Category Archives: Arsenal Players

Clean the Arsenal Stables

Over the last few seasons Arsene Wenger has gathered an assortment of players, paid them good wages and has waited for them to deliver. Unfortunately, they have not delivered the goods nor have they developed into the world class players we thought they would turn into.

For a few transfer windows we have been expecting these players to be sold, but the ridiculous wages, for their limited wages has meant we have not been able to get rid of these deadwood players.  This summer the board and Wenger need to bite the bullet and clear them out.

Out must go goalkeepers Almunia and Fabianski.  How Almunia is still at the club is a miracle, Wenger’s refusal to pay Fulham £3.5M for Schwarzer and Almunia’s crazy wages of £50,000 a week, sees the clown of Pamplona still at the Emirates.  Lukasz Fabianski will leave as he needs to play regular football to enhance his international career.

In defence Sebastien Squillaci, Arsenal’s very own self-destruct button will be released in the summer if not earlier.  Squillaci would have left in the summer, but no club was prepared to pay him £50,000 a week! The other defender to leave must be Johan Djourou. As with his Switzerland colleague, Sendeross, after a promising start, everything he does turns pear shape, it is time for Djourou to find a new circus to perform at.

Mifdfield requires the biggest clearout.  Arshavin has failed to impress after his first six months at the club and every performance nowadays is an embarrassment to everyone. Roscky has never been the same since his injury and his time at the club must now be numbered.  The next player to depart must be Diaby, not because of his inability to perform, but because he spends more than 50% of the season injured.  He will never show his full potential at Arsenal.  Finally Benayoun should not be offered a permanent contract at the club. He provides very little to the squad.

Both our strikers, Chamakh and Park need to leave in the summer.  In the case of Chamakh, Wenger has done a great job in destroying the player by stating he is finding the going tough in the Premier League and then only playing him when we are chasing a game.  Park is a mystery and the cynic in me believes we was bought as a favour to Wenger’s old club or as a marketing ploy to sell Arsenal merchandise to South Korea.

In addition to these players we still have three “world class” players on loan who need to be sold this summer,  Denilson, Vela and Bendtner.

This shows us the mess our transfer policy over several seasons has created.

Summer of Disaster – The Transfer Market

We have a torrid start to the season, let’s not get deluded we have lost 3 games and are now languishing at the bottom of the table.  This is not acceptable for the fans nor is it acceptable for Wenger.  His comments after Saturday clearly show his frustration with what is happening at the moment, more so is his inability to do anything about what is happening.

Our problems have been rumbling under the surface for some time now, we have year after year papered over the cracks, but fundamentally we have been on the downward slide ever since we move to the Emirates. We have sold or lost good players and failed to replace these players, no team can lose the likes of Bergkamp, Henry, Pires, Vieirra, Cole, Campbell and Ljungberg and expect to maintain the high standards set by that team.  Recently we have lost Adebayor, Fabregas, Toure and Nasri and yet again the replacements have not been of the same standard.  As a team we have been getting weaker and weaker every season and this season all of our chickens have come home to roost.

We must ask ourselves how this has happened.  Think back to when we talking about moving to a new stadium, the rationale was that with the increased income streams we will be able to compete with the best teams in Europe.  The reality is that over the last six years we have spent £130M on players and received £185M in sales.  Whilst spending does not always equal success or mean attracting top players, which top stars have we bought in the last 6 years?

There are fundamental problems at the club in terms of attracting players or even in securing our main targets.  This summer was a classic case.  The club identified our weaknesses and decided upon targets to rectify these problems.  What actually happened was a farce.

Every Arsenal fan knew that Fabregas would leave once Barcelona showed any interest in him, we also knew that if Nasri had not signed a new contract by the end of June, then the club had to sell him, that is everyone except Arsene Wenger, who decided this was his summer of imitating an ostrich, stick his head in the sand and everything will be ok.

In Malaysia Wenger stated, “Imagine the worst situation – we lose Fabregas and Nasri – you cannot convince people you are ambitious after that. I believe for us it is important that the message we give out – for example you see about Fabregas leaving, Nasri leaving – if you give that message out you cannot pretend you are a big club. Because a big club first of all holds onto its big players and gives a message out to all the other big clubs that they just cannot come in and take [players] away from you.”

This statement was made on 11 July, within 6 weeks both players had left and by Wenger’s own admission we were not long a big club.

We spent the whole of the summer trying to negotiate the transfer out of two of our top stars and we neglected any replacements, why? Surely Wenger had a plan to cover the sales of Fabregas and Nasri?  Gervinho was not a replacement for either player.

The same day Wenger stated that Arsenal had no need to recruit a left-back following Clichy’s move to Manchester City. “The plan for left back is that we have Kieran Gibbs, Armand Traore and Thomas Vermaelen can play there too. So we have what we need,” said Wenger.

Everyone who had seen Traore’s development at Arsenal over the years realised early on that he was never going to be top left-back.  Yet Arsene thought otherwise.  In the same context  was it sensible to move our best centre back to left-back?

Having decided that we did not need to recruit replacements for Nasri, Fabregas or Clichy, our transfer policy for the summer started to blow up in our face.

Linked with Ricardo Alvarez we failed to land him for a reported difference of £1.7M.  We then moved on to Juan Mata, but we failed to make a bid for him before 31 July, so his fee went from £13M to £23M.  Centre backs were targeted, with Arsenal prepared to spend £13M on Jagielka yet not prepared to spend more than £10M on Cahill.  Wenger then realised, having stated this was the case all summer, than Bendtner was going to leave in the summer, so a striker became a priority.

Following total humiliation at Old Trafford, where not only were our defensive frailties exposed, but also the lack of players in our squad became apparent when you saw the bench.  Arsene or the board forcing Arsene, embarked upon a supermarket sweep style spending spree.  We recruited a left-back, Andre Santos, centre-back Per Mertesacker, striker Ju-Young Park and two midfielders, Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun. Whislt it was good to see the club address the issues of defensive frailties, in-experience and sheer numbers, what Arsenal fans want to know and have a right to know is why weren’t these players bought in July, given a proper pre-season with the club and bedded in to the Arsenal way before the season started.

The further exacerbate the problem we decide to get Ryo Miyaichi an special talent work permit a player who has had only a handful of professional games instead of utilising this option for Joel Campbell a striker of greater promise and potential than Miyaichi.

This calamitous transfer window has led to this disastrous start to the season, the players did not know who was coming in and who was staying.  We started our pre-season with one set of players and all of sudden five more are brought in once the season has started.  This has been a completely disjointed transfer window and someone needs to explain how we got to this stage, when all the fans knew who was going and where we needed to strengthen.

The transfer disaster is one reason why we are where we are.


Arteta and Benayoun Join as the Window Closes

Well the transfer window closed last night and unlike windows of the past, Arsenal were doing business all the way until it slammed shut.  Four players were confirmed last night as having signed, with Park announced the day before. It was clear from the start of the season that Wenger had to act to change our fortunes and only time will tell if Le Professor has bought correctly.

The first three signings, Park, Santos and Mertesacker were players that we should have secured before the season started.

A centre-back was a priority all summer, several names were linked and we made two bids for players, Jagielka and Cahill.  Everton wanted £18M for a 30 year old defender with little international experience, so Arsene moved his attention to Cahill.  An offer of £6M plus Bendtner was made, this was ridiculed by Bolton who wanted £17M for a player in the last year of his contract and with a handful of international caps.  Rightly so Wenger made a move for German international Mertesacker and secured a player who is one year older than Cahill, but has 75 caps for one of the top nations in world.  The fee £8.8M! The Neanderthals in the British media say he is too slow and we should have gone for Cahill or Jagielka or Dann.  Mertesacker was not bought to win the 100M at the forthcoming Olympics, he was bought to defend, to make challenges, win headers and tackles.  A player does not represent Germany 75 times if is he no good.  This was a great move by Wenger.  My only question is why could we not have bought him a month ago?

When Clichy left, no Arsenal fan shed a tear, we knew in Gibbs we had an adequate replacement, in fact Gibbs will go one to become a great left-back. However, we thought Wenger will buy Enrique, we needed cover and competition at left-back, but Arsene though Traore was capable to cover at left-back.  This was surprising as Traore had been converted into a left sided midfielder by Arsene. Wenger soon saw the light and on Sunday night news broke that were in talks with Brazil international Andre Santos.  We secured a strong, attacking full-back for £6.2M, this is good business, his record at Fenerbahce is one goal in five games.  Santos has again been slated by the blinkered British media as non-entity, who is he, if he was any good he should be playing La Liga or Serie A.  I believe Santos will be the player to bring the best out of Gibbs.  Another great purchase by Wenger but one that should have been concluded once Clchy left.

Search for a striker should have started in May when Wenger allowed Bendtner to leave.  It ended with the acquisition of South Korea captain Park Chu-Young for a fee around £2.6M from Monaco, though in the process we upset Lille!

Having sold Nasri and Fabregas, much to Wenger’s surprise, though everyone else knew it would happen, Wenger had to move in for a midfielder or two.   Rumours were abound with bids made for Hazard, Martin, M’Vila, enquiries for Vargas and Montolivio, but these were young players, big money was required and a bedding in period.  So Arsene looked closer to home, he turned to Chelsea and Everton.  Inquiries were made for Arteta and Benayoun and after some brinksmanship the players were brought in one on a four year deal and the other on loan (due to work permit complications). Arteta and Benayoun will bring experience, graft, inventiveness and goals to our midfield.  Both players will be good signings for Arsenal.

Interesting Arteta took a pay-cut to join Arsenal, what is that about, Arsenal are massive payers overall, but when it comes to our top players we are reluctant to offer big money.

Now that the window has closed and Wenger has his squad for the season, we can now focus on getting our season started and start to move up the table.  A good run of results could see challenging by December, but we need to keep players fit, stop picking up silly red cards and start to take our chances.

On the departure front, youngsters Joel Campbell and Henri Lansbury went out on loans, whilst Gilles Sunu joined Lorient on a permanent basis.  Niklas Bendtner was unable to find the “big” club to play for and has joined Sunderland on loan.  Bendtner will do well at Sunderland as he will be playing regularly as the main striker, this could work well for Arsenal as his value can only go up.  Worryingly for Arsenal fans is that Almunia is still at the club as is Squillaci.

Arsenal cannot stand still however, new contracts must be offered to van Persie, Walcott and Vermaelen otherwise we will be in for a nightmare summer in 2012. Arsenal must re-evaluate their transfer policy and in particular the way we complete transfers, I am referring to the two that got away Ricardo Alvarez and Juan Mata. Arsenal also need to re-asses their wage structure, not every player in the squad is worth £50K -£60K a week, we need to reward some players with £100K plus a week contracts.

Transfer Deadline Day – Bendtner Out – Which Midfielders Will We Buy

Transfer deadline day looms and Arsenal are still in the market for midfielders, this is not idle blog gossip but Arsene Wenger stated we are short of players in this area.  This became self-evident in recent games were the creativity has been left to Rosicky and his best days are behind him.

Today is a day we will all go mad in following rumours and tweets.

MVila was the player we were linked with and apparently made a £22M bid for the France international, but Rennes want £30M. I doubt Wenger will stretch to £30M, but Wenger could try and push this one through, though M’Vila is more of a defensive player.

Until the window is closed the Eden Hazard to Arsenal bandwagon keeps rolling on, though Lille are reluctant to sell to Arsenal following the Park transfer, the possible arrival or Joe Cole on loan and also Arsenal could offer Chamakh as part of the deal.  Though it is being reported in La Voix du Nord that Liverpool have first refusal on Hazard for 2012 due to the possible Cole deal.

Further afield, Italy in particular, Arsenal have been linked with Montolivio and Vargas from Fiorentina.  Could Wenger go for a double Italian scoop?

Closer to home Wenger has made inquiries about Everton duo Arteta and Felaini and also Chelsea duo Benayoun and Malouda.

My preference will be for the Everton duo, but in dealing with English clubs the transfer fees will be inflated, but the positive is that we know what they can do in England with no bedding process required.

Do not discount a last minute move for either Gary Cahill or Chris Samba.

On exit front Bendtner, the self-confessed best striker in the world, is in talks with Stoke City.  Manual Almunia has disappeared off the radar; this is daunting as he could appear in an Arsenal shirt in the forthcoming months. Two other Arsenal players that could have gone in this window, but arte likely to stay as we are short of players are Arshavin and Rosicky.

Most worrying is Henri Lansbury.  Wenger went on record to say he will give him a chance, but Lansbury’s appearances this season were against Liverpool when we were down to 10 men and a cameo appearance at the Old Trafford Massacre.  Not really the chance the Lansbury deserves.  If Wenger cashes in on Lansbury, Arsenal FC should close down its Academy.  This is one of the best players to come out of the Academy and he has been given zero opportunity by Arsene, whilst the likes of Rosicky and Arshavin stroll around the pitch with minimal effort.

What amazes me is  that deals can be concluded in hours at this time of the season, players jet in from everywhere to undertake medicals in a matter of hours, whilst during the rest of the window it could, if you are an Arsenal fan, take weeks for transfers to be concluded.