to keep an eye on Marquinhos of PSG as I feel he is the next great defensive icon.

  • François

    Very good analysis!
    I also feel we ought to separate the good defender for top teams and good defender for lower team.
    As much as we can easily see the goalkeepers need different qualities playing for a top team than other.
    As for the goalkeepers case I always felt bad for Foster not to make it in United. Now he plays for west Bron and does a great job.
    It’s unlikely he’ll ever gonna play for a really top team again because they are asking for different kind of play.
    I feel for CB we have the same problem.
    In top teams, we ask the CB to play the ball, to make good passes. That’s, IMHO, why Macherano / Pique played CB for Barcelona.
    They would probably be a mess in lower league teams as CB, but in a team having lot of possession, it makes sense.µ
    Now, for any other position, it’s not as much the case. For CF/CM/OM/LWF/RWB/LB/RB the evolution through lower league teams to top teams will be more homogenous.
    I think Wenger wants to create a total football kind of team, and it is not going through buying Haageland (All respect to him, I think he is a top CB, but I don’t feel he has the quality to make it in a top team).
    AW needs sombody who is a good CB and good at total football. How do you get that? Paying 50 M (Luis)? Buying a good RB and teach him the job (CC)? Gamble on a 2nd French league(Kos)?Waiting for the right person to be available?
    Using a LB who is believed to be clever enough to make the switch?
    The possibilities are there but they are never to be praised by anybody because this difference of requirements are never mentioned.

    We have been bitten back badly, I feel, mostly because we didn’t manage to have enough possession, control the game and therefore ask to our CB the quality of CBs from lower league teams.
    In which even Per is not that good with. Remember when Germany had bad games with controlling the ball? Per was not on the pitch for a reason.

  • bob mac

    Good and relevant article.

    Pity that the opinions of most fans is a total reflection of what they read and hear, ie media based.

    We all realise what a bunch of plonkers the media employ, so why oh why do we allow their influence and observationns to over-ride our own.

    This is the sole cause of fan unrest.

  • Menace

    @MichaelRam – well said. Defenders are the unsung heroes in the team.
    Whatever has been said doesn’t hide the fact that Debuchy was not expected to be out injured. It is now obvious that Chelsea want Alexis out and Swansea want Cazorla out judging by the leg breaking tackles.

    Gilberto was an incredible player in that he broke up attacks and transitioned play without fuss. It led to many AAA wanting him out. He appeared to be useless but in reality he was a pivot Arsenal relied on to change direction of play.

    Wenger knows how many defensive players he has but even he never expected to find Debuchy injured at the same time as Kos. The loss to Swansea is no big deal. We can expect better in the next game. Our players must be hurting & need our support more than ever.

  • khitb77

    The simple truth is that we all knew that defensive injuries would happen at some point during the season, considering Gibbs’ track record I’m amazed he’s played as many games as he has.

    Arsenal “allegedly” are a club with aspirations of not just challenging but winning the Premier League, yet we went into the start of the season with Gibbs, Monreal, Koscielny, Mertesacker and Debuchy as experienced defenders. That’s 5 experienced defenders! Calum Chambers is a fine prospect, but he was not expected to play week in week out at this stage of his development; his development that is being hampered by playing at right back.

    Letting Carl Jenkinson go on loan looked like a very bad decision to me when no Vermaelen replacement was signed, but not as bad as leaving him at West Ham while our defensive crisis has unfolded in front of our eyes.

    Can you imagine if Isaac Hayden and Hector Bellerin had to be called upon to form a defence with Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal, if we suffered any further injuries? Or if Flamini or Ramsey had to fill in as full backs?

    Talk of there not being enough top class centre backs out there may have SOME truth to it, but we could have signed any number of experienced Premier League defenders, some of whom played at the World Cup (Ron Vlaar, Winston Reid or Curtis Davies would have been a marked improvement to where we find ourselves now), if we were willing to pay the money the current club wanted. We have to accept that if we are to challenge for honours we need strength in depth, we cannot hope to muddle through and keep our fingers crossed that either one of our only two, first team experienced defenders doesn’t suffer from a long term injury… oh wait!

    We only need look at Chelsea for an example of how sensible planning can pay dividends. Mourinho (as much as I loathe the man) identified weaknesses in his squad and signed players accordingly, now Chelsea are sitting pretty. I’m not even get into the whole Fabregas or Ozil thing right now.

    To give Wenger credit he did sign Alexis, who is a wonderful player. Welbeck was a good (but last minute panic) signing and one who was desperately needed, given Giroud’s injury. Yet apparently if Wenger had been in the country on transfer deadline day we wouldn’t have signed him???

    No matter how articulately articles on this site are written, they are regularly blinkered and ultimately deluded, failing to accept that Wenger has year on year made horrific mistakes in not bringing in quality in key areas. Overlooking mistake after mistake and making excuses for him, some of these excuses are so weak that it’s insulting to the intelligence of the reader.

    Nobody can honestly look at the number of basic errors being committed week in week out by our players and say that these couldn’t be worked on and corrected with some proper time spent on the training ground. Also, by having so few defenders to start with this season the few that are fit at the moment risk burning out and suffering muscular injuries because they are being asked to play too many games! You only need look at Gibbs’ injury record to know that he’s going to be approaching the “red line” after the international break.

    What strikes me about this site is that there seems to be a total lack of effort to see his many failings from an open minded perspective. Everything is pro Wenger, as if he can make no mistakes. Every cock up is dismissed out of hand as AAA rubbish, I may be wrong but I suspect that a large number of the regular readers of this site feel that their contrary views somehow elevates them above other Arsenal fans, because you all see the truth, while all the AAA are falling hook line and sinker for all the anti-Arsenal media drivel.

    I might get slated as somehow being anti-Arsenal for expressing my views on this site (as has previously happened) but the last time I checked debate was legal.

    I will happily apologise for my views on the failings of Wenger in the summer if anyone can convince me that it was anything other than a disaster and irresponsible in not signing additional defensive players.

  • Quincy

    Very few teams have more than two good CBs.
    Chelsea have Cahill and Terry, their third choice CB plays at RB, Ivanovich. After that they have to rely on Zouma (who?).
    Man City have Kompany, and many people still aren’t convinced by Demichelis and Mangala.
    Liverpool have Skrtel, and then Sakho, Toure and Lovren, all three of doubtful quality.
    Do Man United even have one good central defender?

    Coming into the season we had Koscielny and Mertesacker, Chambers was third choice, and Monreal and Hayden as 4th/5th. Actually, as you can see, this situation is not unusual, it’s similar to what Chelsea have, except that our third choice CB is our 2nd choice RB, unlike Chelsea where Ivanovich is their first choice RB.

  • Charlie

    Swansea signed one of the best defenders at the World Cup, Federico Fernandez. A World Cup finalist. I for one would’ve been delighted if Arsenal had signed him.

  • hunter13

    hallo, long time reader first time commenting. i guess you people and posa are thelast of themohicans and since i feel the same i might as well join inif you allow.

    i wouldnt say selling vermaellen was the problem…butletting go of sagna who combined versatility, experience, leadership, organisation and isnpiration.

    i would have thought that as a club we would not mind paying him an extra 10-15 grand a week after doing well in commercial and marketing deals. plus he is a club legend who remained loyal to us and performed consistently without causing any problems.

    as for arsenal’s late results..meh… its too early to worry about it. usually we fuck it up in march..this year we do it the other way round.

    eagerly anticipating costa’s collapse and the natural hounding of not having cover in striker department for the gypsy translator …oh they dont do that to chorley moscow do they?

  • hunter13

    khitb77 “We only need look at Chelsea for an example of how sensible planning can pay dividend”

    what sensible planning…they bought a player with permanent hamstring injuries…

    the gypsy is under pressure to win this year and he is begging spain to not use costa and cesc..hehe ..

  • hunter13

    apo Armani
    November 11, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    heheeeeh..just picture merson trying to negotiate with..i dont know..jorge valdano who brought zidanne from juve to madrid..muahaha

  • Limestonegunner

    I agree with Hunter that the loss of Sagna has proven to be far more significant than many expected, not just the needs in the back line due to injuries but experience and leadership. I think failure to offer him a more lucrative contract earlier on in the process led his negotiating with City and so and leaving. A bit more valuing of him would have possibly kept him here.

  • Limestonegunner

    Andy, you are really tearing it up over here. I don’t see much in the way of response to several of your key points.

    I also think that the article above exaggerates the abuse in England and especially at Arsenal of under performing players. I hate to see any booing at the ground but we do not have an especially bad reputation for this despite the effort to make other Arsenal fans the chief culprits in all of the club’s problems. In Italy and Spain, abuse of players by ultras goes way way beyond what we see here. The English media is awful and I’ll grant that the tabloids do not help recruitment at all.

  • Kirman

    Alexis has been an absolute godsend and I really feel sorry for him as he has been carrying the team thus far, I know We have a lot of injuries but even with EVERY player fit and Wenger miraculously discovering good tactics, the first eleven wouldn’t be good enough against the best teams around. EVERY supporter, pundit and player alike knows that Arsenal don’t have a spine strong enough, a defensive midfielder of Khedira standards and a CB of Kompany ilk would make us the team everyone needs to get past but so many years and transfer windows have passed without the main issues being addressed. End of rant, God bless you Alexis.

  • Limestonegunner: Sagna did repeatedly say that he was not going for the money.

  • anicoll5

    You rogue Hunter

  • hunter13

    Hammefffthh !!

    still laughing…